How 21CoDOMoS Understands Competencies

What are competencies?

Competencies are “problem-solving skills in real life situations” that must be cultivated among students to flourish in society. They are often explained as being “more than just knowledge and skills. It involves the ability to meet complex demands, by drawing on and mobilising psychosocial resources (including skills and attitudes) in a particular context” (OECD, 2005).

In 21CoDOMoS, we consider competencies to include the following in addition to the knowledge and skills of particular subjects: 1) generic skills that allow students to adapt to new situations, and 2) attitudes and values that allow students to better relate with their societies and the world, and to live a more satisfying life. 21CoDOMoS streams videos that demonstrate how such generic skills as well as attitudes and values can be taught alongside the knowledge and skills of each subject. We list 15 of these generic skills as well as attitudes and values in the following table.

Generic Skills

Critical thinking

This is the competency to make objective and logical judgments related to various information in terms of its correctness based on evidence or to think from various perspectives such as “Is there any other way of looking at or thinking about it?”   Individuals who have a strong critical thinking ability can assess the correctness of others’ opinions, information introduced through books or TV programs, and even their own thoughts and interpretations in a cool manner, excluding assumptions. This competency can be reworded as the ability of reflective, logical, and multifaceted thinking.

Problem solving

This is the competency to discover issues or problems for oneself or a group to which one belongs, such as things that one should clarify or improve, or things that one wants to know or attain, and achieve the solutions or goals. This ability includes an ability to discover problems to be solved or things that one wants to know, ability to grasp the structure of what kind of problem it is, ability to gather information from others or materials and use it after selecting the necessary elements, ability to create ideas or devices to solve problems or achieve goals, and ability to plan a means to solve problems or achieve goals.


This is the competency to cooperate with others to deepen learning or achieve goals. It does not simply mean getting along well with or acting together with others. It means the following: to elicit widely various opinions in discussion or to advance discussion constructively with people who have different opinions; to play one’s role or help each other to achieve goals by each person exercising his/her own abilities; and to coordinate and act together with people who have different positions, backgrounds, and fields of specialty, aiming for common goals. Managerial ability to lead group activities effectively is also included.


This is the ability to inform others of one’s own ideas, claims, and findings correctly in an easily comprehensible manner. Mainly, this includes the abilities to form expressions logically and without ambiguity and to represent them visually using diagrams, pictures, graphs, and other media. However, the following are also included: ability to express or organize what one thinks or understands for oneself, ability to convey one’s feelings and emotions, and ability to communicate interactively with others.


This is the competency to predict what will happen as a result of an action, an event, or an approach, or what makes things work or not work, and make appropriate judgments based on that prediction. As the basis for that, an ability to find laws and rules from experiences is also included. It is an important ability to identify risks and to avoid or reduce them.

Sensitivity, expression, and creativity

This is the competency to sense something from music or artificial objects, natural objects or bodies, shapes or colors, sounds, tactually sensed phenomena, words or symbols, etc., give expressions through them, and create beauty or new values.

Meta cognition

This is the competency to sense oneself what one is thinking at the moment, the extent of understanding, and what one is feeling, and, in response to them, control thinking, learning, and behavior to move in a better direction. To do such meta-cognitive activities (i.e., to sense and to control) successfully requires accurate knowledge of one’s own and others’ natures of thinking, memory, understanding, knowledge, and learning, such as “What do I know well and what am I not good at?”, “How do I tend to think?”, “What should I do to learn well?”, and “What should I do when not understanding?” Similar concepts include self-reflection, self-evaluation, and reflection.

Attitudes and Values

Mind to love

This is the consciousness of having feelings of affection and respect for living creatures and nature, one’s country and hometown, tradition and culture, family members and friends, and oneself, and treating them as precious.

Acceptance, sympathy, and respect

This means to understand that each person has different ideas, opinions, and a sense of values and to have an attitude of accepting different people, sympathy for the feelings of the other party (e.g., joy, excitement, worry, hardship), and a mind of respect and appreciation. It includes acceptance, sympathy, and respect for people of different cultures and ages.

Willingness to cooperate

This includes the following: an attitude of actively cooperating or involving oneself with others in a group, sense of responsibility to try to play one’s own role in a group, and leadership that directs a group to achieve its goals or to maintain its unity.

Interests in the betterment of society

This includes the following: awareness that reviews people’s lives and social mechanisms and tries to make them better; and an attitude of trying to involve oneself actively with society for that purpose and to put important, good, and necessary things into practice.

Curiosity and inquisitive Mind

This includes the following: curiosity to know in detail what one does not know; attitude of interest and concern about even small events happening around; attitude of attempting to find things that one wants to know or solve; and a mind that wants to obtain reasonable answers to questions such as “Why?”, “How does it work?”, and “What is right?”

Sense of justice

This includes the following: a mind that tries to observe rules; a mind that tries to be morally right; self-control that is not overwhelmed by desires or emotions; a mind that tries to be fair and just; and a mind that hates bad things.


This includes the following: an attitude of tenaciously grappling with things and seeing them through to the end, even if they are difficult; and an attitude of not losing one’s enthusiasm because of mistakes or failures and of undertaking challenges again by learning from them.


This includes attitudes of making efforts towards the goals that one sets for oneself, aiming at higher things, and seeking for a better and his/her own way of living.