What should Education do to the learner? Answering the question in view of the curriculum planning and implementation.
Mkandawire, Benson (2010). What should Education do to the Learner. Seminar Paper at the University of Zambia in Lusaka.
Education planning and curriculum designs should perceive education as a tool for preparing the learner to realize that their development cannot be facilitated or done by someone else but themselves; that rather than wait for government or guardians to decide on their behalf what they need, learners should insist in being involved in the affairs of the society that apply or affect them including the decision making processes for necessary redress of issues concerning their community welfare and their lives. This is because “Education is a deliberate attempt to acquire and transmit the accumulated worth-while skills, attitude, knowledge and understanding from one human generation to the next. It includes all activities which are worth-while and can be taught or learned through a variety of meaningful ways.” Mbiti (1981).
Education in planning and curriculum should be oriented towards raising critical consciousness in the learner so that they can develop the ability to perceive social, political, and economic oppression with a critical mind and to take action against the oppressive elements of society.
“If we talk about education, we have to talk about how to enhance our children’s mastery over the tools needed to live intelligent, creative, and with an impetus for learning throughout life”, Danny Glover. “The central task of education is to implant a will and facility for learning; it should produce not learned but learning people. The truly human society is a learning society, where grandparents, parents and children are students together.” Eric Hoffer.
Education should prepare the learner for the rest of his or her life. “Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence. My bursting heart must find vent at my pen.” Abigail Adams.
Educational planning and curriculum designs should aim at humanizing the learner so that they become more fully humans with the inner self and the society. “The new education must be less concerned with sophistication than compassion. It must recognize the hazards of tribalism. It must teach man the most difficult lesson of all times—to look at someone anywhere in the world and be able to see the image of himself. The old emphasis upon superficial differences that separate peoples must give way to education for citizenship in the human community. With such an education and with such self-understanding, it is possible that some nation or people may come forward with the vital inspiration that men need no less than food. Leadership on this higher level does not require mountains of gold or thundering propaganda. It is concerned with human destiny. Human destiny is the issue. People will respond.” Norman Cousins.
Planning is to arrange before hand and implementation is to put into effect (English Dictionary, 2006). This is the arrangement of what is to be taught and learned in class. Most studies has shown that curriculum development process in practice has seven main stages, planning takes the third position and implementation is on number six. The first educational document to be prepared is the curriculum framework, and it is done at national level and the implementation part is carried out in class during teaching and learning experiences by the teachers and the learners who have absolutely no idea of what is involved in the document as they are not normally involved in the planning. Ideally curriculum should contain content and objectives from the curriculum. The syllabus is drawn from the curriculum which contains teaching information. Thereafter a scheme of work is extracted from which a lesson plan stating the actual material to be taught as the final step. Farrant (1980) says, “The curriculum contains what the teacher requires to teach.” It is therefore the duty of the teacher to familiarize him or herself with the curriculum. The teaching process is to implement what is planned in order to measure the learning outcomes.
For education and curriculum to be practical and meaningful, it has to reflect the needs of both the society and the learner for whom it is intended. For example, children with special education needs, requires the curriculum which is modified to suit his or her needs. It is for this reason, that the application of the curriculum foundations is important (Wheeler 1969).
After education, the learner is expected to display what the society believes learner’s should be exposed to, as part of their learning, to become effective members of any given society. After education, learners should be expected to think effectively to a given situation or task, to communicate fluently within and outside learner’s country, that is other places around the world. Make sound judgments that are worth-while. To acquire appropriate skills that will sustain a learner for future life.
The decision on what education should do to the learner mainly lies in the hands of the curriculum planners and implementers to design and put into practice the curriculum that will be of relevance and social utility to the society or encourage a process of formative and informative learning simultaneosely. The continuous learning process in both theories and practical subjects will enable the learner develop holistically (Kelly 1999). This suggests that there is need to modify the curriculum so that consideration is given to continuous learning until the learner is ready to stand on his or her own.
For education to be meaningful to the learner, Curriculum planners (the ideal) should avoid too much of the theoretical work, but encourage the practical components with the planning and the implementation. This will enable development of skills for future life of the learner.
Farrant, J. S.(1980), Principles and Practice of Education. United Kingdom: Longman Group Ltd
Kelly, M.J. (1999), Origins and Development of Education in Zambia Since 1800. Lusaka: Images Publishers.
Mbiti, D. M. (1981), An Introduction to Education, Nairobi: Oxford University Press
Webster’s Universal (2006), English Dictionary, Gelders and Grasset, David Dale house, new Lanaric. Scotland.
Wheeler, D.K (1967), Curriculum Process. London: University of London Press.