Nauru Curriculum Footpath

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Nauru Curriculum Description

 In a nutshell

Nauru, a very small but forward thinking nation in the Pacific Ocean have adopted a Rich Task style curriculum.  This curriculum enables  Nauru to deliver a world class curriculum  through the Nauruan Pedagogical framework and its assessment and moderation system.

Without expensive text books and without adopting the colonial outdated systems of the west, Nauru uses Nauruan cultural knowledge, local knowledge and expertise,  a strong student-centred pedagogy and practical locally written rich tasks as a way of describing and implementing its curriculum framework.

The Nauru curriculum  is unique in that it’s rich task spans 16 years of schooling along with specialist tasks in ICT. There are more than 80 rich tasks developed by Nauruan teachers for Nauruan children. The Nauru Curriculum Footpath is the policy document steering the shape of Nauru Education including its Rich Task Curriculum.

The tasks address the country’s cultural, social, economic and health needs. The project  included supporting teachers to change to a productive pedagogy framework, assisting teachers to learn how to write rich tasks and assisting Nauruan educational leadership to manage and develop a strong Assessment Moderation System to develop and maintain standards for student work.

Digital Learning Futures assisted Nauru in this process for over 4 years as consultants and mentors.

Some sample tasks are included on this web site in public areas. All tasks are avialble from the web site with permission from the Department of Education Nauru through Digital Learning Futures.

Key ideas

The Nauruan Curriculum Footpath is a policy document providing Government support to the philosphy of the curriculum including professional learning and monitoring of standards.

The Footpath describes Four  Pathways for learners in Nauru: Personal Pathways, Communication Pathways,  Community Pathways, and Environments and Technology Pathways. This set of pathways guarantees that each learner will have a balanced high quality curriculum experience.  The suite of tasks must address the breadth of curriculum described in these pathways.

Rich tasks are practical projects where students do a variety of learning experiences before using their knowledge to produce products for an authentic audience. The richness of the task stands task-based learning apart from “projects” and exam-based education approaches. A key idea is that students will reach higher standards if they have a real authentic audience for the products of their learning. Students can not demonstrate ‘deep learning” and “deep understandings” necessary for a contemporary worlds from exam-centred assessment systems.

Rich tasks are the assessment devices which allow teachers and their communities to judge the standards of student products arising from their learning experiences.  The products of the tasks put education on display to the community, giving the community confidence in the education system and hope for their young people.

A moderation system where teachers compare student work and agree on the standards, enables teachers to assist students to reach high standards and for parents to be confident there is consistency of standards across schools and between classes. This is a far deeper and more robust process than “marking” student work. Teachers are encouraged to read student work for meaning and to identify the depth of understanding illustrated by a student.

The Nauruan Pedagogy Framework is based loosely on the well researched and documented Productive Pedagogies project from Queensland. It enables teachers to engage students in learning in ways that ensure students strive for deep learning and can demonstrate the depth of their learning.

Nauruan culture and way of life is central to the curriculum footpath. The Footpath values traditional Nauruan values and knowledge while also offering students the foundations to build their Nauruan future.

 The tasks demand high standards of literacy and numeracy from students.

Nauruan pedagogy statementsNauru Classroom

The Nauruan Pedagogy statements complement learning through Rich tasks. There are four groups of the thirteen pedagogy statements which together provide a learning system for students. They are summarized below and discussed in detail on other pages in this section of the web site.

Student Differences

1.    Belonging

2.    Identity

3.    Stories

Student Experience

4.    Linked to the world

5.    Prior knowledge and experience

Student Thinking

6.    Deep thinking

7.    Deep knowledge (knowing)

8.    Substantive talk

9.    Study of language

10.  Multi-literacies

Student Work

11.  Student direction and engagement

12.  High Expectations

13.  Explicit and clear goals

The rich tasks

Rich tasks are both assessment devices and ways to describe the curriculum to teachers and the community. The task curriculum was built after reviewing and understanding the New Basics Curriculum in Queensland which used rich tasks to help children including Indigenous children obtain world standards and have a culturally significant curriculum central in their schooling.

Nauru has developed tasks for all levels of schooling including a series of TVET and ICT tasks. Task have been developed for students from Playgroup, Preschool and Preparatory year  through to Year 13. In Nauru the educational leadership continue to develop tasks to meet local needs.

More information on the tasks including samples are available on this web site long with resources on reading and interpreting rich tasks.

Implementing task based curriculum

Communities world wide have found out that

Students can do a rich task curriculum

Teachers can facilitate the rich task curriculum with help

Systems and educational leadership have difficulty with the policy and implementation of the curriculum, more so because it is so difficult to let go of existing ideas, than any talent or willingness.

For Nauru, as it was in Queensland, this was also true.  Nauruan children quickly adopted the tenants of the curriculum becoming good at demonstrating their learning to the community. Teachers embraced the Nauruan pedagogies and tasks to the extent that they were able to write tasks and conduct highly sophisticated moderation processes. The Educational authority continues now to build a policy framework which will build on the success of the teachers and students.

Nauru’s successNauru College

The key to the success in Nauru was to empower Nauruan teachers to a level of understanding and skills which enable them to write their own rich tasks. This involved ensuring for Nauruan teacher and community  design and input into the curriculum development. The process and product was owned by Nauruan people.

This began with a series of workshops asking teachers to develop an activity in keeping with the philosophy of the Productive pedagogies and the core tenants of students producing authentic products to show what they knew and had learned. This enabled teachers to begun to use the genre for describing tasks – a flowchart style structure with notes and links to what would emerge as the Nauruan Curriculum Footpath Statements.

From the beginning teachers became used to bringing samples of student work to teacher meetings to use as a stimulus for deep teacher discussion about student learning and what students has demonstrated.  What students can demonstrate they can do is a much more effective measure of the success of a curriculum than what they teachers aim to achieve.

Teachers began to compile ideas for rich tasks which would meet the demands for Nauru’s education system –cultural richness and sustainability of the Nauruan lifestyle and culture in a modern age, better health, environmental sustainability, economic viability and development, open Governance, global participation and happy sense of well being.

Teachers drafted rich tasks, trialled them and reviewed them in a series of facilitated workshops. Simultaneously a moderation system was developed , trialled and reviewed. Professional development sharing pedagogical successes was also included in the program.

A conference to celebrate the achievements enabled Nauruan teachers to stand up and be counted as world class designers and implementers of task-based curriculum.

As the consultants gradually withdrew, Nauruan teachers have begun to develop their own tasks including TVET and ICT tasks.

Complementing the curriculum development has been the installation of ICT infrastructure including adopting the One Laptop per Child project and  repairing/developing new schools.