New curriculum: Critical thinking children can now challenge teachers – NaCCA boss

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Executive Secretary of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment says one of the purposes of the new curriculum for basic schools is to encourage the participation of children during lessons.

Dr Prince Armah who believes that the current system is defective said the new one will give children the opportunity to not only express themselves but also allow them to learn from each other.

In an interview, he said “in this new curriculum, the idea is that we want children who can be critical thinkers, problem solvers and can challenge their teachers.

“In the traditional classroom, you dare not express an opinion that is contrary to what the teacher is saying. Sometimes it amounts to trying to challenge the teacher,” he added.

Dr Armah who is also a lecturer at the University of Education, Winneba is convinced that a British-like teaching system where children are encouraged to freely express and share their views in classrooms is the best for Ghana.

He said it is wonderful, from his experience, to allow children to engage in learning conversation among themselves and teachers.

The scholar believes the current ‘learning is by drill and practice and by repetitive action’ notion does not allow the child to engage in negotiation of meaning of the learning environment.

With this new curriculum which will be implemented beginning from the 2019/20 academic year, Dr Armah expects teachers to adhere to the new way of teaching as stipulated in the curriculum and make room for the children.

“Knowledge is evolving, sometime back we learnt that there are nine planets, now there are more than that. At some point, we said that the earth was sphere now they say it is conical.

“It is important that we begin to understand the contemporary concept of teaching and learning. Knowledge is subject to perpetual revision and so as and when new evidence is made available, we keep on revising,” he stressed.

But the President of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) who was also a panel on the programme disagreed with the notion that teachers are dictators in classrooms.

Angel Carbonu said children are always engaged during lessons by teachers and the notion that children are forbidden from expressing their views is not completely accurate.

“It is not as if before now the Ghanaian teacher does not engage the child. It is not true. That you go to a class and the teacher is a dictator and that the child does not contribute in the classroom…that is not absolutely true. I have been a teacher for 30 years and I am saying there is a high level of engagement between teachers and children.

“If you don’t understand issues, you raise your hand and tell the teacher that you do not understand and the teacher explains to you. It is not that true that the teacher is a dictator and the children are in a state of fear and that the teacher speaks and the child does not speak,” he added.

Mr. Carbonu said the over demonisation of the Ghanaian teacher create a sense of incapability, inability and incompetence is unfortunate.

For him, teachers need to have that lead personality which will enable the children to see them as people they can respect and identify as the manager of the class.

“The teacher should have a set of knowledge above that of the children. What are you talking about negotiating with a class one child in school? What kind of Caucasian concept are these that people are trying to implement here,” he queried.

The Ghanaian teacher is not a stone that ought to be broken, he said.


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