Creating partnerships for ATL implementation, Part 4

This is the last in a four-part series on ATL skills implementation.

In Part 4 we will look at how we can create partnerships within our programme to strengthen ATL skills development.

Structures and systems in a school sometimes seem independent in their function. The teacher-librarian takes care of information management, media and operations of a resource hub. The counsellors and advisory teachers create ways to provide social-emotional learning. Service learning roles like the CAS or service learning coordinators takes care of this co-curricular function. An administrator creates the timetable. There’s an advisor for student council or student government.

In a school intentionally building an interdependence of systems to make happen an environment where approaches to learning develop, strengthen and create efficacy in learners, these various parts of the whole are deliberately connected.

The networking of ATL skills opportunities create intentional interconnections, and these connections serve as a safety net for the student. When a student is struggling with any of the skills, an interconnected school will provide instruction, guidance, and support to target skills acquisition and rehearsal in another part of the school experience.

This is not to say that we should assume skills will be taught and acquired in someone else’s class — far from that, it is using our collaborative gatherings and documentation to ensure that skills are taught and acquired and we know exactly when that opportunity is provided to the learner.

It also means that when administrators create the timetable, the students’ needs for growing expertise in their approaches to learning is deliberately provided time. Take for example the simple provision of transition time between classes. Transition time between classes are opportunities for learners to rehearse organisational and self-management skills — getting ready for class, getting there on time, managing bathroom breaks. All these actions can be allocated time by the student, and by rehearsing how to allocate time during transitional time so that he or she is not late to class, a learner rehearses several times during the day valuable self-management skills.

Students experience increasingly complex open-ended problems as they progress, not just in school but in their lives as a whole. Things happen, and these young learners must cope with this increasingly demanding realm of efficacy and effectiveness to learn through challenges.

The safety net of a connected school form from the partnerships that the student draws upon when needing guidance and rehearsal toward the development of their ATL skills.

The partnerships may not look the same from school to school. When we consider contextual factors, students in one time, place and space will need a different set of opportunities to develop their approaches to learning. 

There are, however, some questions that we can ask of our systems and structures and of our context, to begin to prioritise the implementation of ATL skills articulation.

It may help for us to reflect on these questions through the frame of ATL skills categories and clusters, and match them with potential partnerships in the school.

View a closeup of this table at this link.

The questions in this table are not exhaustive. Perhaps there are other partnerships and situations available in your school setting, which also enrich the ATL skills development of your students.

At the centre of these partnerships is the learner. Working together in concert instead of in isolation supports ATL skills development through the daily work of each partner in our programmes. 

As you reflect on how a systematic, intentional implementation of ATL skills might happen in your context, what are your hunches about what you can start doing now?

Photo by Joel Filipe on Unsplash

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    Author: alavina

    Cognitive CoachSM and professional development leader at large. Writer and editor at

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