While the delivery of the new Grade 1 textbooks is underway, the curriculum writers are continuing to develop the curriculum for the next four primary grades. The Research Institute for Educational Sciences in collaboration with the BEQUAL technical advisers has recently reviewed the contents, scientific skills, and designed textbooks and teacher guides mapping Science and Environment for continuity in the content across Grades 1-5.

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Primary curriculum mapping is very important because it encourages writers to focus on continuity in the content across the different subjects and the different grades. It aims to align subject content across the academic year so that teachers in monograde or multigrade classrooms can teach topics in a logical manner ensuring systematic progressions and improvement in student skills.

During the workshop, the writers developed a logical sequence of scientific skills across Grades 2-5 so curriculum writers have a map of which scientific skills and knowledges that can be taught together, which ones come first (earlier grades) and which ones later (higher grades). This is particularly useful to support teachers to more effectively deliver multigrade science lessons.

Science skills were also matched to the maths curriculum to ensure they support each other, reinforcing similar skills at the same time.

The curriculum writers also discussed the change in teaching and learning practice in the new primary curriculum and its consequences for the Science and Environment curriculum in each grade. The new pedagogical approach is based on active learning and its implications for teaching scientific skills such as increasingly complex classification, prediction or experimentation skills. The students will learn through hands-on experience with science and environment activities to put their new knowledge into practice.

The curriculum writers were very interested and engaged

asking relevant questions and willing to argue for alternative interpretations. It was agreed that despite the science skills being complicated they were necessary if the Lao Science and Environment curriculum was to be comparable to other ASEAN countries.

The result of this workshop is that the Teachers Guides for Science and Environment will now include a much greater emphasis on scientific skills, and materials writers now have a very clear map of curriculum content showing clear progression between each grade. This will enhance quality of the science teaching and learning in all classrooms across the country, including specifically where multigrade is generally more prevalent.