“If you don’t have a good teacher with a deep knowledge of the topic, strong pedagogy skills and efficient teaching techniques, you will not achieve successful learning outcomes for the primary students” said Ajan Keth Phanhlack, Director General of Department of Teacher Education (DTE). Indeed, research from around the world confirms that the quality of a teacher has a direct impact on student learning outcomes.
In September 2019, a new primary curriculum was implemented in all Grade 1 classes. However, to improve the learning outcomes of the Lao children, the Ministry of Education and Sports has taken action by improving the quality and relevance of the pre-service curriculum through which the next generation of teachers is trained. Since 2017, the DTE and the Teacher Development Center (TDC), with the support of the Australian Government and the European Union, through the BEQUAL program, have been revising the pre-service curriculum, in alignment with the new national primary curriculum. In September 2019, the teacher-trainees of the 12+2 program
The new pre-service curriculum is composed of nine primary education subjects, and eight subjects specifically related to the teaching profession, including school experience and practicum. Subjects have been regrouped to align with the new primary curriculum, for example “Chemistry”, “Biology” and “Physics” are now under “Science and Environment”. Extra subjects have been added like “Primary Curriculum Overview” and “Lao to non-Lao speakers”; and special focus has been given to “Inclusive Education”. The main change is that the primary school subjects are now taught in an integrated way. Each subject contains information on the subject itself, information on the new primary curriculum and curriculum goals for this subject, and information on how children learn. There is a strong focus on pedagogical content knowledge: not only on ‘what to teach’, but also ‘how to teach it’. With the changes in the curriculum, including the subject content and pedagogy, the approach and methodology for assessing teacher trainees’ learning outcomes
summative assessment, including exams, essay writing, presentations and portfolio. Each curriculum subject team will then work to identify the most relevant types of summative assessment for their content area and will develop appropriate assessment that best measures the learning outcomes for their subject.
At the end of the workshop, the draft of Semester 1 – Year 1 assessment for each subject will be ready for Year 1 students across the 8 TTC to sit for those exams in January 2020.