CBC crafted on sound educational ideas

In Summary

• Active learning includes learning through play, the five senses, application of Maths, strengthening communicative competence through dialogue, group discussions, debate, reading for pleasure, writing and performing dramatic plays

CBC education ideas
CBC education ideas

The competency based curriculum is based on the ideas of great thinkers.

Confucius (551-479 BC) is China’s best-known teacher and master craftsman of the curriculum, which included archery, the art of using bows and arrows, swordsmanship and martial arts, calligraphy– the art of handwriting – and Maths.

These foster critical thinking, discipline, dexterity, accuracy and precision. It was a curriculum for survival, at a time of frequent, ferocious attacks from barbarians.


The curriculum must be responsive to the needs of the day.

Confucius taught the virtue of being filial, respect for elders and between members of the family. The CBC involves the whole family and the community, fostering social cohesion.

Socrates (470-399 BC), pronounced /sokritiz/, upheld the supremacy of knowledge, virtue and truth, values which are central to the CBC. His educational thought rested on three pillars: First, wisdom begins with admitting your own ignorance; secondly, self-knowledge is the virtue ultimate and thirdly, you can arrive at truth by carrying out a diagnosis of what learners know and do not know, by asking questions and by probing. This is the Socratic method and is used in the CBC.

For Plato, (427-347BC), the aim of education is to help people know the idea of the good, which is to be virtuous. Learning is achievable through creative thinking and physical exercise. Knowledge can be found through discussion and debate. The study is leisure. Learning should be based on experience and should be enjoyable. He proposed the experiential method of learning also adopted by the CBC.

Aristotle (384-322 BC), son of a medical doctor, picked his father’s scientific observation method. Virtue is learned through family and friends. When people choose wrongly between good and evil, or choose to be corrupt, it is because of deficiency in their knowledge and virtue and because of ignorance.

Enter Jesus Christ, the teacher from Nazareth, who used the parabolic method, as he taught in parables — notably the parable of the prodigal son, Luke 15:11-32, of the mustard seed, Mark 4:26-29, and of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37. Learners think through the problems posed by the parables and seek answers through critical thinking. It is built on the problem-solving method.

Inherent in the parabolic method are universal values. The parable of the Good Samaritan, for example, embodies values of compassion. It speaks for all humanity, and upholds Samaritan leadership.


Jean-Jacques Rousseau, (1712-1778), proposed a child-centred, learning by doing, the use of the five senses and the importance of play in the learning process. ‘Let a child be a child,’ he said.

Heinrich Pestalozzi, (1746-1827), suggested a whole child approach where the learner uses the head, the heart and the hands, or the intellect, emotions and the senses in the learning process. He argued that the direction the process of learning should take ‘is from within oneself to without.’

Benjamin Bloom (1913-99) encouraged higher levels of thinking among the learners beyond rote learning and mere recall by demonstrating understanding, applying, analysing, evaluating and creating knowledge.

Maria Montessori, (1870-1952) proposed self-directed, hands-on learning. Learners are given creative choices and age-appropriate learning materials and led to realize their potential through collaborative learning and play. They absorb learning from their environment, teaching themselves what they need to know. Learners find their place in society to become global citizens. Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, as well as Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos went through the Montessori system of education.

In his theory of Multiple Intelligences, Howard Gardner (1943-) said there are eight intelligences in each learner: visual-spatial, linguistic-verbal, mathematical, aesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalistic intelligence. Teachers guide learners to nurture the eight talents. The teaching/learning interface should be learner-centred, learner-driven and use multiple sensory media. The CBC fosters the use of modern ICT, to exploit multiple media.

Active learning includes learning through play, the five senses, application of Maths, strengthening communicative competence through dialogue, group discussions, debate, reading for pleasure, writing and performing dramatic plays, composing and reciting poetry and outdoor activities interacting with nature. These are some of the ideas that form the foundation of the CBC.


Hukka Wario is a retired teacher

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