Beyond the Opposition Between Knowledge and Competency. Reflections on the Competency-Based Approach and General Education





Tremblay, Raymond Robert

The purpose of this article is to show that the educational principles behind the competency-based approach (CBA) make a humanist education accessible. The challenge consists in designing competencies with all their subtle differences, taking into account a strong content of knowledge and including strategies for transmitting and acquiring them. After considering a few critical comments regarding the CBA, the author explores the question of a humanist education within the framework of general education, insisting on the notion of general education as seen from this perspective. He then explores in greater depth the complexity of competencies in general culture and underlines the importance of developing critical thinking, which plays a crucial role in the process and from which many competencies can be extracted. In favour of diversified teaching methods, he restores the validity of knowledge transmission using the example of a philosophy course. In concluding, he offers a few considerations for the development of competency-based education and sets down the guidelines to ensure compatibility between the CBA and the development of general culture.

The AQPC acknowledges the financial support, in 2014-2015, of the Government of Canada through Canadian Heritage, Canada Periodical Fund, Business Innovation component.

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