Cur­ricu­lum com­plaints

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT - An­dre Poyser Staff Re­porter an­dre.poyser@glean­

chick­peas. I seem to be crav­ing more food since my chil­dren left for board­ing school. Am I nor­mal? A: You may be try­ing to cope with the chil­dren be­ing gone by eat­ing your­self out of mild de­pres­sion. Find a project at church or with a com­mu­nity group and be a pos­i­tive light in your com­mu­nity.

Teach­ers un­happy with reg­i­men

THE MIN­ISTRY of Ed­u­ca­tion is be­ing heav­ily crit­i­cised for how it has han­dled the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the new Na­tional Stan­dards Cur­ricu­lum (NSC), which is cur­rently be­ing rolled out on a phased ba­sis by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion.

Scores of teach­ers who at­tended train­ing ses­sions for the NSC be­tween July and Au­gust have com­plained about what they de­scribe as a seem­ing lack of com­pe­tence of the in­di­vid­u­als con­tracted to de­liver the train­ing.

One teacher who spoke with The Gleaner said the train­ers were gen­er­ally un­pre­pared for the train­ing ses­sions and did not have a grasp of the con­tents of the cur­ricu­lum.

“The train­ing ses­sions were not mean­ing­ful, as the train­ers them­selves could not demon­strate these sup­posed new teach­ing skills that we are ex­pected to de­velop in or­der to ef­fec­tively de­liver the new cur­ricu­lum,” an­other teacher told The Gleaner.

Un­der the NSC, em­pha­sis should be placed on pro­ject­based and prob­lem-solv­ing learn­ing, with sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics/sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing, arts and math­e­mat­ics in­te­grated in the teach­ing process.

The new method­olo­gies are ex­pected to pro­vide stu­dents with more hands-on ex­pe­ri­ences, but it ap­pears that teach­ers are no wiser about how to im­ple­ment this in the class­room even af­ter the two months of train­ing.

The Gleaner has learnt that some train­ers have com­plained that they were not given ad­e­quate time to in­ter­pret and un­der­stand the cur­ricu­lum be­fore they were asked to train teach­ers.

The min­istry has said it will spend $131 mil­lion on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the NSC this aca­demic year.

Cur­ricu­lum ex­pert Dr Car­men Roofe, who lec­tures on the sub­ject at the Univer­sity of the West Indies, has noted that the anec­do­tal ev­i­dence be­ing re­ceived from teach­ers about the roll-out of the NSC fol­lows the pat­tern of im­ple­men­ta­tion deficit that has char­ac­terised cur­ricu­lum pol­icy and prac­tice in Ja­maica.

“As a coun­try, we have done very well at de­vel­op­ing cur­ric­ula to meet the needs of our stu­dents across the dif­fer­ent lev­els of ed­u­ca­tion. How­ever, we fail to suc­cess­fully im­ple­ment these cur­ric­ula to achieve the de­sired re­sults. There are stud­ies avail­able on the re­form of sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion cur­ric­ula and the re­vised pri­mary cur­ricu­lum that point to the weak­nesses as­so­ci­ated with cur­ricu­lum im­ple­men­ta­tion in the Ja­maican ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem,” she said in re­sponse to ques­tions from The Gleaner.

Ac­cord­ing to Roofe, the min­istry should make use of the find­ings from these stud­ies to guide im­ple­men­ta­tion so that the same mis­takes are not re­peated.

“If cur­ric­ula de­vel­op­ment is to have the de­sired ef­fect, then teach­ers must be ef­fec­tively trained in the method­olo­gies and prac­tices of the new cur­ricu­lum. Ad­di­tion­ally, ma­te­rial re­sources need to be pro­vided to sup­port the im­ple­men­ta­tion,” she added.

Roofe, who will de­liver the 7th In­sti­tute for Ed­u­ca­tional Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Lead­er­ship (IEAL-J) lec­ture next month, fur­ther ar­gued that poor im­ple­men­ta­tion of cur­ricu­lum changes have an im­pact on stu­dents’ per­for­mance.

“There is a def­i­nite link be­tween cur­ricu­lum im­ple­men­ta­tion and stu­dents’ per­for­mance. The cur­ricu­lum leads the core as­pects of ed­u­ca­tion. It is the cur­ricu­lum that pro­vides the struc­ture for the pro­vi­sion of qual­ity learn­ing. How the cur­ricu­lum is in­ter­preted and en­acted will there­fore af­fect the qual­ity of stu­dents’ per­for­mance,” she said.

Roofe’s IEAL-J lec­ture will ex­plore the pol­icy and prac­tice of cur­ricu­lum im­ple­men­ta­tion in Ja­maica.


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