Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cultural note-moving on spiral!

Ruslana wrote:
“In Ukraine we have the national curriculum where the topics for studying are presented. There are about ten topics, which are the same in each grade only with some differences in the level of English. Here are some topics: I, my family and my friend; Clothes, food and drinks, Pastime, Nature, Travelling, Holidays, School life, Ukraine, English-speaking country. We study like– every year review the known information and add some new vocabulary and grammar. At the end of each grade we have the explanation – what should our students able to do after the each grade. The Ministry of education also makes us to use certain books by the Ukrainian authors.”
I replied:

Ruslana-Do you that mean teachers are re-cycling the same topics from grade 1-11? Do you have any opportunity to add additional topics to what is already available?
In Sudan, we have a centralized system from pre-school -high school.  The Ministry of Education also makes us use one book by Sudanese educators and teachers and it’s a disaster, with lots of typing and spelling mistakes and without any previous teacher training to how to deal with a completely new approach of teaching. This only applies to state schools. In private schools (we have dozens), each school chooses its syllabus. They usually follow the British system, not the American one. Do you believe that a hell of money is paid to such schools? One day, this same syllabus was our national curriculum, but this was a long time ago. We used to be the only Arab country that graduates highly competent and qualified English language teachers. (Sigh!). Like the US (imaginatively stating) we do not have a unified national curriculum at the tertiary level. The objectives are set, but each university or college implements what’s suitable according to its students’ needs. English at the tertiary level is taught as one of the “University Requirements” subjects, together with Arabic and Islamic studies. Although we, teaches, have freedom in choosing/compiling material for our classrooms, it results in a complete failure to raise the standard. This is another story for another discussion thread.



  1. Hello, Hala!

    Now I understand why did you ask for permission to use my post from nicenet...

    Two last days I was at the seminar of British Council and I've met with one of the author of our national curriculum. And he said, that he is ashamed that he was in the group of creators of it. But from the other side he has the right to criticize it.
    Our national curriculum is a mix of curriculum, syllabus and state standard. But it has some real advantage of the prevoius one, such as it was build according to the Common European language framework, and based on Can/Do statement.

    Thank you,
    Ruslana Shamanska,

  2. Thanks Ruslana for the constant sharing. We are leavening from each other, and about each others' teaching context.