NWT Key Competencies

Key Competencies Are Integrated Personal Capacities

Competencies are more than being able to remember or do something and are not just a new name for essential skills. Competencies include skills, but also emphasize how skills relate to knowledge, attitudes, and values, and how skills can be used in interactions with others in various contexts. Key competencies are not just for young people – students, teachers, leaders, parents, community members are all both teachers and learners.

Key competencies work together and influence each other. Key competencies strengthen students’ capacity to participate in the world right now, rather than just prepare them to participate in the world at some time in the future. They are one’s personal capacity to interact with the resources at hand to solve problems. Students need to be capable of using key competencies in diverse contexts- at school, in the community, at home, with friends, with peers, in mathematics and statistics, in the arts, and other learning areas. They need to be able to draw on knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values simultaneously as they interact with others in their learning and in all aspects of their lives.

Because we already possess competencies, even as infants, school must recognize the key competencies of students and contribute opportunities for their development. Key competencies are drawn upon and developed throughout a person’s lifetime and in all arenas of life.

Key Competencies of an NWT Capable Person

In NWT Education Renewal, key competencies are related to being and becoming a “capable person.” According to Dene Elders, a capable person has integrity in relationships with themself, the land, other people, and the spiritual world. Based on many conversations with northerners from all walks of life across the territory, NWT Key Competencies have been defined that describe the skills, attitudes, knowledge and values of a capable northerner (see image on this screen). Key Competencies are demonstrated in performance – they require action and participation beyond school. Key competencies support young people in becoming confident, connected, curious, innovative, inquiring, actively involved, lifelong learners.

Documenting Key Competencies

Key competencies belong to an individual person, so they will not be measured by the teacher and reported on a report card as a grade or number. Key competencies are not about recording indicators, criteria, marks, or rubrics. These competencies are more about rich descriptions, examples, accounts, and narratives. Key competencies will be self-assessed, using reflective tools, in conversation with teachers, parents and others. Documentation about key competencies should draw attention to how students’ capabilities are evident as they participate with others in a specific context. It should be useful to learners themselves, parents/caregivers, and teachers as a tool for reflecting on and thinking about strengthening key competencies in ongoing learning.


Key Competencies Resources: 

Video - NWT Key Competencies 

Powerpoint - What are Key Competencies