Improving Learning Outcome of Schooling through Monitoring Implementation of the Curriculum: The South African Context
Located within the context of post-COVID-19, the paper focuses on interventions made to primary school education to mitigate the learning loss experienced during COVID-19. Prior to COVID-19, learning outcomes were compromised by a range of factors in school provisioning, including challenges related to infrastructure, teacher competence, school leadership and curriculum coverage. Through a national funded initiative, four project streams to improve the quality of teaching and learning were initiated. This paper reports on the curriculum recovery project stream wherein the recovery curriculum implemented during COVID-19 was reviewed for conceptual coherence and quality of curriculum delivery. Subject advisors employed by the Provincial Departments of Basic Education reported, using a quality assurance reporting framework, to report on two hundred primary schools across three Provinces of South Africa on the implementation of the recovery curriculum. Findings suggests that most schools were rated “needs improvement” on the majority of standards related to the delivery of the recovery curriculum. Reasons for such ratings included lack of support from school leaders, minimal support from curriculum specialist and very little opportunity for teachers to reflect on their teaching to the recovery curriculum plan. A concerning factor that impeded the implementation of the recovery curriculum is the inability of teachers to cover the entire curriculum as planned. The paper concludes with some conceptual engagement on post-human and new materialism constructs that explains some of the findings emerging from the reports on monitoring the implementation of the recovery curriculum.
C.P.Snow deplored the gulf between the “two cultures” of art and science a half-century ago; STEAM is gaining ground on STEM as (for example) the tech world embraces graphics. What about social science? Political actors have always used art (posters, songs, and literature) to advocate for policies, and particular works have been influential, as Alex Ross’ notable recent Wagnerism records. We find art, including plastic and performing arts, instrumental in analyzing and teaching policy analysis, and have exercised this perspective in teaching courses as varied as Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management and Implementation, and our Introduction to Policy Analysis. The strong version of our claim, that we illustrate in the paper, is that policy analysis is incomplete without attention to what artists elucidate about how policy actually work: for example, that criminal justice policy analysis is improved by serious attention to Florestan’s aria in Fidelio. Edelman and Borins, among others, have examined the direct influence of the arts on political choice and action, but the direct use of art as a policy-analytic and teaching tool remains underexplored. Its utility lies at the core of learning: a scientific paper is read from beginning to end and its propositions are rooted in a single set of facts and popular discourse is similarly linear. But a painting, in contrast, is viewed both all over and from detail to detail; opera even allows more than one character (and the orchestra) to react differently and simultaneously to the same state of affairs.
Mapping the Offer of Teaching English to Young Learners in Four Brazilian States: Language Policies View Digital Media
This paper shares the results of a study developed in 2021, funded by the British Council, which focused on mapping the offer of teaching English to young learners (TEYL) in public schools in four Brazilian states (Espírito Santo, Goiás, Paraná, and São Paulo). In the first phase, data from 378 cities were gathered, through an online survey, regarding the number of classes, teacher education proposals, the use of teaching materials, and if the city had a teaching syllabus. In the second phase, the researchers analyzed teaching syllabuses to understand the concepts that guided the offer of TEYL in each city. Afterwards, participants (teachers and coordinators) were invited to an online focus group in which they shared their experiences and reflections on the challenges and opportunities of TEYL in their contexts. Based on the data from these phases, the researchers developed a guide that aims at presenting principles that should be considered in syllabus design. This document contributes with guidelines and issues that must be considered by authorities and professionals that intend to offer TEYL in their cities, either as a project or as part of their curriculum. It can also assist the decision making process in those places where TEYL is already a reality, which represent 70% of the cities surveyed. In this paper, we share the results of each state and highlight the parts of the guide that focus on language education, emphasizing the relevance of language policies for this context.