Professional Development

The Cambridge Framework for Life Competencies: Free download

Ben Knight

How can we prepare our students to succeed in a world that is changing fast?  We know they need to learn to be creative, to think critically and to communicate confidently and to collaborate effectively.  How can English language teachers help our students with this?  At Cambridge, we are developing a Framework to help teachers understand life skills or competencies better.

The range of life competencies

We’ve scoured the literature to identify 42 key Life Competencies. We then grouped them into eight main areas:  Creativity, Critical Thinking & Problem-Solving, Digital Literacy, Learning to Learn, Communication, Collaboration, Emotional Development and Social Responsibilities.

Can Do Statements

For most teachers, the challenge is to understand what each life competency means for their learners – whether they are 4 years old or working adults.  To help teachers with this, we have divided the learning journey into five stages:  Pre-Primary, Primary, Secondary, Higher Education and At Work.  We have then developed Can Do Statements to describe what learners should be able to do for each competency at each stage of the learning journey.  These Can Do Statements show you what each competency might mean for your students.

Using the Framework

The Framework can help the development of life skills in various ways:

  • Making life skills part of the curriculum – by helping us describe the learning objectives for key life skills.
  • Putting life skills development into courses and learning materials – designing activities and tasks that help students develop these skills.
  • Making teachers more aware of what the different life skills really mean.
  • Helping teachers assess whether their students are making progress with these skills – by providing descriptors of the skills in practice.


If you would like to hear more about this, attend Ben Knight’s talk at IATEFL 2018 in Brighton on Wednesday 11th April.  Download and read about the full Framework.

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