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Curriculum, pedagogy, and teacher training: Considering culture


Curriculum, pedagogy, and teacher training: Considering culture Bame Nsamenang University of Yaound 1 & HDRC Technical Workshop of the Africa ECCD Initiative – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Curriculum, pedagogy, and teacher training: Considering culture

Curriculum, pedagogy, and teacher training
Considering culture
  • Bame Nsamenang
  • University of Yaoundé 1 HDRC
  • Technical Workshop of the Africa ECCD Initiative
  • Cape Town, South Africa, 26-28 July 2010
  • Panel Planning and Implementing Strategies for
    Expanding ECCD Quality and Access in Diverse

Africas triple-strand eccd heritages
Research reveals a hybrid childhood context
(Nsamenang, 1995)
  • Contemporary Africa is neither entirely
    traditional not entirely modern it is hybrid.
  • African parents expect their childrens
    performance of traditional as well as modern
    tasks. They readily take action to correct
    perceived deviations.
  • School progress not an indigenous task but high
    on parental expectations!
  • Parents scaffold the various responsibilities
    they assign to children according to maturity and

ECCD efforts More of science than pedagogy
  • No existing theory effectively captures the
    complexity of Africas triple-strand eccd
  • The science Brain development, Literacy,
    Nutrition, Investment in early development, etc.
    Breastfeeding African traditions, displaced by
    formula feeds as evidence-based then
    breastfeeding now as the science!
  • Legitimate apprehension What of us is in these
    efforts? Despair and learned helplessness from
    nothing good in us
  • Where is the how to module for eccd efforts?

HDRC Initiative to fill the cultural and
pedagogic gaps of Africas curricula
  • HDRC Initiative on Teacher Education Textbooks
    and Tools
  • First product African educational theories and
    practices a generative teacher education
  • Second proposed product The pedagogy of ecd
  • A positioning for Africas way forward
  • Children are the foundation of humanity /
    nationhood ... Invest in them!
  • Education, a means for personal, societal and
    national/continental progress / development ...

Africas most urgent needs
  • Transformational education, beginning with eccd
    programs and services.
  • Contribute substantively to the reality that all
    cultures can contribute knowledge of universal
    value (UNESCO, 1999), beginning with Africas
    worldview and procreation ideas and ecd theories
    and practices.
  • Create a tangible hub for the elusive rhethoric
    to transform Africas education expressed by the
    OAU (now AU) in 1961.
  • That hub is teachers and teacher education in
    general and ecd teachers and teacher education in

ECCD curriculum, pedagogy, and teacher training
Incorporating culture
  • Basic principles Active participatory learning
    Better together
  • Nsamenang (2008) Childrens natural curiosity to
    be active and participative becomes noticeable
    from an early age (in all cultures).
  • Children and adults learn best through hands-on
    experiences with people, materials, events,
    ideas, and so on.

ECCD curriculum
  • Curricular emphasis not only on adult-child
    interaction but more so child-to-child
    socialization/interactions and peer mentoring and
  • Carefully design culture-sensitive learning
    environments and a plan gt do gt review process
    that builds children up, strengthens their
    initiatives and self-reliance with the mission
    that they will improve the circumstances they
  • Teach children to notice, initiate, discover,
    cooperate, and learn about ideas, events, people,
    visions, etc.
  • It should be about children creating,
    experimenting, problem-solving, resolving
    conflicts, and understanding and respecting
    diversity as they learn and develop.

Organizational framework for ECCD curriculum
Parenting (ethno)theories
  • The developmental niche framework (Super
    Harkness, 1986) that considers social-anthropologi
    cal and psychological factors
  • Physical and social settings of childhoods
  • Development takes place in a specific
    physical/social setting
  • Cultures interpret and organize settings
    according to cultural meaning systems not a
    universal curriculum or civilization
  • Cultures impute own cultural agendas on to the
    biology of human development development is a
    cultural construction.
  • Childrearing traditions
  • Africans childrens routines and caregiving
  • Psychology of caretakers
  • Other perspectives practitioners, researchers,
  • Sibling peer perspectives Children as primary
    stakeholders in ECCD, who are active agents in
    their own self-care, self-education and

Two parenting ideologies/belief systems
  • Nsamenang (2008) Reigning Western developmental
    theories position the care of infants and
    children as a specialized task of adulthood,
    hence the primacy of parental ethnotheories
    (Harkness Super, 1996).
  • Weisner (1997) African theories separate the
    learning of childhood skills from the life stage
    of parenthood and position sibling and peer
    caregiving as childrens shared management,
    caretaking, and socially distributed support of
    the family, hence the significance of
    child-to-child socialization.

Language of instruction A critical curricular
  • Most African children face a language challenge
    as they leave their homes and start school. While
    most African children speak their mother tongues,
    most African pre-school and primary education
    programmes promote an inherited European language
    or Arabic as the main language of literacy and
    the main written medium of instruction.
  • In such a context, the preschool has the implicit
    role of preparing pre-school children for the
    foreign language pre-primary and primary
    education curriculum.
  • On the basis evidence from several sources, there
    appears a lack of coherence and continuity
    between three language levels
  • the home language
  • the preschool curriculum and
  • the primary school curriculum
  • The home inadequately prepares children for the
    preschool, which equally inadequately prepares
    children for the language challenges of the
    primary school programme.
  • How, then, can we design the preschool curriculum
    to bridge the language gap between the home and
    the school in multilingual African countries? The
    key issues are language development, mother
    tongue and foreign language acquisition, language
    policy on language of instruction, teacher
    training, pre-school pedagogy, etc. gtgt cultural
    identity issue of foreign language learning!

A holistic curriculum
  • An African curriculum does not divide knowledge
    into discrete fields, the so-called disciplines
    or domains of personality.
  • Social, emotional, cognitive, language, moral,
    and physical lessons are not learned separately
    by infants and children, even adults.
  • Infants and toddlers experience life more
    holistically than any other age group.
  • Adults who are most helpful to young children
    interact in ways that understand that the child
    is learning from the whole experience, not just
    that part of the experience to which the adult
    gives attention.

A curriculum sequenced on developmental milestones
  • The curriculum should borrow from the African
    school of life (Moumouni, 1968) Build preschool
    curriculum on and into the early learning from
    the daily routines and activities of the family
    and community, as most African children begin
    learning a cultural curriculum, including the
    mother tongue, from an early age.
  • Teach children to learn from noticing and acting
    and connecting with both local and global ideas,
    events, people and the ways of the world.
  • Teachers, peer mentors children are active
    partners in shaping educational experiences.

A comprehensive, flexible curriculum
  • Should be developmentally appropriate to promote
    children's social-emotional development and
    learning (in the core areas of literacy,
    language, mathematics, science, and social
  • Curricular content and practices should be
    flexible by design, easily adapted to individual
    needs and societal and institutional
  • Should reveal a comprehensive system of
  • a training model that integrates with
    high-quality assessment, professional
    development, and family connection resources to
    create a well-rounded program that addresses the
    needs of early childhood education professionals,
    children, and their families.
  • Culturally-appropriate defined curriculum content
    areas for each topic and age group (age-set),
  • teaching practices,
  • assessment tools, and

Build on childrens agency
  • If we could see children as competent
    participants in cultural communities (Rogoff,
    2003), we would see the need to organise child
    development services and research to reach
    children in their cultural contexts so that they
    and their communities could fully participate
    (Lanyasunya Lesolayia (2001).
  • A creative curriculum should combine the latest
    research and the freshest ideas into a
    forward-thinking approach to learning--one that
    honors childrens resourcefulness and innovation
    in cultural context and respects the role that
    teachers, including siblings and peer mentors,
    play in making learning exciting and relevant for
    every child in their classrooms.

Aim of the programme Target groups
  • Curricular purpose is to produce teachers who
  • Understand the early stages of a human
    development and how to stimulate/promote healthy
    child development.
  • Teach in the Early Childhood Development Sector
  • Facilitate active learning in Early Childhood
  • Manage the learning programmes in Early Childhood
  • Facilitate healthy development in ECCD programmes
  • Target groups
  • Educators/Practitioners working in the ECCD field
    with only practical experience or with inadequate
  • Teachers planning a career change or who have an
    interest in ECD.
  • Students who are interested to start a career in
  • Persons who are running or interested in starting
    a Daycare Centre.

Thank you, but lets reflect on and connect the
following to the ubiquity of child-to-child
socialization across Africa
  • Advocate Do you want to live with your mother?
  • Child No
  • Advocate Why?
  •  Child She beats me.
  • Advocate Okay, so you want to live with dad?
  • Child No
  • Advocate Why not?
  • Child He beats me too he has no time.
  • Advocate So, who do you want to live with?
  • Child My siblings and peer group
  • Advocate Why?
  • Child They are always with me and have time.
    They play with me and never beat anyone so hard!