General capabilities in the learning areas

In the Western Australian Curriculum, general capabilities are addressed through the learning areas and are identified wherever they are developed or applied in content descriptions. They are also identified where they offer opportunities to add depth and richness to student learning in content elaborations.

Icons (as shown below) indicate where general capabilities have been identified in learning area content descriptions and elaborations. Users can also see which capability elements are addressed in the content description by selecting the capability icon. A filter function on the Western Australian Curriculum website assists users to identify P–10 curriculum content where a capability has been identified.

Teachers may find further opportunities to incorporate explicit teaching of general capabilities depending on their choice of activities and the individual learning needs of their students. Students can also be encouraged to develop capabilities through personally relevant initiatives of their own design.

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • ICT capability
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Personal and social capability
  • Ethical understanding
  • Intercultural understanding

Each learning area includes a brief description of the general capabilities that have been explicitly included in the content or advice about those that could be developed through particular teaching contexts.

Many capabilities find 'natural homes' in specific learning areas (for example, Literacy in English, Numeracy in Mathematics, ICT capability in Technologies, Personal and social capability in Health and Physical Education and English, and Intercultural understanding in Languages. Many of the foundational capability knowledge and skills are likely to be taught most explicitly in these learning areas, and applied, adapted, strengthened and extended in other learning areas.

General capabilities are represented to different degrees in each of the learning areas. Literacy, Numeracy, ICT capability, and Critical and creative thinking are fundamental in students becoming successful learners. While the primary development of Literacy, Numeracy and ICT capability is based in English, Mathematics and Technologies respectively, the development and application of these capabilities across the curriculum is essential to effective teaching and learning. Further information about the relationships between English/ Literacy, Mathematics/ Numeracy and Technologies/ ICT capability in the Western Australian Curriculum is provided in the introductions to relevant capabilities.

Personal and social capability, Ethical understanding and Intercultural understanding focus on ways of being and behaving, and learning to live with others, and are more strongly represented in some learning areas than in others. Though all learning involves some personal and social dimensions, these capabilities are most evident wherever personal, social and cultural learning is highlighted.

In these capabilities in the early years, learning is often described in broad terms, as this is where foundational knowledge and skills are developed, for example, in Intercultural understanding descriptions refer to fundamental concepts related to personal identity and belonging rather than to specific cultural knowledge as these concepts underpin personal dimensions  of intercultural understanding.