Essential Skills Defined
After years of international research and evaluation, HRSDC adopted the following as the nine Essential Skills people require for work, learning, and life.
- Reading Text: Refers to reading material that is in the form of sentences and paragraphs.
- Document Use: Refers to tasks that involve a variety of information displays in which words, numbers, and symbols are given meaning by their spatial arrangement.
- Writing: Writing texts and writing in documents such as filling in forms and non-paper-based writing such as typing on a computer.
- Numeracy: Refers to the individuals’ use of numbers and their being required to think in quantitative terms.
- Oral Communication: Pertains primarily to the use of speech to give and exchange thoughts and information.
- Thinking Skills: The process of evaluating ideas or information to reach a rational decision. Further identifies six different cognitive applications, including:
- Problem Solving – Involves problems that required solutions.
- Decision Making – Refers to making a choice among options.
- Critical Thinking – The process of evaluating ideas or information, using a rational, logical thought process, and referring to objective criteria to reach a rational judgment about value, or to identify strength and weakness.
- Job Task Planning and Organizing – refers to the extent to which one plans and organizes their own tasks.
- Significant Use of Memory – Includes any significant or unusual use of memory.
- Finding Information – Involves using sources including text, people, and computerized information systems.
- Working with Others: The extent to which individuals work with others to carry out their tasks.
- Computer Use: Indicates the variety and complexity of computer use.
- Continuous Learning: Participating in the on-going process of acquiring skills and knowledge.
Community Literacy of Ontario interviewed literacy practitioners across Ontario who are well-versed in Essential Skills methodology. Through these interviews it became clear that the first step towards working with Essential Skills is to fully understand the definitions, and how they apply to learning.