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General Kago Primary School

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General Kago Primary School
Our school is in Thika town, Thika West Sub County, Kiambu County in central region of Kenya. Most of the learners come from the slums of Kiandutu. It is a mixed public day school. Most learners who come to our school do not have the skills necessary for proper learning. This had made learning very difficult and students often seeked help from their teacher on issues that they would have solved if they had the skills outlined in the Universal Framework. Listening, Speaking, Aiming High, Staying Positive, Creativity, Problem Solving, Leadership and Teamwork have been taught alongside the normal competence based-curriculum (CBC) by teachers. Teachers in grade 1 – 6 are trained in this competence and value based curriculum. We also involve mentors from Mount Kenya University, Faith based Organization and NGO volunteers to help the learners Stay Positive and Aim High.
Overall impact
Our learners are able to better express themselves to teachers and parents in matters related to their skills, lives and education. Parents are also more confident with the skills in conversations with the teachers. Teachers are also more confident in teaching content around the competences and using the framework to assess and see progress.
Keep it simple
We have focused the language of skills with the learners in the Competence Based Curriculum classes, where the core values and competencies are embedded in their lessons and mostly English. We have displayed the names of the skills and competences in each of the teaching rooms on talking walls, to remind the students what the focus skills are. Teachers are also reminded to use regular praise and rewarding students, to celebrate their learning of skills. During the lessons group activities and projects provided an opportune time to practice, reflect and discuss these skills.
Start early, keep going
We agreed to start with the Grade 3, 4 and 5 classes this year and it is our hope that we will also involve Grade 1 next year. Teachers are encouraged to interact with Skills Builder Hub so as to enrich their lesson, find suitable content for their learners, as well as equip them with the necessary skills. The framework allows us to have a single language to use across the school but we will continue to build teacher’s confidence to use this with learners of different ages.
Measure it
When using the essential skills, we have been measuring the learner’s ability using the rubric provided by the examiner - Kenya National Examination Council. All teachers use the rubric to assess learner’s progress in skills. Teachers use observation to see how progress has been made in day-to-day classroom activities, with teachers feeding back and reporting to learners. This helps us to plan lessons and activities for our learners.
Focus tightly
Teachers on the programme have competences and skills identified in each of their subjects and lessons. Teachers have started to use the Universal Framework to identify specific steps and areas of skills to focus on in their teaching. Teachers have found the ‘Teach It’ section of the guidance particularly useful. They can plan this from their assessments that they complete in class.
Keep practising
All essential skills learnt are put in practice in activities in the classroom and outside the curriculum; for example, Leadership during school projects and Teamwork in group activities in class where they are supposed to work in a coordinated manner. Due to the CBC, teachers are constantly considering how skills and competences can be used in different parts of the curriculum. Also, indoor and outdoor activities that we run, like games, also allow learners to put in practice the skills they have learnt.
Bring it to life
The school’s Scouting programme has been taking place where students are using skills to take part in activities. This has let us pilot focusing on the skills in a particular programme and activity - which went well and had a very positive outcome for the learners.
What's next
Next year, we would like to recruit more teachers onto the Skills Builder programme. We would also like to introduce the skills passport system so as to motivate the learners and introduce focused time for learners to engage with resources on the Hub.