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Why change should be the status quo in curricular change

One should not return to the status quo after having changed the curriculum. Curriculum change should be an ongoing process in which continuous  (peer) learning and informal leadership are core elements to success.

In a workshop by Pernilla Anderson DTU from Denmark at the CDIO conference at MIT/Harvard,  we as a group were challenged to think about; Why so many change implementations fail at the level of student learning.   A number of obstacles obviously interfered in achieving the curriculum change goals.  To name a few, which are most likely familiar to you all.

The physical learning environment doesn’t allow for true engagement with peer learners. Think of lecture halls. Putting constraints on what can be achieved in active learning.

The students’  attitude being resistant to change and new ways of learning. They have been drilled to study in a certain way in secondary school and have to unlearn the way they learned to have a new experience.  They are not really motivated as long as they pass the test, so why make such an effort.

The working conditions of the teachers are unfavourable to implementation of change. They do not get enough time/money and/reward to actually realize a change.

The culture of accountability is an obstacle for any trial and error experiments and/or failure rates of students. The result is that both teachers and students stay on the safe side. Teacher not to be held accountable for the students failure. Students’  for their own failure to adapt to a new learning environment and achieve the best results they can.

These are just some of the key obstacles mentioned. Did you notice anything in particular?

Yes, the teacher is not mentioned as being an obstacle to change.  So in a teacher training workshop looking at the problem will bring about solving one problem and waiting for the next problem to arise a day, a week, or year later.

It is also we as teachers who need to look at ourselves, what inhibits us to see the optimal learning environment as one we can grow on, create and realize new things that will inspire us and our students. And yes we will need support from the management to learn by trial and error, get the benefit of the doubt after bad evaluations. Preferably we share our endeavours by team or co teaching such that we can reflect and learn in the process and get a culture of quality learning and continuous change as a normal status quo.




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