My friend, Diego Arrancibia runs an organization dedicated to improving the delivery of “Technical Assistance” (what we used to call ‘teacher training’ back in the good ol’ days) to Out-of-School-Time (OST) programs in California. Although his entire program/rubric is fantastic and amazing in its sweep and scope, the one thing I come back to is his “Four Foundational Competencies” for those who train OST Professionals.

I’ve hinted at these four competencies in a previous post, but I wanted to lay them all out and tie them together with the Inner Game concept to create a new idea in how we think about how we teach.

First off, let me say that the four Foundational Competencies don’t foundationjust apply to OST Trainers. I think they work rather well as the foundational competencies for anyone involved in teaching at any level.

The four competencies are:

  • Knowledge – Yep, ya gotta know your stuff. If you’re teaching a college chemistry class, you better know chemistry. If you’re a preschool teacher, there’s a reason you went through all those Child Development classes.  Knowledge is your base, your core.
  • Interpersonal Communication – You are teaching other people. You have to interact with people associated with the people you teach (parents, co-teachers, etc.).  To do this effectively, you have to know how to communicate – across ages, across gender, across social and cultural spectra.
  • Professionalism – To be effective, you must be accountable for showing up, doing your best, modeling ongoing learning, and acting within a code of ethics.
  • Evaluation of Student Needs – Closely related to communication, you must be able to perceive and translate the specific needs of your students into appropriate curricula and teaching methods. With standardized everything, this is where public schools are slipping.

So, with these four Foundational Competencies, you have the base for delivery of excellent education.

But What Drives These Competencies?

And here’s the rub: the level at which you operate within these competencies just doesn’t “happen”. It is driven, shaped, and molded by your Inner Game.  Your Inner Game is the fuel on which these competencies run. Good fuel = peak performance.  Bad fuel = less than optimal performance.

Just as you can’t run your car by putting molasses in your fuel tank, you can’t expect to hit all four cylinders of these competencies without showing up in the world in a positive and and powerful way.

Through the Three Pillars applied to each of the Foundational Competencies, who you are being creates how you show up in the world… and how you show up in the world creates a fabric of “being-ness” that is the foundation of your classroom / teaching style.

In another post, I’ll talk more about the “Fabric“… but for now, understand that it is created by how your Inner Game interacts with your Foundational Competencies.  The “Fabric” is the background, the pulse, the almost subconscious consistency through which everything else you do as a teacher is woven.

If something isn’t going as well as you’d like it to… take a look at the “Fabric“… and then unweave it… examine how you’re showing up in the world based on the Three Pillars (presence, responsibility, and personal power) and how they inform your basic Foundational Competencies (knowledge/skill, communication, professionalism, and evaluation acumen).

6 thoughts on “Foundational Competencies and the Inner Game

  1. Krista says:

    Examine how you are showing up in the world.  Thanks for the important reminder that we get to choose our future and create it how we want it to be…but we have to show up that way first.

  2. Nathalie says:

    I used to be a teacher, too, and I couldn’t agree more to what you are saying about your Inner Game. Thanks for this awesome post!

  3. Fred Grooms says:

    Rick, you’re spot on here. “With standardized everything, this is where public schools are slipping.” I agree totally with this statement Rick.  Your “inner game,” is the fuel on which these competencies run. I think this is true for the educator and the student as well. I’m of the opinion that a major part of understanding one’s “inner game” is to understand personal strengths. Teaching students and adults to identify, name, claim and invest in their talents so they become their unique strengths set is a must. Want to learn more you might want to check out my website at Keep up the good work Rick..

    • Rick says:

      Fred, you, as well, are on point with this! The whole way we “do” education in this country is about to change (by necessity, not by will), and change in a LARGE way. Because of the entrenchment of ideas around education, I worry that this “revolution” may be bloody (metaphorically speaking). Change never comes easy, and this one will be harder than most. The point being that the current emphasis on standardization is completely wrong-headed, and I’m confident that eventually our system of education will do exactly what you are putting forward here: identifying and claiming individual possibilities of being. Thanks a lot, Fred. I’ve seen your work before, and I love what you’re doing.

  4. april says:

    and this way of being in the world is relevant not only to teachers, but to everyone who has something to share with others (all of us). i especially like your analogy “good fuel = peak performance.” thank you for a thought-provoking article.

  5. Sue says:

    Great reminder of how we show up creates our fabric of beingness….very important to remember this!


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