We have a scheme for the transformation of school curriculum and pedagogy from the passive mode to the active mode. It is called The Thematic Scheme. The scheme is based on the conceptualization and integration of the topics of any subject into a theme that the student can identify with, in an apprenticeship or action-learning format. When the curriculum is administered thematically, learning becomes less academic, more practical, better internalized, painless and life-changing. Students are bound to become more successful in both internal and external examinations and in subsequent careers.
The thematic scheme recognizes the fact that, among the three main objectives of formal education, namely (1) development of one’s talent and skill (2) development of one’s general ability for learning and figuring things throughout life and (3) development of one’s leadership capability in whatever station of life one finds oneself, the greatest is the ability for learning and figuring things throughout life!
Under the scheme, the subject of economics, for example, would be conceptualized as having to do with the continuous determination of actions to be taken to optimize the benefit of limited resources available to one, as an individual, or to a society or group. This can be brought home by, say, a project on crude oil revenues, with exportation as crude, on the one hand and with significant local processing (with all the benefit of lower fuel price, lower transport fares, lower manufacturing cost and higher income and employment generation) on the other hand, before taking the topics in the syllabus, one by one, for amplification. By this scheme, the concept of optimization (that is central to economics) would be better internalized. Contrast this scheme with the traditional approach of ‘telling and absorption’ or memorization between the teacher and the students, in which the topics of the syllabus are taken as disparate entities, without significant linkage to the essence of optimization. Whatever is merely memorized cannot be internalized and becomes obsolete – if not entirely forgotten – sooner than later.
The thematic learning scheme and curriculum is applicable to all subject areas, with measurable outcomes. It could be administered to individual schools or to pools of teachers and counselors from different schools. Hosting options depend on participants’ profile, numbers and locations.