EDUCATIONAL REFORMS

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Abstract

Society that lives devoid of any meaningful change is doomed to fail. School, like any other societal unit is bound from time to time to embrace change that is meaningful and attainable. Reforms in school setting go in line with the present technological and economic changes taking place world over (Echevarria J., p 198). These changes would be in the manner in which the management of the institution is undertaken or the way in which the curriculum is formulated and implemented.

Though there exists the aforementioned categorization for probable reforms within the school setting, it needs to be appreciated that none can come in isolation. The implementation and inception of one brings into play the reformation of the other. To implement any meaningful reforms in the school setting, the inclusion of all stakeholders is imperative and inevitable.

 

Educational Reforms

There have been relentless pursuits in the transformation of the teaching learning process from teacher centered to a leaner centered approach (Khemmani T, p 123). However, it is apparent that this well intended changes are only effective on paper. The practical aspect of the implementation has been quite elusive and far from attainment. Perhaps the solution to this challenge would be a change of guard.

This paper seeks to find alternative practical and realistic means and ways through which the learner centered approach of curriculum implementation can be made a reality within the schools. First, the learners should be put central in the development of the curriculum and the curriculum materials. Besides, the materials developed should incorporate teachers and instructors who are taking the active role of implementation (Carl H). Perhaps the failures that have been experienced in initial policy guidelines have been due to the top down approach of policy formulation. The formulation process of the curriculum materials should be bottom up.

The formulation of the curriculum and the implementation is not enough, the supervision of the implementation and the evaluation of the progress are of equal importance and should equally be given due emphasis. Past failures of the implementation process could have been largely curtailed by the extraversion of one of the stages. For the implementation to be in a continuum the interaction between the stages should be well coordinated.

Overall, the hitherto proposed school reforms have been in all ways worth the requisite change, however, the implementation gap has made them appear retrogressive and retardant (Echevarria J.,, p 205). Attractively coined and developed, the policies have ended up not serving the purpose for which they were intended to achieve. Nonetheless, the past failed and successful reform agenda form the basis for the development of new and successful reform policies.

First, for the attainment of a fully learners centered implementation process internal supervision should be not only continuous but also objective (Carl H.). Interaction with the implementing agents show that the provision for the appropriate supervision of the process would go a long way in ensuring that the there is continuous efficiency and effectiveness in the implementation process.

The supervisions undertaken should not only be amicable but also flexible to allow for imminent variations. The supervision should allow for the adjustment of teacher’s behavior and paradigm changes.  In the formative stage, it needs to be appreciated that teachers are hardly comfortable with the ideals of the learner centered approach and they tend to take it as a logical impossibility (Kidron Y., Darwin, M J, p 19). Perhaps the changing of the teacher’s attitude should take the center stage in the implementation process. If the attitudes are not changed, there is a high likelihood that the teachers may contribute to the failure of the policy through sabotage (Bull, B, p 67).

If the supervisor fails in winning the teachers’ support, the implementation would be met with resistance from the supposed custodians of the very curriculum reform. The teachers should be made dully aware of the benefits and values of the new teaching learning approach. This will assist in winning the hearts of the teachers towards supporting and being part of the implementation process.

The supervisor should embrace respect, friendliness; positive thinking such as can make the teachers see the essence of being supervised. Consultation should also take a central role in the supervision process (Viteritti, J P, p 233); the supervisor should be able to tactfully explain concepts and make meaning appropriately, supporting the implementation course. Profoundly, the supervisor should understand the implementation objectives and process and be able to explicitly explain the subject content to the teachers to understand.

The supervision of the implementation process should employ the cognitive process that would ultimately result into the change of behavior (Carl H.). This supervision should not only involve consultation but should also help those that are being supervised in their thinking process and their actions; this would help the implementers change their overall perceptions. In addition, this would trigger intrinsic motivations (Kidron Y., Darwin, M J, p 13). The research from the field reveals that that supervision through the development of thinking, skills learning skills and furthered self-improvement boosts the overall performance of the teachers in their curriculum implementation process.

The supervision undertaken in the implementation process of the learner centered approach to teaching and learning should be based on the passed experiences. During this approach to supervision, there is a side-by-side and continuous consultation that ensures that the experience of each individual, both the teacher and the learner are closed monitored to evaluate the process. If this approach is adopted, meaningful change would be visualized within a period of two years.

The approach adopted in the provision of advice and leadership kills should be done purely on a one on one basis (Echevarria J., p 209). The atmosphere should be relaxed to allow for effective interaction between the supervisor and the teacher. Fervently, the supervision should be done on individual basis. Teachers should be allowed to share their experiences through the implementation process.

The reform agenda will be driven further through the involvement of the community. The parents and guardians of the learners should be involved in the reformation process. This makes reforms an all-inclusive agenda, not only for the school but also the society at large.  In addition, given that there are parents who also educate their children at home, uniformity in approach of teaching would make the reform process a community affair, school inclusive.

The reform process would further be beefed up through printed matter and meeting that would have parent made aware of the impending changes. Besides, members of committees that represent the interests of parents would be dully sensitized to assist in bringing parents on the reform board.

School Reform Work Plan

To effectively achieve the desired reform objectives, the following stages should be adopted towards and before the start of the implementation of the desired school reforms.

Formulation of Reform Objective

The objectives of the reform agenda should be formulated clearly in SMART terms and made articulate through printed materials to the stakeholders. The objectives should be specific in their orientation without any ambiguities (Bull, B., p 73). The extent of attainment should be put in terms that are measurable and be attainable. Similarly, the formulated objectives should be realistic and attainable within a specified duration of time (time bound).

 

Sensitization of the Stake Holders

Teachers and parents should be sensitized on the essence of the adoption of the reforms that have been proposed. This would be done through organized meeting that will have the reform policies articulated and elaborated for the stakeholders (Viteritti, J P, p 233). The stakeholders should be given a chance to make their ardent contributions towards the effective, efficient and successful implementation of the proposed reforms. Learners should also be prepared through guidance and counseling sessions.

Implementation of the Reforms

The administrators should provide the material and administrative support. This will be done through the purchase of requisite materials. The teachers on the other hand should read through the proposed reforms and interpret them adequately, ensuring consultation where there seems to be interpretation loopholes (Bull, B., p 66). Any challenges met during implementation should be noted and articulated during brainstorming meetings that need to be organized often. Though this may be seen as an evaluation process, it reveals the efficiency of the varied implementation approaches.

Evaluations of the Reform Implementation Process

The implementation process should be coupled with continuous evaluation by both the teachers and the other stake holders. Parents should monitor closely any change in attitude of the learners (Khemmani T, p 121). Teachers and administrator can also monitor the process through the views of the learners. This will be used in the review of the reform agenda if the need does arise (Carl H.).  Evaluation will also be undertaken during the supervision process, noting the response and interaction during applications of the reforms.

In conclusion, it needs to be appreciated that change is inevitable. However, unless the change is handled with due diligence, it can turn out to be very counterproductive. In view of this assertion, any reforms that are envisaged for implementation should be planned well to reduce the adverse effects of its counter productivity in the case of failure.

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