Instruction method in new curriculum wholesome

Thursday, August 15th, 2019 00:00 |
Education Cabinet secretary George Magoha. Photo/BERNARD MALONZA

There are still many questions on the Competence Based Curriculum (CBC)  with members of the public begging for answers.

It is for instance,  not clear why education policy makers are keen on how the  new curriculum is being delivered in the classrooms. Shouldn’t they be satisfied with prescribing content and leaving the teachers to “deliver” it as they deem fit?

Such questions have permeated public debates as the country gears up for tomorrow’s National Conference on Education Reforms.

It is a fact that curriculum  developers do not only concern themselves with  prescribing the content to be taught, but how it is delivered. This is because delivery often determines whether  curriculum gaols are being achieved.

In principle, quality education enables children to reach their fullest potential in terms of cognitive, emotional, behavioural and creative capacities.

The overriding mission of the basic education curriculum reforms the government is undertaking is “nurturing every learner’s potential”.

In itself, the curriculum is not enough. It needs appropriate teaching methods already known to teachers to produce the  envisaged mental, emotional and behavioral capabilities. The government wants to use CBC to develop the capabilities of learners to the fullest.

The most tempting method of curriculum delivery is lecture method, an oral presentation of information by a teacher.  This is the reason it is called teacher-centred—the teacher does all the talking.

It is the difference in teaching methods that makes the difference between an excellent and poor education system.

In an article aptly entailed When Will We Learn in Time Magazine Nov. 14, 2011, an Indian-American journalist, political scientist Fareed Zakaria observed:  “I went through the Asian educational system, which is now so admired.

It gave me an impressive base of knowledge and taught me how to study hard and fast. But when I got to the US for college, I found that it had not trained me that well to think.

American education at its best teaches you how to solve problems, truly understand the material, think for yourself and be creative.

These are incredibly important values and have made the US able to maintain an edge in creative industries and innovation in general.”

Beyond the ‘impressive base of knowledge’ that the CBC curriculum embodies, is something more desirable, more fundamental, and more urgent.

The government wants the application or adoption of a wider and deeper instructional repertoire: interactive methodologies, hands-on learning, collaborative and multiple learning techniques in the classroom.

It envisions such learning experience as will enable learners to use the knowledge gained to solve problems.

 It is for this reason government is keener on active and engaged hands-on methods in classrooms as opposed to passive learning.

This is happening in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and Hong Kong. It is happening in varying degrees in countries with top-notch education systems in the world.

Kenyan teachers have the ability to deliver CBC. They are conversant with the recommended instructional techniques.

The chair of the Taskforce on Enhancing Access, Relevance, Equity and Quality for Effective Implementation of the New Curriculum, Prof Fatuma Chege,  has assured that all trained teachers are conversant with the interactive or student-centred method of instruction.

She stresses that all they need is refocusing of teaching to active learning. Throughout civilisation, these techniques have been employed in great education systems by teachers.

Socrates in ancient Greece used it with success— it  has been embraced in great schools. - The writer is Communications Officer at the Ministry of Education

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