Holistic Competence

Neil Hawkes on Personal Holistic Competence

Values-based Education is a transformational approach to teaching and learning that works with positive human values chosen by the school’s community. It creates an ethos that enhances academic attainment, and develops pupils’ social and relational skills that last throughout their lives.

A calm and purposeful learning environment is achieved by values being consciously modelled by all teaching and support staff throughout the school. It liberates teachers and students from the stress of confrontational relationships, which frees up substantial teaching and learning time.

I have found that schools that are explicitly values-based develop what I have termed personal holistic competence (PHC). This transformative dimension is a person’s capacity to be at ease with themselves and act appropriately when meeting the daily multidimensional challenges that are experienced in our complex world. This overarching competence cannot be measured in the abstract, as can technical competencies (e.g. numeracy and literacy), but is demonstrated by people problem solving in complex situations in the real world. People with PHC tend to live their lives by behaving from a code of conduct based on human values such as respect, compassion and trust. Values-based schools develop this vital 21st century competence, which is so necessary for the personal and economic well being of the individual and the community.

Schools become places where pupils experience positive values in context. They learn how to apply and talk about values appropriately becoming self-motivated as they develop personal holistic competence.