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Revista iberoamericana de educación superior

versión On-line ISSN 2007-2872


DIAZ-BARRIGA, Ángel. Competencies in Education: Schools of Thought and Implications for Curricula and Work in the Classroom. Rev. iberoam. educ. super [online]. 2011, vol.2, n.5, pp.3-24. ISSN 2007-2872.

A global wave has followed second-generation educational reforms in policies of quality: the competencies approach. This model is quite recent in the field of education, and is novel approach applied to solve long-standing problems in education, which sometimes comes across as improvised. Two topics are noteworthy in the short time this approach has been used in education. On the one hand, the subject of competencies vindicates a centuries-old struggle in the educational terrain: to eliminate encyclopedic learning in school practice; to avoid the sense that what is taught in school is school itself,  thereby recognizing the need for school work to be geared towards solving problems related to the surroundings experienced by each subject-in other words, to develop competencies. On the other hand, it is important to recognize the different schools of thought that underlie the competencies approach, for some vindicate a focus on the workplace or the behaviorist model, for example, whereas others shift towards the recognition of a competency as a progress, process, quality, with developments effected from constructivism and pedagogical-didactic thought. This recognition has implications for structuring curricula, but it also widely significant for the way in which teachers can interpret what they do in the classroom. The tension between knowledge and problem resolution, between grades or processual expressions of the student's advance, are among many other interpretations that underlie this discussion. This essay dissects these subjects in order to provide curriculum designers and teachers with an ample grounded perspective on the competencies approach.

Palabras llave : education; competencies; curriculum; schools of thought; approaches.

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