Bringing real life into class the best learning model
Dr Kanyi Gioko
The ongoing debate on Competency-Based Curriculum is apt and welcome. A competency-based system is a noble idea that intends to develop a holistic citizen grounded on knowledge, skills, values and attitudes.
On the current newfound façade on attacking CBC from all corners, I believe the narrative is driven more by misinformation than facts and reality.
It is not lost that the niche hogging the limelight on this conversation comprises humorists and politicians, who are wont to do anything to stay relevant in the buildup for next year’s elections.
This series of conversations should be driven more and more by educationists.
Homework, which ironically seems to be one of the born of contention, is a vital tool for giving learners a chance to practice what they learn and do self or peer evaluation.
Imagine a driving school where it’s always the driving tutor who holds the wheel all the time?
How practical is this in a realistic learning environment? Granted, a few teachers and parents have the wrong notion that if their learners are not given “enough” homework to keep them busy, they will be idle and up to mischief.
Most parents will do anything, including paying for expensive extra tuition during holidays, “to ensure their teenagers are in safe hands”.
This is old-school thinking which should be discouraged. Learners need ample time to be free, explore, plan and network with peers since this is a crucial part of their holistic growth.
However, homework in monitoring, evaluating and giving realistic feedback to teachers, learners and parents cannot be emphasized enough.
Our conversation on this factor should bridge the old school thinking and the contemporary approaches — moderation of the take-home assignments to serve intended pedagogical objectives instead of babysitting for dollar chasing parents.
The examples by the humorist and politicians are good doses of comical relief that should be taken as medicine bearing in mind that laughter is the best medicine.
WhatsApp is lighting up our moods, but let us not forget the serious business of building a better country.
It is surprising Kenyans praise Kigali and other cities for being well-organised but chastises the curriculum for using a practical cleaning task involving learners cleaning up compounds and markets.
When we see something good, say a well-constructed house, we ask for the fundi’s number, get a good mechanic from friends’ references and judge them by the work of their hands, not their school papers.
This is repeated across all areas of life. CBC is in motion here, and it is very much alive and kicking in our day-to-day interaction.
Our homes and communities are not living in isolation from the rest of the world.
It is every parent’s dream to get the best out of their children. The resources we interact with daily are enormous — the trees, shrubs, livestock, other people, water bodies, to name but a few.
Asking a learner to get a leaf from any tree within their environment and then make a sketch of the same in their books is not “resource-intensive”.
This simple task only requires a piece of paper, charcoal for sketching, the leaf and the learner’s imagination under the guidance of an adult or peer.
It is not lost on us that different parents with different abilities and statuses will hype up the whole task and possibly order a set of 72 crayons from Dubai, a dozen leaves from the Amazon forest, and hire an extra tutor for each of the different shades of crayons, going all out to get the best for their children.
Let us have a candid conversation on CBC; let us give educationists a chance to steer it as we critique and share opinions to make things better as we go forward.
Let us exercise patience and realise that we cannot plant seeds today and expect to get a bountiful harvest the next day, and it’s a process that involves all of us to panel beat over time.
All children belong to all of us, and a better prosperous nation is everyone’s dream. — The writer is Career Educationist, Curriculum Developer and Researcher