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Training Tools for Curriculum Development. A Resource Pack
Core Modules

 

 
  1. Approaches to capacity building

  2. Capacity building of curriculum professionals as a requisite for reform

  3. Teacher involvement in capacity building

 

While curriculum can be conceptualized in a number of ways, the notions of “intended” and “implemented” curriculum are useful for curriculum developers.

The intended (or “official”) school curriculum is expressed in policy documents, curriculum frameworks or guidelines, frameworks of standards and assessment, syllabi, textbooks and other instructional materials and clearly defines the structure, content and methods of intended learning experiences. This “intended” curriculum is then put into practice through real teachers interacting with real students in real schools. It is the “real” or “implemented” curriculum that shapes students’ learning experiences and determined their learning outcomes.

This module offers opportunities for curriculum professionals to develop their understanding of central issues related to capacity building for curriculum implementation by exploring:

  • Approaches to encouraging discourse about curriculum philosophy, concepts, change and the implications for education systems;
  • Strategies for promoting new approaches to teaching and learning, information and communications technology;
  • Issues in school based training and teacher education;
  • Whole school issues.

This module is organized around three activities:

  1. Approaches to capacity building. Discusses needs for training in a framework of continuous capacity building.
  2. Capacity building of curriculum professionals as a requisite for reform. Analyzes the needs for technical training of curriculum specialists.
  3. Teacher involvement in capacity building. Helps in revising the different attitudes that can enable or block the capacity building processes.

Following these activities is a “Resources” section which contains a list of discussion papers and additional resources referred to in the activities.

Conceptual framework
Curriculum change is a dynamic and challenging process, and its success depends on all stakeholders having the capacity to develop or adopt a shared vision, positive attitudes and commitment. Moreover, they need to develop the necessary professional competencies in the various aspects of curriculum change.

Capacity building is defined here as “the process of assisting an individual or group to gain insights, knowledge and experiences needed to solve problems and implement change”.

As well as developing the knowledge, skills and attitudes of individuals and groups engaged in curriculum reform, it is important to empower them in such areas as policy formulation, curriculum design, textbook development and evaluation, piloting and innovation, implementation and curriculum monitoring and evaluation.

Capacity building for curriculum implementation has three important dimensions:

  • Improving competence and positive attitudes;
  • Developing innovative pedagogical approaches and models;
  • Attracting community participation and resources.

A range of capacities is required to facilitate curriculum implementation:

  • Understanding core concepts (such as: frameworks; local curricula; flexibility; learner-centred approaches).
  • Understanding the “curriculum implementation cycle”.
  • Monitoring and supervising (for district personnel, teachers, inspectors, principals, etc.), which includes:
    • Assessment of teaching and learning;
    • Supervision;
    • Monitoring and evaluation of curriculum implementation.

Capacity building is not only about developing the competence of those responsible for curriculum implementation but involves changing the attitudes and behaviours of those who might oppose change.

Those engaged in curriculum implementation must be exposed to a variety of capacity building activities. Training workshops, follow-up activities and school-based capacity building initiatives should al be part of customized professional development programs.

The focus should be on building on strengths rather than highlighting what people lack or need. This is a departure from the deficit model of training which focuses on weaknesses rather than what people are capable of doing. Individuals must be given the opportunity to learn from one another and, in the process, increase each others’ capacity. For teachers, the establishment of a teachers’ support network in every school to provide collegial assistance on a continuing basis will help reduce teacher isolation and facilitate the process of adoption of or adaptation to curriculum change. Furthermore, a network of colleagues learning from and supporting each other is not only essential in building a community of practice, but it will also help sustain the change process.

Key-words
Capacity Building; Community of Practice; ICT Integration; In-service Training; Multi-grade / Multi-class Teaching; Needs-based Training; Pre-service Training, Professional Development; Teacher Support Network; Teaching and Learning; Whole School Approach.