CAMPAIGN AGAINST PEN-PAPER LESSON NOTES
The question of writing lesson notes using the age-long method of a huge and heavy notebook with a blue pen for hours keeps agitating my mind since the inception of the new curriculum. The form and nature of the new curriculum seem to do away with the pen and paper mode of lesson notes, in that it provides for a system that generates lesson plans for teachers to cover each academic year. What teachers are expected to do is to print the lesson plans out to be used as a guide in lesson delivery. That is why the curriculum is called STANDARD-BASED CURRICULUM. It is standardized in content, teaching methodology, and assessment, though the details of the content may be researched online or captured in recommended textbooks.
Meanwhile, the answer to the related question of whether teachers are expected to print the lesson plan online and then copy it into their lesson notebooks for onward submission to head teachers for vetting, is not far fetched. Captured in the same new curriculum, whether SBC or CCP, is the competency of Digital Literacy to be imbibed in the learners by the teachers in line with international best practices. It is one of the reasons why ICT is to be used as a pedagogical tool; thanks to the new curriculum. So it would be akin to speaking with two voices, if one preaches Digital literacy on the part of pupils and practice “Analogy literacy”(coping downloaded lesson plan into note lesson notebooks) on the part of teachers, the implemters(imbibers) of the digital literacy.
Again, if efficiency is the use of minimum input to achieve maximum output, then I honestly think the paper and pen approach to lesson planning has outlived its usefulness. Every rational entrepreneur or manager would prefer to use an alternative that would produce optimum output so long as its essence is not lost. The bottom line is that, the new system of downloading and printing lesson plans online is superior to the old system when viewed from the binoculars of efficiency. This is so because, it would free up time and energy which would be devoted to research on content, assemblage of TLMs, and lesson delivery.
Essentialism, according to Plato, is the underlying assumption that belie the external manifestation of things(process, occurencies, systems). In the light of this, It would be instructive to note that, if the essence of the paper and pen approach to lesson planning is basically to organize and codify the content, methodology, TLMs, mode of assessment to be used in lesson delivery inter alia, then downloading and printing out a NaCCA provided lesson plan, and submitting same for vetting is not a misnomer.
Also, the technological wind blowing across the globe, and even nationally (iports,icourt,ebanking system, momo, zoom,etc) should be a clarion call to all managers, including GES, to update their analogue systems into digital in order to rhyme with the times. This will not only remove the spectacle of leaving old/new lesson notebooks at the mercy of rats and rodents in head teachers’ offices and its attendant effect on record keeping; depleting our forest reserves in order to produce lesson notebooks and its rippling effects on climate change and global warming, but also cushion us from the devastating effects of periods of pandemics.
Similarly, if Covid 19 has really taught us any lesson, then it is to be innovative, for necessity is the mother of inventions. If some of these innovations were to be embraced earlier, GES would not have faced much challenge with educating students during Covid.Teachers would have planned their lessons at home, forwarded same through online systems to be vetted and proceeded to engage their students using video conferencing systems. I guess you have seen how useless the lesson notebooks of teachers became during Covid.
In conclusion, we cannot afford to be mimicking the “witches dance” of one step forward and one step backward, if we are to make a real breakthrough with systemic reforms in our country, especially within GES.