This is an abridged excerpt from “Second Thoughts about Competency-based Approach”, an action research I conducted in 2007. The paper emphasized the controversies the competency-based approach raised and the challenges it posed from its very first implementation in Moroccan schools. I think teachers' failure to comply with the guidelines and produce a competency-based product was due to a cluster of external as well as internal factors.
Indeed,hinderances were countless, but I shall confine myself to only some concrete examples.It had been attested that many teachers had no idea about the underpinning theoritical background of the textbooks they were supposed to teach.I personally witnessed a great deal of such cases . There were even teachers whose level in Englishwas far below the required standard who were easily "caught out" by their students. However, it would be unfair to hold these "deficient" teachers accountable for their inability to abide by the current trends in language teaching. But, who was to blame for this fault? It is to be avowed that training centers in
Suprisingly enough, competency-based approach did receive attention, but only verbally!It seemed like our trainers were short of practice!And to add to the complexity of this issue, after graduating, teacher-trainnes realized that theywere supposed to teach a whole competency-based curriculum.
As to problems of language mastery, some teachers needed reconsider their lexicon! I attended a class with a teacher who used to pronounce "children" with the intial vowel like "child"! So, with such weaknesses, were we liable to teach our students to be competent in their everyday life? Certainly, not!
In the same vein, there were teachers who hadn't had the chance to benefit neither from pre-service nor in-service training. They were confronted with competencies! So was it possible for them to make their teaching methodologies comply with the overall guidelines without prior counseling?
Another factor that had to be borne in mind was that teaching inspectors ( I still use this term on purpose even if it has become archaic and been superseded by the phrase "teacher-adviser in the new milieu) still clung to the traditional nature of their jobs; namely the infallible experts. They filedl the teacher with redundant theoritical knowledge. I think they, themselves, were in dire need of intensive training to help them get rid of their outmoded attitudes! What's more, most of them did not fulfil their obligations as required. One of the novice teachers had fallen prey to such neglect. His inspector, after evaluating his performance as part of the Competency Test that teachers take after one year in service to be officially granted tenure, sent him a report about his performance.What was funny is that he evaluated him on the basis of a lesson he did not perform! His report had nothing to do with what he performed before his very eyes. The only information that seemed real in that report was his name, students' number, and the the time of the lesson.So, on what basis was this teacher supposed to judge his performance, hence his competence or incompetence?
As for standradizing competency-based approach in Moroccan universities, I often asked myself this questions: "Don't we need to make CBA the standrad approach to teaching English in our universities?".Mr Stoti was the only one who I managed to interview in this regard.His response was that "it is not possible to adopt this approach in the university, for teachers are free to teach whatever they like.There are no curriculum constraiunts".
Many countries were making susbstantive steps towards the approach implementation to foster profesionalism and gear graduates towards the job market. It is my conviction that CBA should have been the agreed-upon approach in Moroccan universities. University students were badly in need of a number of competencies to be able to function effectively in everyday life encounters. This was further evidenced in the inability of most of them to keep up a conversation in English. Teachers, then ,should not have got trapped or overwhelmed by the high grades students got in every exam to form any further asumptions about language learning accordingly. Therefore, before students were exposed to a competency-based syllabus, they should first have been taught general English. Their proficiency on general English would make the competency-based syllabus easier!