There are many similarities between national policies across Africa. For example, the National Curriculum Policy for Kenya (2015, p. 17) states:
To enhance the pedagogical approaches, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MOEST) will pursue the following policies:
- Enhance pedagogical approaches that support creativity, innovation, critical thinking; and
- Enhance teacher quality for effective implementation to ensure acquisition of competencies that ensure life skills.
The ‘enhancing of pedagogical approaches’ applies to teachers and teacher educators. It is difficult for student teachers and experienced teachers to know how to change if they have not experienced active learning and teaching and have not had the opportunity to observe it in school.
Teacher educators have a big responsibility when it comes to implementing policies like this. And Kenya is not unusual; this is a common policy aspiration across Africa. This quote is from The Zambia Education Curriculum Framework 2013 (p. 56) and forms the basis for the revised school curriculum implemented in 2016:
The teachers and teacher-educators should as much as possible, use methods that promote active learners’ participation and interaction. In addition, they should use methods that encourage learners to reflect, think and do rather than reproduce from rote learning. In this regard, teachers and teacher-educators are strongly advised to use the Learner-Centred Approach in the teaching and learning process.
In the next activity you will be thinking about the policy in your own country and what needs to change in classrooms in your country.
Activity 1.2: Educational policy and teacher education
Record your response to the following questions in your notebook:
- What views or ideas about teaching and learning underpin government education policy in your country?
- What are the main differences between the national vision and your own experience (at school/teaching training college/university)?
- What needs to change in classrooms in your country? Imagine you are looking through a classroom window and describe what you would like to see the students and teacher doing.
If you can, discuss these questions with a colleague. What are the implications of your Government’s policy aspirations for teacher education in your country?
Later in the course you will have the opportunity to reflect about what ‘active learning and teaching’ looks like in practice and on how you can support students in developing a vision for effective teaching.