TOPIC: Designing a learning programme for Natural Science in the Senior Phase (Grade 7-9)
A learning programme is defined as the structured and systematic arrangement of activities that encourage the
attainment of learning outcomes and assessment standards for the phase, to ensure that the teaching, learning
and assessment programme is coherent (Booyse C and Du Plessis E, 2010).
The above definition of a learning programme shows that the planning and implementation of a learning
programme should be a collective effort of all educators in a phase, sharing a learning area / subject. This is to
say, the educators must be clear with what to teach and assess at each grade within a phase. In so doing the
assessment standards are clearly defined and state.
Moreover, this collective effort of educators is not restricted to one learning area / subject educators, but
educators from other learning areas / subjects should be involved. This is to ensure that integration across the
curriculum is achieved and prevents repetitions of content in lesson presentations.
In spite of phase educators being involved in the planning, a whole school development plan should also be
effected. Whole school development planning is defined as a process whereby all the stakeholders in the school
consider all the activities and interests of the school and then decide on the goals for their school (Booyse C
and Du Plessis E, 2010)
So in light of the above definition, learning programme planning will include all the stakeholders (people /
organizations) that are relevant to the school function because curriculum is of prime importance to the school
well being. Actually curriculum is the core business f the school.
Through the whole school development, and curriculum as one of the facets of development, a situation analysis
(SWOT) to determine curricular Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats is then carried out. For
example a SWOT analysis of our school is as below;
Positive attitude to learning shown by learners.
Trained and qualified educators.
Supportive S.G. B
- Most learners experience a language barrier, since English is LOLT but not their first language. THREATS
Staff exodus especially in Science / Mathematics due to nearby mines and power stations offering research jobs with higher salaries.
Local mining company to donate library and science laboratory equipment.
From this SWOT analysis we can then determine the weakness of the curriculum that must be addressed in our
proposed learning programme plan, moreover, the opportunities highlighted in the analysis give extra room for
optimal planning, implementation and effectiveness of the proposed learning programme. For example, a local
mining company has pledged to donate material to fully equip the science laboratories as well as the library.
This is an opportunity that will support the planned curriculum as learners will be afforded maximum
opportunity to acquire knowledge, skills and values. This addresses one of the outcomes based curriculum
principles, Expanded Opportunity.
After a SWOT analysis, the principles of the RNSC (NCS) are also considered. These are the pillars of
outcomes based education. These principles are
Clarity of focus
When we do the planning, we should ensure that there is sufficient emphasis on these principles. These are the
core principle which facilitates the teaching and learning process.
Having observed and considered the principles of the NCS we should also consider factors like; (1)
Time frames for all teaching, learning and assessment.
Learning outcome and assessment standards across the phase and how they are to be sequenced. (3)
Core knowledge and concepts that will be used to attaining the learning outcomes...
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