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To change or not to change the curriculum. Why, how and when.

21st September 2015

To change or not to change the curriculum. Why, how and when.

Wendy Arnold Co-Founder

 

WHY

 

‘if you keep doing the same thing, you will keep getting the same result’ (Stephen Covey)

 

So if you are getting the results you aspire to then ‘if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it!’

But if you want to implement change then take advice and learn from the error of others.

 

HOW

 

One of the core values of ELT Consultants work has been consistency in what we advise our clients with reference to implementation of a new curriculum. Recommendation for policy development and implementation to introducing English as a second/foreign language in Primary schools, according to Enever & Moon (2009) includes

 

1)    ‘‘The earlier the better’ is not automatically true in all situations

2)    Evidence suggests that hastily implemented early start policies may be ineffective.

3)    To ensure quality and sustainability over time, a planned and phased introductions is important.

4)    For implementation to become effective, schools, parents and local communities need to be involved, together with national, regional and local project teams.

5)    Key factors in achieving quality and sustainability include:

a)    Trained Primary teachers with pedagogical skills in teaching English as a second/foreign language to younger Primary-aged children.

b)    Teachers with a minimum competency level in English of B1 level (as described by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages)

c)    Age-appropriate and culturally appropriate teaching materials are vital.

d)    Substantial institutional support for the initiative is needed.

e)    Ongoing local workshops/training should be provided to support teachers in developing skills over time.

f)      A phased introduction may be more effective – starting with the upper Primary then gradually extending to the lower Primary years.

 

A further 6 recommendations follow, ending with

 

12) Education reform needs time. Quality cannot be achieved overnight.’

 

WHEN

 

Considering the above and my own experiences, I continue to be disappointed that the support that teachers get still does not meet the needs required for effective implementation. So this would be my no. 1 criteria.

 

1.    Start implementation when you have enough English speaking and Primary trained teachers!

 

Another surprise is how stakeholders who can easily adversely impact on implementation, are not involved, and so my no. 2 criteria would be

 

2.    Engage with parents, local communities, schools (senior management teams especially); national, regional and local project teams who support the teachers in the field; pre-service is crux so make sure that institutes who train teachers understand what is needed.

 

And in my top 3 would be

 

3.    ‘joined up thinking’ between those who will implement and enforce change, particularly, curriculum, teacher training, supervisory and assessment departments. They need to communicate clearly and openly between themselves whether it’s at Ministry of Education or language school level. Their connected and joined up thinking roles will ensure a clearer vision.

 

And we at ELT-Consultants hope to work closely with new clients to help direct them to these goals for success.

 

References

 

Enever, J, Moon, J (2009) ‘New global contexts for teaching Primary ELT:Change and challenge’ in J.Enever, J. Moon and U.Raman (eds) Young Learner English Language Policy and Implementation:International Perspectives. Uk:Garnet Education

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