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Enhancing Teaching and Learning through Music, Dance and Drama

16 Nov 2021

The University of Rwanda-College of Education (UR-CE) as a champion of education in the country, seeks to contribute to addressing educational challenges in the Rwanda. In this endeavor, UR-CE envisages to start a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Certificate in Teaching and Learning using Music, Dance and Drama. The program is expected to drive changes in teaching and learning in secondary schools. It is an initiative financially supported by the Project entitled “Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) : Informing the National Curriculum and Youth Policy for Peace building in Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Indonesia and Nepal.’’

MAP project seeks to use arts-based approaches to achieve a number of purposes. First, it is about using music, dance and drama for enhancing teaching and learning. Second, it will explore the use of music, dance and drama for peace building in and out of schools. Third, it aims to use local cultural art forms for promoting good mental health through the provision of arts-based psychosocial support.

It is envisaged that local cultural art forms will be used as a medium to explore, communicate and share knowledge. The move recognizes the importance of local or indigenous cultural assets such as language and art in knowledge production, expression and communication. As pointed out by Dr. Sylvestre Nzahabwanayo, Associate Professor at University of Rwanda-College of Education and the Principal Investigator of MAP Project, this CPD will address a number of issues observed in teaching and learning in secondary schools in Rwanda.

They include
(i) the teacher-centered pedagogies where the teacher is at the centre of the
teaching process and the learner is considered as an empty vessel to be filled
with content/knowledge ;
(ii) low involvement of learners in the teaching and learning process ;
(iii) lack of a sustained teaching methodology to implement the Competence-Based
Curriculum in secondary schools as recommended by the Rwanda Basic
Education ;
(iv) low involvement of local cultural art forms in teaching and learning but also in
promoting the culture of peace in Rwanda schools ;
(v) high levels of dropout and repetition in secondary schools due to children
’disliking’ the school ; and
(vi) potential instances of physical violence infringed on learners observed in the
form of corporal punishment and conflated with promoting discipline.

The CPD also intends to address potential structural and cultural (symbolic) violence in the form of ideologies, beliefs, attitudes and values which might be at odds with the idea of creating conditions allowing high school learners to bring the best out of themselves and actualize their potentials.

Furthermore, the approach will bring about innovative ways of teaching and learning where learners will enjoy teaching and learning as well as going to school. Teachers will also enjoy their teaching profession."What we want to achieve in this CPD, says Associate Professor Nzahabwanayo, is to give value to our local cultural art forms/practices. Most of the time the content or knowledge given to learners in classroom employs foreign categories and symbols in foreign languages, all of which sometimes leading to foreign values and attitudes, he adds.

The CPD in Teaching and Learning Using Music, Dance and Drama has been developed and awaits approval by concerned bodies before passing to its implementation.

Story by

NTIRANDEKURA Schadrac
Public Relations and Community Engagement Officer
University of Rwanda-College of Education

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