For the last four years, the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) has been developing a new improved national primary curriculum along with new teaching and learning materials for primary students and teachers. The implementation of the new curriculum will be progressive with one new grade per year. The Grade 1 materials are now finalised and being printed for the start of the 2019-2020 school year, while the Grade 2 materials are in the stage of revision.
All teaching and learning materials for the future Grade 2 curriculum were tested in twenty-five pilot schools in Luang Namtha, Savannakhet, Saravan and Vientiane Capital during the 2017-18 school year. The districts and schools for the pilot were selected carefully to reflect the social, economic and linguistically diverse nature of schools across the country. RIES curriculum writers in teams with district and provincially based MoES
staff made regular monitoring visits to the pilot schools . The feedback from the Grade 2 teachers and data collected during the monitoring visits was used to inform the revision of Grade 2 curriculum and materials. The latest draft Grade 2 textbooks and teacher guides now contain more relevant information and practical guidance on how to promote active learning; scripted lessons with rubrics to support assessment were included as well as guidance on how to do assessment. The student textbooks were also redesigned to align with the scripted lesson.
This month, the RIES team with the BEQUAL advisors shared samples of the new draft materials and collected a last round of feedback from the Grade 2 teachers and district and province educational staff. Specific units of the draft Grade 2 textbooks and teacher guides for each subject were discussed and analysed in terms of their content and their practicality. Participants in each province tried out activities from the teacher guides in small working groups of three to six people.
Teachers, District and Province education staff agreed that the new teacher guides and materials represented a significant improvement on current materials which has the potential to improve both quality of teachers lessons and children’s learning. Overall, activities were seen as being relevant and practical to use in classrooms with clear guidance teachers would be able to follow. Teachers’ feedback during the consultation also suggested a number of points for minor improvements such as clearer instructions in specific lessons, or materials sometimes being too long for time available in the lesson. As intended, the teacher consultation has provided encouraging and thoughtful feedback which RIES can now use to guide final revisions of current Grade 2 lessons and design of future lessons.
The introduction of the new improved curriculum in all primary schools will commence in September 2019 with Grade 1 and will make an important contribution to improving the learning outcomes for children and increase their skills and knowledge for future study and work.