Policy Failures with Learner-Centred Pedagogy: Case Studies from the Zimbabwean Experiment on Project-Based Learning

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Godsend Tawanda Chimbi
Loyiso C. Jita


Globally, policy reform in education has recommended learner-centered pedagogy for more than a century, but its practical implementation remains an illusion in many classrooms. This study describes history teachers’ experiences while experimenting on project-based learning (PjBL) in Zimbabwe’s current curriculum reform initiative. Project-based learning has gained acceptance as an indispensable approach in developing learners’ 21st century skills of creativity, critical thinking, research, and problem-solving. Using a qualitative multiple-case study, four history teachers were observed and interviewed while implementing PjBL at four secondary schools in Zimbabwe. Results indicate policy failures with learner-centered pedagogy. Where some participants and their students had made significant progress, others had done very little at the time the policy reformers withdrew the projects. Feasibility studies could have circumvented some of the pitfalls experienced while enacting PjBL.

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