Introduction to curriculum writing 

A Curriculum defines the main educational policy guidelines, establishes the general principles behind the development of the state standards for Junior Secondary TTC as well as the main requirements specified for learners and teachers.  

The main functions of this Curriculum are:

To ensure uniform policy throughout all TTC in Sierra Leone

To ensure continuing  improvement  in the quality of education provided

To regulate the relationships between central and local self-government authorities,  educational institutions, society and individuals in the system

To ensure the conformity of the education system with the objectives established by the state and society, the needs of individuals and internationally recognized standards

To ensure the sustainability of the main educational projects implemented;

To establish a foundation for the development and implementation of professional educational programs in TTC

Competencies are built in the course of learning process, not only in educational institution, but also under influence of family, friends, work, politics, religion, culture, etc. In this regard, realization of competency-based approach is dependent upon educational and cultural situation in which a student lives and develops.

Competency is capability of an individual for active, responsible life action performed on the basis of individual’s value system, ability to actively interact with the environment, to understand and change oneself and environment during this interaction.

The curriculum framework:

The curriculum is written down in a framework of five columns;

In competency-based education students’ acquisition of specific competencies is the focus. Such an educational program includes a set of learning objectives that are clearly specified so that their accomplishment can be understood in the form of specific learner behaviors and knowledge.

This idea was first introduced in America in the late 1960’s in teacher education programs, and was later adapted for other professional educational, and vocational training programs in UK and Germany.

The Essential Learning Continuum (ELC) is a listing of competencies, which serves as a guide to determine what to teach and measure among the learners.

Competency was defined in this way ‘the acquired knowledge, ability and viewpoint when those could be applied in real life at the right time.

These competencies are based on the age, physical capability and psychological maturity of the learners, on changes happening in our society, demands for the future, existing physical facilities in schools, and on the preparation of teachers at the school level.

Column Content

In the column content you find “what” the teacher has to teach in every grade and what the learner need to know and to apply at the end of a lesson, at the end of a term or at the end of the school year.

Column Activities and method

Many students have real difficulties with understanding mathematical concepts, particularly those relating to Algebra, as they cannot readily transform symbols into numbers. They also have difficulties relating these abstract concepts to real-life concrete examples.To overcome these difficulties teachers should start each topic with some concrete real-life examples that students can relate to their experiences. Then by demonstrating how these experiences can be described or explained using abstract mathematical concepts the students will be better able to see the connection between their experiences and the mathematics they are learning.  Students should be set problems both in symbolic and word form to strengthen their abilities in utilizing these concepts.

Frequent use should be made of word problems rather than numerical problems as word problems relate more closely to real life experiences. The use of concrete real-life examples in these word problems will make learning more stimulating and interesting for the students and will increase their basic skills in learning.

Learning activities should be geared towards activating students’ critical thinking skills and not be confined to routine problem solving and learning concepts and theorems by rote learning.

The selection of teaching strategies and methods:

In the process of education, each teacher and school is free to select any educational technology and teaching/learning methodologies that will achieve the educational outputs specified by the subject standards. In order to meet curriculum requirements each school and teacher shall try to ensure:   

A physical environment and an atmosphere that will enhance learning efficiency;

An integration of learning and teaching aimed at the development of the required knowledge and the formation of the specified abilities, skills and the system of values;

An individual approach in order to ensure the maximum education achievement according to the learner’s abilities;

The active participation of every learner in the learning processes;

The introduction of new educational requirements according to the growth of the learner’s abilities and the consideration of the learner’s personal characteristics as part of the process of learning and teaching; 

The identification of cross-subject links wherever relevant and practical;

The continuous assessment of the learner and the learning process. 

When organizing the learning and teaching process, it is important to take into account the following basic principles:

Each learner is able to learn if they are provided with effective learning experiences, which are educationally and psychologically appropriate 

Schoolchildren differ from one another not by fundamental differences in their abilities to cope with educational programs and requirements, but by their way of thinking, psychological features, and by linguistic perceptions and receptiveness.

Positive attitudes towards learning are contingent on the content of the learning materials, as well as successful progress in the effective use and mastery of the materials. 

Child centered teaching and integration

Many curriculum areas are associated with one another within a single topic. E.g. the topic “Our school” can link mathematics, literacy, geography, history, art, life skills...

Organizing small projects will provide learners plenty of opportunities to learn from experiences. In the context of the project, learners will work together, do research, learn how to plan their activities and present their findings. Learners will gain autonomy and become responsible of their learning. For effective teaching/learning mathematics it is better to put students in small groups. During group work, sitting next to each other, by trial and error, discussing, giving and receiving feedback, students will learn. Bright students will support the slow students. Students will develop social skills, they will learn to care for each other and to take initiatives and to finish a given task.

This Module will not give a description of “the most effective way to teach mathematics”. It will give several examples of activities to involve the students in their learning process. Mathematics can not be taught, Mathematics should be discovered!

Successful learners not only have a lot of knowledge; they also know how to learn. How teaching children to learn? Research shows that there is no simple answer, no one magic formula. Success comes from the chemistry of all small positive things. A powerful learning environment where learners are encouraged to think, to question, discuss and map their ideas, to be creative, to work with others, to review and assess their progress and achievements.

Not all learners have the same ‘abilities’ and ‘intelligences’. Some students are very good in sport, some like to do math and other like to write poems. Some students like to work individually and some are more successful when working in a small group. To give all students equal chances to be successful, the teacher needs to organize a wide variety of activities.

We compare learners’ centered methodology and teacher centered methodology to understand the main characteristics of LCM:







To meet learners’ needs to know, to do and to be

To establish teacher as expert



To improve competencies of learners

To cover the curriculum; to present content


Role of teacher

Facilitator; coach

Source of information; lecturer



Active participation of learners in learning process


Passive learners; absorb information

How feedback is obtained

Opportunities to apply knowledge/skills through challenging activities


Asking learners if they have questions about what teacher has said

Purpose of feedback

To see if learners can apply what they learned

To see if they need more practice or remedial instruction

To see if learners understand the information

To test their retention


Learners directly involved in learning

Get opportunities to apply learning

Greater satisfaction with learning experience

Increased understanding and retention

Addresses different learning styles

Two-way communication

Efficient – more knowledge presented in short period of time


As we move from Teacher Centered Methodology to Learners’ Centered Methodology, the role of the teacher will no longer be the same. In TCM, the teacher should be essentially ‘an expert of knowledge’.

Applying LCM, the role of a teacher is wider; he/she should not only transfer knowledge but also guide the learning and development processes of the students.

The teacher should be 

a team player

a partner of parents and community

a subject expert

a participant at cultural events

an innovator

an educator

a member of the school community

a coach for learning and developmental processes

an organizer

a researcher

Column assessment and evaluation:

Assessment measures the compliance of learners and schools with subject standards and curricula objectives.The main goal of assessment is the monitoring of the level of learners' knowledge, abilities and skills, the testing of the individual and, on the basis of the results, the improvement of the learning process and the progress of the individual.Assessment should also contribute to the self-understanding and self-development of all learners. The need for reform of the existing assessment system can be explained by the need to resolve current assessment problems. These are: 

1.             Current assessment is mostly concerned with testing factual memorization and does not contribute to the development of the cognitive and applied abilities and skills of the learners; 

2.             The current assessment system is not transparent and does not fully identify real learning results; nor does it reflect the real  progress of every learner and the real performance of each school  

3.             When assessing teaching and educational performance in schools the current system takes no account of variations in the conditions and circumstances of individual schools. There are no average uniform criteria established for school assessment; 

The development and application of a new system of learners assessment must be carried out as part of the introduction of new subject standards and syllabuses. The new assessment system will be based on the principles of fairness, objectivity, reliability, unbiased attitudes, validity, justification, accessibility and transparency, and must ensure accurate correlation with internationally accepted assessment criteria. The main functions of assessment are as follows:

1.                  To assess the learner’s learning performance and progress, to provide for the development of self-education and self-assessment, and the transition from one stage of education to another, and thus to maintain the continuity of educational provision;

2.                  To  measure the degree of compliance with specified learning objectives and the mastery of learning material;

3.                  To  measure the efficiency of school performance and the development of teacher-learner interactions;

4.                  To ascertain the level of content and the extent of the individual work carried out with and by the learner;  

5.                  To contribute to the formation of individual qualities and the behavior of the learners, and to ensure self-understanding;

6.                  To improve the training of  teachers and their constant professional growth;

7.                  To  provide the feedback needed for the improvement of  standards, syllabuses, text-books,  other learning materials, and  teaching and learning methodologies;

8.                  To clarify the general directions of education reform, to update  educational content and to ensure the compliance of the Armenian educational system with internationally accepted criteria of educational performance;

9.                  To certify the results of the learners’ learning performance; 

10.              To establish and strengthen the confidence of parents, the community and the general public in the performance of schools and the quality of the education system. 

Textbooks will play a prime role in classroom teaching. Besides the textbook the teacher should make use of charts, posters, models and real life examples to stimulate learning particularly as many students have difficulty translating and using mathematical symbols such as those used in algebra. Teachers will have to use their initiative in providing these materials

How to use the Teaching-Learning Materials

1.            Look through the activities until you find one that looks interesting.

2.            Read the activity and try to understand how it would function.

3.            Plan to teach such a lesson along the lines of the activity.

4.            Note the purpose of the activity – the Learning Outcomes.

5.            Note the student involvement as given in the student worksheet.

6.            Try out the activity in your classroom.

7.            After the lesson, make notes on the lesson and perhaps suggest modifications to the activity.

8.            Look for another interesting activity. OR try creating an activity of your own.


Peter Merckx,
9 Jan 2010, 00:25
Peter Merckx,
9 Jan 2010, 00:32
Peter Merckx,
9 Jan 2010, 00:26
Peter Merckx,
9 Jan 2010, 00:32
Peter Merckx,
9 Jan 2010, 00:33
Peter Merckx,
9 Jan 2010, 00:33