Teaching and Learning Stories

Teaching and Learning Stories is a page to share some of the exciting work AISWA Schools are involved in.

Bill Lucas and the General Capabilities


Professor Bill Lucas is the Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning and Professor of Learning at the University of Winchester in the UK. He is an authority on creativity, pedagogy, parental engagement, and leadership. Bill also has a profile here in Australia as an international adviser to the Mitchell Foundation in Melbourne. His expertise is widely valued; this is evident with his appointment as the co-chair of the new PISA 2021 test of Creative thinking. Bill’s extensive knowledge is also evident in his wide variety of publications which address pedagogy, and also ask challenging questions about the future of education.

AISWA has been fortunate to utilise Bill’s expertise through some professional development on meaningful engagement with the capabilities in schools. In 2018, his masterclass on Capabilities (why they matter, how to embed them, and how to assess them) was well attended and whet the appetite of schools to do meaningful work to build their capacity in this area. This served as a springboard for a larger scale project in 2019, supporting schools with teaching the General Capabilities.

In the following videos, Bill shares his thoughts on why the capabilities are important, as well as highlighting key considerations for schools. These videos are designed to be a resource for schools looking to foreground the capabilities in their day to day teaching practice.

Why are capabilities considered to be such an important currency in today's world?

What does a capable young person look like?

Which capabilities matter most and why?

Why is the development of capabilities and not just a focus on character qualities so important?

Why is it important to foster the development of capabilities across the continuum of schooling?

How can schools shift practice to strengthen approaches to valuing and teaching capabilities?

What is the relationship between Capabilities and core knowledge and skills that forms part of the mandated curriculum?

How can schools make the teaching of capabilities more visible?

How can schools adopt the language of capabilities and why is this important?

Is there a recommended process for implementing a capabilities curriculum?

What have you seen schools do well in prioritising capabilities across the continuum of schooling? 

Can you comment on the language 21st Century skills with respect to describing capabilities?

What are the advantages of assessing capabilities?

What are the different approaches to assessing capabilities?


Bill Lucas' snapshot of historical and approaches can be found here: Capabilities in Context

AISWA Schools' General Capabilities Professional Development Program


During 2019, 19 AISWA member schools participated in our professional development program around General Capabilities.

Program Details

This action learning project aims to improve knowledge and understanding of the General Capabilities and how to explicitly implement them in a school context. It will provide participants with opportunities to:

  • learn more about each of the Capabilities, and develop a shared understanding of the nature, scope and sequence of these as identified in the WA curriculum; and
  • actively plan for, and implement strategies that will guide students’ development of selected Capabilities in school and/or classroom learning programs, taking into account learner needs and the broader school context.

The project objectives are to:

  1. Improve knowledge and understanding of the General Capabilities as a key dimension of the WA Curriculum 
  2. Improve teacher and school capacity to develop and implement plans for the explicit teaching of selected capabilities.

AISWA partnered with the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) to support the Professional Learning components of this project. ACARA will share resource materials to further develop and assist schools and teachers to support the individual needs of diverse learners. They will share their experiences of working with other schools across Australia to improve understanding of Capabilities and examples of formal and explicit approaches to teaching Capabilities.

The project is made up of two face-to-face workshop sessions, mentoring and support activities (negotiated and designed to address individual school needs) and a final showcase. Participating schools will be partnered with an AISWA consultant who will provide further support throughout the project.