In Kenya, we are in the 6th year of implementation of the competency-based curriculum (CBC). The new curriculum brought with it significant changes to both how we teach and how learners learn. While we applaud the changes that the new curriculum has brought and what its correct implementation would mean for the future of the country, it is also important to look at why it still feels relatively new. What is causing this disconnect between what the curriculum proposes and the reality?
One major reason is that the new curriculum has brought with it a significant increase in the teacher’s daily work. Let’s look at an example of a teacher, Mrs Koroli, who is responsible for teaching a class of 60 students in grade 3.
Mrs Koroli teaches several learning areas in her grade 3 class. During a lesson, she provides practical activities for her learners based on the curriculum designs and her creativity. Mrs Koroli then has to check what each learner is doing and provide guidance where necessary. Before the lesson ends, she has to assess her learners. After teaching every strand and sub-strand, Mrs. Koroli has to assess each learner and painstakingly write down the record of the assessment activity. At the end of the term, she also has to generate a report from all these records. She does this for each learning area.
Even if we reduce the number of students to half that, it is as clear as day that the amount of effort required by Mrs Koroli is significantly more than it was during 8-4-4. Remember, this is only one learning area. She teaches five.
The reality is, that teachers like Mrs Koroli exist. They do their best to guide their learners in developing skills and competencies. This requires them to cope with the challenges, such as the workload while still ensuring that they are correctly guiding and assessing their learners.
Some teachers have succeeded in not only complying with the demands of CBC but also thriving in it. The biggest difference between those who are thriving and those who are surviving is the attitude.
Thriving teachers approach the new curriculum with a can-do attitude and an aim to be the best at what they do. They constantly seek out ways to improve themselves, and in doing so have found the right tools and the right training to get them to the next level. I’m sure we all know one such teacher. How can I easily assess my learners? How can I access training affordably and conveniently? Are there other teachers out there who think like me? Thriving teachers ask themselves such questions.
Thriving teachers embrace change and use the power of technology to solve alleviate some of these challenges. A quick Google search, for instance, and you will find that The CBC App and CBC Training exist to serve those very needs.
CBC Training, for instance, hosts online training classes that are free of charge for teachers to attend live. These trainings are very practical in nature and they focus on pedagogy and assessment in CBC. Experienced teachers share the pedagogical approaches they use to teach the various strands and sub-strands in different learning areas as well as how to assess.
It is clear from the hundreds of teachers who attend these trainings that they benefit immensely from this practical approach, with a significant number happy to leave the training with techniques and approaches they can immediately implement in class. No wonder these teachers are thriving.
I believe that all teachers have this attitude within them. The CBC curriculum is pushing us, as a country, in the right direction. However, with change comes new experiences, challenges, and opportunities. Whether you thrive or simply survive depends on how we choose to deal with them. What is your choice?