To change the way a subject is taught is no simple matter, because a school is a bit like an ecosystem, with many interdependent parts. Curriculum change is like changing something in an ecosystem – if you touch one part you cause effects in many other parts. That’s why workshops outside of schools are not enough to help curriculum changes take root.
Here’s an example of Setlhare’s approach to establishing a new curriculum.
The Technology for All Pilot Programme (TFAPP) ran for four years as a joint venture between Setlhare Trust and the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) to explore the limits of the NCS for Technology in Grades 4 to 7. Eight pilot schools chose to participate and made commitments of teacher time, use of their allocated budgets and improvement to rooms for teaching technology. Setlhare provided all the children free textbooks, covering the curriculum.
Most of the teachers had never taught technology before. Together we workshopped, taught and assessed the whole curriculum. The aim was to test the limits of what learners could do, find the levels of support that novice teachers needed, create a community of practice among the teachers and share all this with the Gauteng Department of Education through its subject advisors.
Several times in each year there was a public event that all the schools prepared for; these events created goals and deadlines for completing the term’s work, and were very motivating to the teachers and children. Here is a video of Grade 5 girls presenting the investigation stage of their Systems project to a hall full of principals, teachers and children. [This is a trial video clip – it will be replaced by the full one]