Effective Pedagogy in the Context of a Competency-Based Curriculum Reform: Perceptions of Teachers in the Dominican Republic

Resumen

In 2016, the Dominican Republic Ministry of Education launched a competency-based curriculum, thus promoting a constructivist and learner-centered pedagogy. However, two years later, a national study found that several obstacles impede the implementation of this curriculum, specifically teachers’ lack of appropriation which resulted in the use of traditional instructional methods such as copying. By further exploring the culture of copying in Dominican public schools, this study contributes to the literature on effective pedagogy at the primary level. Using an ethnographic lens, the research explores the perceptions of four teachers in two schools in order to provide a more nuanced understanding of what it means to be effective in the context of the Dominican Republic. Drawing on data from interviews and observations, the study seeks to address the following questions: How do teachers conceptualize effective teaching and learning? In what ways do these perceptions reveal themselves in the classroom? What facilitators or inhibitors to effectiveness exist? The findings demonstrate that teachers construct practical knowledge that allows them to tend to the culture of copying in a more reflexive manner. They reject copying as an effective teaching strategy and demonstrate evidence of a paradigm shift towards constructivism. However, they still resort to using copying as a pedagogical activity due to several reasons: their perceptions of students, of curricular content, and of the political and material conditions in which they work. This study thus argues for more research that explores teachers’ voices and sense-making processes in order to understand not just what teachers do, but why they do it.

Palabras clave:

curriculum, Dominican Republic, primary school, school culture, teacher effectiveness, teaching and learning

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