I REFER to the report, “Towards 21st Century Learning” (StarEducate, Nov 4). As a curriculum and instruction specialist who has strived to keep abreast of changes and advances in the education arena over the years, I must say this is a move in the right direction.
The pilot project, Genosis does sound promising, judging by the list of learner attributes, which reflect the desirable learning outcomes.
However, as the cliché goes, the devil is really in the details. As rightly pointed out, the success of such a project, if it eventually goes nationwide, will hinge on a well-planned and implemented teacher education and accreditation programmes, both pre- and in-service.
How this can be achieved will require a lot of resolve and efforts on the part of all stakeholders.
For starters, we can only hope that the soon-to-be- rolled-out pilot project involves a truly representative sample of our schools attended by both the haves and have-nots in our huge student communities. With this, perhaps rigorous evaluation – both formative and summative – will produce the necessary findings to guide and ensure the scalability and adaptability, as well as long-term sustainability of this project nationwide.
The main concern of many stakeholders right now is how the implementation of Genosis will fit into the larger picture of education reform.
As a proponent of cooperative learning since the 1990s, I can only say I am glad to see that Genosis is emphasising the many learner attributes that can be cultivated through this learner-centred approach.
To facilitate school-based education programmes for teachers, especially those in service, I have co-authored a book Learning cooperative learning via cooperative learning, first published in the US; then followed by a Bahasa Melayu (BM) version here in Malaysia, and later a Chinese version in China.
Packaged with the BM version is an interactive courseware for environmental education that creates awareness in environmental issues, reinforces cooperative learning skills, and promotes higher order thinking among students. Perhaps this courseware, which was distributed to all secondary schools in Malaysia – with sponsorship – can now serve as some kind of prototype for the development of more of such learning material to help achieve the learning outcomes as outlined by Genosis.
Project-based learning advocated by Genosis is fine, and in fact, together with inquiry learning, it has purportedly been widely used in schools in Malaysia over the years. Unfortunately, without a proper group structure such as that of cooperative learning, its impact on learning outcomes has remained somewhat unclear.
In conclusion the Genosis project, like the e-textbook initiative, must be planned and implemented as an integral part of the larger framework of the education reform we are all looking forward so much to, with bated breath.
DR GAN SIOWCK LEE
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