How might schools adopt the NEP to curate effective curriculum

Jul 12, 2022 | Blog, Early Years, New Age Education

The NEP 2020 provides schools with wonderful guidelines for improving school curricula.

Here are 4 ways in which schools might use these guidelines to upgrade curriculum and learning.

1. Including Essential Curriculum Content

The NEP 2020 gives schools guidelines related to the important disciplinary content that should be included in school curriculum. Here are some related points from the NEP 2020:

  • Fundamental principle #8 ethics and human & Constitutional values like empathy, respect for others, cleanliness, courtesy, democratic spirit, spirit of service, respect for public property, scientific temper, liberty, responsibility, pluralism, equality, and justice;
  • Fundamental principle #5 multidisciplinary and a holistic education across the sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, and sports for a multidisciplinary world in order to ensure the unity and integrity of all knowledge;
  • Fundamental principle #13 respect for diversity and respect for the local context in all curriculum, pedagogy, and policy, always keeping in mind that education is a concurrent subject;

Schools should reflect on their existing curricula to evaluate how many of these are being included intentionally. Is my curriculum balanced or heavily focused on just the sciences?  Do my students get physical activity and exposure to different arts? Is my social studies curriculum just a textbook of facts and rote information or does it build constitutional and human values?

If Schools identify gaps, they must look for and incorporate curricular resources i.e. curricular texts and programs into the school curriculum. In addition to this it is important for School leaders to allocate time in the day for implementation.

2. Focusing on Strong Foundational Programs for Literacy

The NEP 2020 has stated clearly that foundational Literacy and Numeracy in early years should be the highest priority for all students.

Here is a related point from the NEP 2020:

Fundamental principle #2 according the highest priority to achieving Foundational Literacy and Numeracy by all students by Grade 3

Poor Early basic literacy can result in a ‘Mathew effect’ i.e. it cascades into a wider gap in academic achievement with every year that passes by.

Schools can work towards this goal by taking the following steps:

  • Ensuring that literacy and numeracy programs are research-informed. Strong phonics and reading programs can make a big difference. If children are not getting proper instruction in the English and math classes, too many students will not be developing essential skills.
  • Putting in place an early basic literacy and numeracy assessment system for all students from KG to Grade 4, so that schools can proactively identify and support students who might be lagging behind in these essential skills. Proactive support means that school support before the student reaches a point of failure. The interventions provided to students who need extra support should also be research informed. This ensures that time is used well and practices are most effective.

3. Focusing on relevant 21st Century skills and processes

Apart from Curriculum content, the NEP 2020 also provides guidelines that should influence the ‘enacted curriculum’ or how the curriculum is implemented in classrooms. Students need to have learning experiences that build important 21st Century skills.

Here are some related points from the NEP 2020:

  • Fundamental principle #6 emphasis on conceptual understanding rather than rote learning and learning-for-exams;
  • Fundamental principle #7 creativity and critical thinking to encourage logical decision-making and innovation;
  • Fundamental principle #14 focus on regular formative assessment for learning rather than the summative assessment that encourages today’s ‘coaching culture ’
  • Schools can build these skills by introducing classroom practices like structured group work and project based learning. These pedagogical approaches help students engage actively with their learning and there promote better understanding, critical thinking and creativity.
  • Formative assessment i.e. ongoing reflection and feedback for improvement is central to these processes and can only be achieved if schools emphasise this as the main purpose of assessment instead of ranks and grades.

Furthermore, students need relevant tools and resources to build these 21st century skills.

Here is a related point from the NEP 2020:

#13 extensive use of technology in teaching and learning

Without use of technology how can we build 21st Century digital literacy skills? How can we build relevant coding skills, design skills, research skills, computational thinking without access to technology? Schools must look for innovative ways to increase the access to and use of technology for learning.

4. Taking a Systems approach to curriculum improvement

Finally, a curriculum can only be impactful if it is supported by other essential pieces in the system like teacher development and continuous improvement. If curriculum changes are done in isolation, it will have very limited impact.

Here are some related points from the NEP 2020:

#12 Teachers and faculty as the heart of the learning process – their recruitment, continuous professional development, positive working environments and service conditions;

#18 continuous review of progress based on sustained research and regular assessment by educational experts

Research has shown that teachers have the greatest impact on student learning. If we wish to implement these very important upgrades to the curriculum successfully, we need capable teachers. Teacher professional development is therefore an essential support that must be planned for. This includes helping teachers build the mindsets, knowledge and skills needed. Teacher professional development should also not just be theoretical in the form of workshops. It should include practical learning in the teacher’s context. This can be achieved through teacher professional learning communities, classroom observations and feedback.

And ultimately, ‘Continuous improvement’ ensures that the wheels of progress keep turning in the school system. The world is evolving at a faster pace than ever before, and therefore curriculum and school practices need to do the same. Schools can continuously improve using improvement science i.e. cycles of planning; implementing the plan; reflecting on that implementation data; and making necessary iterations to improve based on that.

 

This blog appeared as an article in Brainfeed – Higher Education Plus dated 21st June 2022

Brainfeed – Higher Education Plus – https://highereducationplus.com/how-might-schools-adopt-the-nep-to-curate-effective-curriculum/

Brainfeed Magazine – https://brainfeedmagazine.com/how-might-schools-adopt-the-nep-to-curate-effective-curriculum/

(This article is written by Radhika Zahedi, School Director,of The Green Acres Academy Brainfeed – Higher Education Plus here.)

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