A Few Words on Student Capacities from Credo Advisor Robert Anderson
The word “capacities” seems appropriate for the most broad, descriptive term for the developing “internal” qualities of the student—the qualities that empower students for life. The student’s capacities are much broader than intellectual development, including the full richness of all of the growing components of head, heart, and hands that contribute to the ability of the individual to live life well.
As the word ”capacities” suggests, the student is developing a wide variety of ways of addressing the challenges of life; these capacities can be developed over time as students grow and mature, and they are part of the permanent acquisitions of the individual for use when needed in life. (They include academic knowledge and skills, but are much, much more.)
These capacities include such components as specific knowledge, skills, conceptual understanding, problem-solving, analytic and evaluative habits of mind, will forces (such as resiliency, determination, concentration and focus), creativity, imagination, skill in identifying goals, working collaboratively, meeting social and personal objectives, becoming self-reflective, engaging the moral imagination, acting wisely and well in the world.
At Credo, course design will consider not just the subject matter to be taught, but how the course contributes to the development of student capacities, asking how these capacities are addressed and engaged in each course, in their breadth and variety and in their depth (as developmentally appropriate).