The learners I deal with every day have been brought up in a culture where success is measured by their ability to rote learn facts. The national assessment procedure consists of solely responding to multiple choice questions. There is no requirement for students to learn how to write essays as, even at university level.
The organisation for whom I work has the bold agenda of modernising pedagogy throughout the country. A few other foreign trained teachers have been employed to help share different practice. Some of the students suddenly find themselves studying the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) which is taught constructively and assessed by a variety of methods. Understanding is one of the areas of learning that will be assessed (International Baccalaureate®, 2015).
I am teaching chemistry and biology. Understanding is crucial to success in chemistry. One of my biggest challenges is to bridge the gap between the prior training of the students and the requirement of the IBDP.
The acquisition of understanding should improve over the coming years as lower years are being exposed to a wider range of assessment and teaching styles. The current IBDP chemistry students are my biggest concern.