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Interpersonal Development - Relationships with other domains

Introduction | The Arts | Civics and Citizenship | Communication | Design, Creativity and Technology | English | Health and Physical Education | The Humanities – Economics | The Humanities – Geography | The Humanities – History | Information and Communications Technology | Language Other Than English (LOTE) | Mathematics | Personal Learning | Science | Thinking Processes | Show All


The advice for this section focuses on the relationships between the domains to provide students with multi domain learning opportunities that will help support their deeper understanding of the essential knowledge and skills.

The Arts

Arts education assists students to build social relationships and work in teams, both through the curriculum content and the pedagogies used in teaching the Arts. Arts education helps to develop students’ tolerance for difference and diversity through the engagement of each Arts discipline with the perspectives of other cultures, traditions, belief systems, and socio-economic groups. Arts classrooms operate as communities of practice, where students build social relationships through both working in parallel and working together. Working in parallel, students develop sensitivity to the impact of art works through the responses of others when they present their work in both formal and informal ways. Arts pedagogies build understanding of the variety and complexity of the varied roles in Arts production/s and the recognition of differing abilities, values and beliefs of others.

Integral to Arts education is the necessity to learn from and interact with others and work effectively in teams to manage and resolve challenges in the production of group artworks. Group Arts projects enable students to work collaboratively with others in the process of planning, negotiating, compromising and reaching agreement to achieve shared objectives. Seeking, accepting and articulating feedback on both process and product is an important component of developing integrity through the Arts and these experiences provide a powerful vehicle for students to understand and acknowledge how and when emotions impact on the productive outcomes of themselves and others.

Civics and Citizenship

Learning about relationships, diversity and appropriate behaviour in different contexts are just a few of the interpersonal skills that help students to develop a more universal understanding of Australian social and political institutions. Civics and Citizenship involves developing the skills and behaviours to interact with the community. To do this students learn to value themselves through a sense of personal identity. This is a pre-requisite to developing a broader sense of identity as a community member, and subsequently, to developing an understanding of the role of citizens. Interpersonal skills are fundamental to this process. For instance, effective communication enables students to express their viewpoints, and to listen and respect the viewpoints of others.


The Communication dimension, Listening, viewing and responding, is congruent with the skills and behaviours practiced in Interpersonal Development in both of the dimensions, Building social relationships and Working in teams. The Communication domain requires students to develop familiarity with and be able to use language in a range of contexts. In the Interpersonal Development domain language is used to describe feelings, display empathy and resolve conflict. The development of communication skills are interdependent on interpersonal skills such as assertiveness, negotiation, active listening and an awareness of diverse perspectives. Students use communication skills to respect and build on the ideas and opinions of team members and reflect on the effectiveness of learning in a team. Students also require emotional and self-efficacy skills when presenting to an audience in order to maintain focus and manage performance anxiety.

Design, Creativity and Technology

In the Design, Creativity and Technology activities, students support one another by sharing resources and material, and offering assistance. When investigating and designing, producing, analysing and evaluating, students can work in groups, initially in assigned roles and later as self-managed teams. Students work cooperatively, exploring the ideas of others and reflecting on the effectiveness of the learning within a team. They provide one another with feedback, suggesting modifications, improvements and different approaches. Design briefs could be developed to extend knowledge of local and global contexts and beliefs, and the diversity of individuals. There is a strong link between the two domains, particularly in setting goals, determining timelines and developing action plans.


In English, students develop understanding of ways in which different texts are appropriate for different occasions, and an appreciation of the variety of English usage in different times and places. Students learn about, and explore, social values through reading and responding to narrative texts, as texts in English provide copious examples of the way positive social relationships are initiated and maintained. The texts studied in English model behaviour where individuals participate in groups whose members are from diverse backgrounds, encouraging harmonious living in multicultural Australia. Students develop their understandings of local and global values and beliefs through the critical understanding of texts.

Students learn about the ways that language shapes and reflects attitudes. They develop understanding of the conventions of different spoken texts, including everyday communication, group discussion, formal presentations and speeches, storytelling and negotiation. In developing this knowledge about the appropriate written and oral language for particular audiences and occasions, the English and Interpersonal Development domains teach empathy and sensitivity to the needs of others in forming relationships. For example, such skills enable students to interview people from other cultures and generations, listen to presentations, consider experiences different to their own and be receptive to new ideas.

Health and Physical Education

Interpersonal Development provides students with skills and understandings which are essential underpinnings of Health and Physical Education (HPE). In the Movement and physical activity dimension, sporting activities require cooperation and team work. Fairness and honesty are important values for the successful functioning of teams, and the playing of sports. The development of a sense of belonging and shared purpose often comes from participating in a team sport. Many of the issues addressed within the Health knowledge and promotion dimension such as those related to issues associated with sexuality or drug use should not be divorced from the social contexts in which they occur, therefore the study of social relationships is a crucial part of health education. Health education also includes the examination and development of social and emotional health, with the development of strategies for effectively communicating and managing emotions being prominent areas of activity. HPE provides the opportunity for students to develop interpersonal skills through:

The Humanities – Economics

The VELS Economics explore the role of work, enterprise and innovation in building a strong economy. Students develop an awareness of the importance of interpersonal skills, working cooperatively and developing enterprising behaviours in the workplace as pre-conditions for building economic growth and a strong economy. Students will have opportunities to practise working in teams when they are involved in economics investigations. Such activities may require them to undertake role plays and simulations which model economic decision making in various contexts such as the workplace, a local council meeting, an economic summit or a public forum.

The Humanities – Geography

Through fieldwork and other activities, students develop their interpersonal skills in working cooperatively with others in teams to provide a broad range of perspectives and insights on issues. Students are encouraged to respect individuality and empathise with others in both local and global contexts, acknowledging the diversity of individuals and responding with appropriate sensitivity. Students explain how local and global values and beliefs determine their own and others’ social relationships.

The Humanities – History

Interpersonal Development provides students with skills and understandings which are essential underpinnings of History. Through Building social relationships, students develop respect and understanding of differences among people. This supports the understanding of the range of perspectives they encounter in History. Students also identify the values and beliefs held by people in local, national and global contexts and analyse how these affect social relationships. The development of these understandings supports the development of historical empathy and inter-cultural understanding. This is essential in understanding past and present societies and cultures and the development of Australian identity.

Through Working in teams, students learn to cooperate with others in the achievement of goals. This allows them to share the learning involved in the process of historical investigation, discuss similarities and contest differences in viewpoints and develop individual historical explanations based on arguments and evidence which are tested in the group context.

Information and Communications Technology

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is a key part of many social interactions and the development of relationships. ICT assists students to work cooperatively through providing tools for managing collaborative projects and communicating, recording, presenting and modifying thoughts and ideas. Decisions arrived at through negotiating different viewpoints and resolving conflicts are recorded with ICT tools for later reference and reflection. Students use online ICT tools to complete projects in virtual teams with people from different cultures, values and beliefs. They understand the protocols for participating in virtual teams, respectfully relating to others from diverse backgrounds, and resolving conflicts in a fair and effective manner in a special social context of the online world.

Language Other Than English (LOTE)

Students learn that diverse cultures and the languages that express these cultures influence interpersonal relationships in different ways. These differences are expressed in languages and how communication takes place. Some languages express social relationships in the grammar system, others in how communication is organised.

Topics that can be covered in the teaching of Interpersonal Development that connect with languages include social conventions such as: informal and formal address forms; use of first names, titles and honorifics in several Asian languages; variations in ways to greet and farewell and how these express cultural and national histories and traditions; the concept of ‘face’ and how it operates in politeness in both western and non-western societies; present giving and receiving; what students are expected to do at school (such as differences in expectations about cleaning schools, or caring for classrooms); wearing of uniforms and other insignia to mark individual or group work.

Students can learn about terms that have influenced social relations in English (honour and duelling), or notions in diverse traditions such as silence and wisdom in Confucian teachings, the Greek principle of philotimo and the Italian principle of virtu`, and their equivalents in personal honour in various national traditions.


In the Working mathematically dimension students will engage with others to formulate and test conjectures, gather, analyse and interpret data and apply mathematics to solve real life problems. These activities are often carried out in teams that require students to collaborate and co-operate, share and discuss, and these behaviours are central in working towards the standards in Interpersonal Development.

Personal Learning

Concentration, self awareness and motivation are emotional skills that are a pre-requisite to personal learning and the establishment of individual learning goals. The development of resilient behaviours and attitudes when attempting and reflecting on tasks improves the quality of personal learning. Interpersonal skills are also required to meaningfully participate in peer learning, peer assessment, group reflection and ultimately to making an effective team.


In Science, students engage in a variety of tasks that promote the development of Interpersonal Development domain skills such as working with others collaboratively and cooperatively, and developing a sense of self and a respect for the views and values of others to build positive social relationships. In Science, the collaborative planning, designing, conducting and reporting of experiments, and making of models, encourages students to explain their own ideas, consider the ideas of others and make agreed decisions. Students gain experience in task allocation, meeting deadlines, following ethical and safety procedures, resolving conflicts, problem solving, providing peer feedback and supporting each other’s work whilst undertaking group activities. The Interpersonal Development domain skills drawn on in Science extend beyond the classroom to the realms of work and leisure.

Thinking Processes

Interpreting social situations, relationships and contexts are skills that are fundamental to the development of Thinking Processes. Young students build their capacity to reason from their social relationships and to work cooperatively as part of a team. They learn to reflect on personal values and beliefs, as well as the values and beliefs of others, with greater insight as they develop thinking skills such as observation, questioning, comparing, reflecting and deducting.

Key questions that apply to Thinking Processes in the Interpersonal Development domain might include:

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