Why heuristics are not thinking skills or general capabilities #Gonski2

Filling the pail

There has been a flurry of articles in the Australian press about the reforms proposed by David Gonski’s panel. One of these suggestions is that we should emphasise the ‘general capabilities’ of the Australian Curriculum and these include things like ‘critical and creative thinking’ and ‘personal and social capability’. This would be done by creating ‘learning progressions’ for these capabilities i.e. sets of rubrics.

A piece in The Conversation reiterated this theme and I took to the comments to object. Peter Goss of The Grattan Institute then made an interesting point about heuristics. I think it is worth posting along with my response.

Peter Goss wrote:

“You haven’t convinced me that some of the general skills are not transferrable or teachable.

For example, I once worked with a man who was incredibly good at inter-personal skills. One of his tools was to routinely ask himself “what does each person want/need…

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