TechnoloBlog

LOOKING BACK…LOOKING AHEAD!

 

March 2017…the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) was introduced in 2012 and the question is, are we winning or whining?

In 2011 I expressed a concern that the introduction of the CAPS, despite being considered an attempt to improve the quality of education in the country, might have quite the opposite effect if not approached with circumspection. My assumption at the time was based on the possibility that teachers might revert to teaching methods where covering aspects contained in the syllabus becomes more important than learners’ understanding because of set time-frames.

I cited the investment of millions in creating awareness around social constructivism as a preferred teaching and learning methodology and cautioned that after all the years of actively promoting social constructivist methodologies, the implementation of the CAPS might seriously negate reasonable strides made in this regard.

I stated the obvious regarding the engagement of learners in practical activities being an excellent method of mediating learning and the need for adequate time for learners to engage in group practical work in a meaningful manner. I alluded to the notion of learners needing time to think critically, time to engage in meaningful talk and time to reflect on their learning. I was particularly concerned about the learners at my school whose LOLT is English, whereas their mother-tongue is either Afrikaans or isi-Xhosa.

I was concerned about the possibility of rushing to complete the syllabus in a prescribed time-frame and the possible loss of meaningful engagement with subject matter.  McTighe and O’Connor (2005:12) warned of the “danger of viewing … standards and benchmarks as inert content to cover” and suggested that “educators should frame the standards and benchmarks in terms of desired performances and ensure that the performances are as authentic as possible”.

I was concerned that teachers might become content-driven and mentioned the probability that common assessment would encourage teachers to spend more time on teaching than facilitating learning.

This lead me to toy with the idea of differentiating between Linear-teaching and Why-teaching. My argument simply being that to facilitate in-depth learning, one needs to spend more time on learner-understanding than dashing along the surface to meet a DEAD-LINE.

So, where are we now, looking back and then looking at what lies ahead?

What do you think?

Gerry

McTighe, J., & O’Conner, K. (2005). Seven Practices for effective learning. Educational leadership, 63(3), 10-17

 Full article on “practical work and the challenge of CAPS” can be found HERE.

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