How does 21st century learning differ from current practice and models in African schools?
<ul><li>In this presentation, I will not be considering </li></ul><ul><li>ICTs as teaching/learning tools ( = a different sort of book), or ICTs as a subject, </li></ul><ul><li>but </li></ul><ul><li>some of the implications of virtuality in terms of learning, </li></ul><ul><li>and what they might mean for thinking about curriculum </li></ul>
A knowledge-based society Have we not always had knowledge-based societies? Can there be a human society without knowledge? Now the knowledge-based economy is being spread. By whom? For whom?
- what still exists for knowledge production and innovation? Indigenous knowledge systems in Africa
New knowledge is also needed, new ways of thinking, and new modes of communication!
Put these 21st century skills in order of importance: Digital Age Literacy (incl. global awareness, scientific and economic literacies): Effective Communication (incl. interpersonal skills, collaboration); Inventive/Innovative Thinking (incl. managing complexity, curiosity, creativity, synthesis, analysis); High Productivity (incl. prioritization, planning, managing for results)
<ul><li>BUT... </li></ul><ul><li>...we are entering the second decade of the 21st century </li></ul><ul><li>some African children are fully ICT literate </li></ul><ul><li>ICTs are spreading </li></ul><ul><li>and with other challenges, new knowledge, new ways of thinking, new ways of knowing are needed </li></ul><ul><li>Where are we now? </li></ul>
What is the nature of the last curriculum and/or assessment reform in your country? When was it? Why was it necessary? Was it a back-to-the drawing board complete redesign? How successful would you say it was, seen from a system perspective? What were the constraints?
<ul><li>My experience: </li></ul><ul><li>from objectives to competencies or outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>complete redesign only in South Africa </li></ul><ul><li>successful in “good” schools and teachers; not in others </li></ul><ul><li>assessment to match curriculum is too resource demanding: compromise: backwash effect </li></ul><ul><li>teacher education not in tune, teacher educators too far behind; teaching still mostly conventional </li></ul><ul><li>the education system as a whole is under-resourced </li></ul><ul><li>learning constrained by poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy, impact of HIV/AIDS </li></ul>
Curriculum reform is a political process where expertise has to work with different constituencies
Make bullet points: What problems have you encountered when trying to get approval to redesign or change curriculum or assessment, or for changes that have been made? What bodies does approval have to go through ? What constituencies do you have to negotiate with? What sort of arguments supported changes you wanted to make? What sort of arguments constrained the changes you wanted to make?
<ul><li>In my experience, complete redesign of curriculum constrained by: </li></ul><ul><li>power-knowledge relationships = vested interests </li></ul><ul><li>lack of updated knowledge about learning, intelligence, knowledge, curriculum, assessment </li></ul><ul><li>political and parental fear </li></ul><ul><li>mindsets </li></ul><ul><li>resourcing </li></ul>
Do we need complete redesign for the 21st century?
PREVIOUS KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS - COMMUNITY (family, village, town) - VOCATIONAL TRAINING - NON-FORMAL/COMPLEMENTARY - FORMAL SCHOOLING
<ul><li>EACH OF THESE HAS ITS OWN WAYS OF ORGANISING </li></ul><ul><li>-knowledge - time </li></ul><ul><li>-space - material/s </li></ul><ul><li>-grouping - instruction </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>assessment - recognition </li></ul></ul></ul>
CURRICULUM USED TO BE THOUGHT TO BE GIVEN (DELIVERED) BUT IT IS APPROPRIATED BY THE LEARNER. ASSESSMENT FINDS OUT HOW MUCH HAS BEEN APPROPRIATED OF THE GIVEN, BUT NOT WHAT ELSE...e.g.
Language Family life Food & health Arts Traditions Locality Beliefs & values Games & sports Skills Learning from the community
...can be “curricularised” like schooling. It is still given... ...and appropriated. It used to be all you needed to know.
Given this knowledge system, curricula are exploding in Africa. Formal education to a large extent replaced the community curriculum. Population Health Demo-cracy, Human Rights HIV/AIDS Environ-ment Commerce Tech nology P.E. Arts Social Science Natural Science Maths English French Portu-guese Mother tongue
<ul><li>Many countries are trying to revise curricula by </li></ul><ul><li>constructing frameworks of key skills or outcomes. </li></ul><ul><li>But that is not redesign. </li></ul><ul><li>The old theories and ways of thinking still underpin curriculum and assessment: taxonomies, hierarchies, linear stages... </li></ul><ul><li>Implications of new theories are not fully realised: </li></ul><ul><li>- multiple intelligences </li></ul><ul><li>the zone of proximal development </li></ul><ul><li>feminist pedagogy </li></ul>
<ul><li>Pedagogy is supposed to be </li></ul><ul><li>constructivist </li></ul><ul><li>learner-centred </li></ul><ul><li>interactive </li></ul><ul><li>but is still largely conventional across the continent. </li></ul><ul><li>When pedagogy is practiced as intended, it often causes tensions in relation to community values and culture e.g. especially not questioning elders and traditions. </li></ul>
With virtuality, the changes will be much greater, e.g.: The learner decides what s/he learns, when they learn it, how , and with whom Virtuality is changing the way children think, changing intelligences, and changing meaning Being self-directed, scope and sequence are not given Intuition plays a very large role
The teacher/instructor is no longer the arbiter of knowledge, only of schooling So how do we develop 21st century skills in teachers in Africa? How do we develop 21st century skills in teacher educators in Africa?
Now we are in a stage of formalising virtual learning, and virtualising formal learning Suppose we do something really different...
Suppose we re-classified knowledge Technology Communication Values Health Environment Society Curriculum urriculu
...it would be progress, but still not be enough We could start with the skills, then select and shape the substance, (but leave a lot open) and decide what to assess and how but that would not be enough, because virtuality is even changing epistemology
<ul><li>We have to start by thinking about: </li></ul><ul><li>what is knowledge and what will it be? </li></ul><ul><li>what is learning and what will it be? </li></ul><ul><li>how can we adapt time, space, grouping to use the full learning potential of virtuality? </li></ul><ul><li>how would we curricularise all that? </li></ul><ul><li>how would we assess learning? </li></ul><ul><li>how would we negotiate all that given our constituencies? </li></ul>
It could be a minimalist process curriculum: Themes to explore and anticipated outcomes The rest is up to the learners and teachers: - learners decide how they will explore the theme, search, shape, present - the teacher models, challenges, supports, gives input where needed - learners and teacher assess - the teacher supplements where necessary
Then the barriers between knowledge systems can disappear: Community Non-formal formal vocational virtual
Will 21st century learning in Africa be education for all? or Will it reproduce the existing structure of the system: an elite gain the skills needed to serve global economic interests? As for the rest....?
Beware!! The discourse of knowledge-based economies is one of competition not cooperation, Individualism not collectivity. How can we ensure that African values imbue learning for the 21st century?