Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment

What Are Thinking Skills & Personal Capabilities?

In the Northern Ireland Curriculum, Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities have been divided into five strands:

  • Managing Information;
  • Thinking, Problem-Solving and Decision-Making;
  • Being Creative;
  • Working with Others; and
  • Self-Management.

These skills underpin the curriculum, along with the Cross-Curricular Skills of Communication, Using Mathematics and Using ICT.

The curriculum emphasises the development of pupils’ skills and capabilities for lifelong learning and participating in society. By engaging pupils in active learning contexts across all areas of the curriculum, teachers can develop pupils’:

  • personal and interpersonal skills;
  • capabilities and dispositions; and
  • ability to think both creatively and critically.

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StarClick here to see the Thinking Skills & Personal Capabilities Framework

The Thinking Skills of Managing Information; Thinking, Problem-Solving and Decision-Making; and Being Creative are tools that help pupils to go beyond acquiring knowledge. They enable pupils to:

  • search for meaning;
  • apply ideas;
  • analyse patterns and relationships;
  • create and design something new; and
  • monitor and evaluate their progress.

Developing thinking skills involves designing learning so that pupils will think more skilfully and engage in better quality thinking.

The Personal Capabilities of Self-Management and Working with Others underpin success in all aspects of life. Developing personal capabilities means creating opportunities for pupils to:

  • experiment with ideas;
  • take initiative;
  • learn from mistakes;
  • work collaboratively; and
  • become more self-directed in their learning.