South African Journal of Higher Education

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Between deconstruction and systems thinking - some practicalities of incorporating non-technical skills into curricula using critical thinking as an example

C Hindes, K Bakker


The nature of the skills required of graduates entering the contemporary workplace is shifting from the technical (subject-specific) to the non-technical (generic) sphere. This article justifies the integration of non-technical skills into curricula and learning tasks, and focuses on some of the associated practicalities. By deconstructing non-technical skills into their enabling abilities, they can be more tangibly integrated into curricula and this will facilitate learning them. A model for curriculum development is identified that can be used to deconstruct the relevant non-technical skills into their enabling abilities (supportive cognitive skills). Two approaches to deconstructing the non-technical skill of critical thinking are used to illustrate how the supportive cognitive skills can be identified. The article concludes with a discussion of how the learning of non-technical skills can be facilitated with appropriate learning task design. Certain principles of systems thinking are identified that further promote understanding of the facilitation of the learning of non-technical skills.

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol.18(2) 2004: 76-86
AJOL African Journals Online