There is a need to break the teacher-centred methodology of instruction to enable learners take a lead role in the learning process.
The call was made by Dr Michael Rwibasira, the head of the Department of Examination and Accreditation, Ministry of Education, at a recent conference in Kigali. Themed ‘Play for the Advancement of Quality Education Project’, the conference was organised by Right to Play in conjunction with Ministry of Education.
He said in the old curriculum, teachers practically ‘did everything’ and the students had very little participation in the learning process, a problem the new competency-based curriculum seeks to fix.
Rwibasira urged teachers to always use the play-based learning methodology in classrooms, which he said is one of the key components of the curriculum model introduced in schools in 2014.
“Teachers are obliged to apply play-based learning techniques to make the learning process smoother and attractive to students. Teachers should always strive to be role models and guides by showing students kindness and love in the learning process,” he said.
Rwibasira noted that play-based learning can be used to address barriers to education like teenage pregnancies, child labour, drop-outs, and gender-based violence, among others.
Prof Wencelas Nzabarirwa, a senior lecturer at University of Rwanda’s College of Education, said the modern teaching style should be an enjoyable and pleasurable activity. He noted that play-based learning reduces frustration and encourages active participation of students in the learning process.
“There is a need for a paradigm shift so that teachers embrace modern methodologies of teaching rather than clinging on the traditional ways of instruction where the learning process was more forceful rather than being lenient which resulted into drop-outs,” he said.
For Valens Ndayahoze, the programme manager at Right to Play, a global organization that advocates the transformative power of play in education, there are some challenges that the Government has to address for better implementation of the play-based learning methodologies.
“Over-crowded classrooms are one of the challenges hindering quality participation of children in play-based lessons. Some teachers are also not skilled enough to implement the new approaches, which compromises its uptake,” he said.
Ndayahoze said one way to overcome these challenges is through in-service teacher trainings on the delivery of the new competency-based curriculum and provision of adequate play-based teaching/learning materials.
Nirere Olive, a teacher at École Primaire Kamuhooza, Kimisagara, also concurs that the main challenge they meet while using play-based learning methodologies is congested classrooms that does not allow teachers to bring the necessary equipment in classrooms.