Saturday, 26 May 2012

When Less is More

This week our district played host to a regional meeting to discuss proposed changes to the way curriculum is developed and presented. The common lament about there being no time or way for teachers and students to cover everything was acknowledged, and a shift to a new way of doing things was proposed. "Wouldn't it be nice" one presenter asked, "if at the beginning of the year teachers could wonder about what they could add to the curriculum instead of worry about what they might have to leave out?"

The new BC Education Plan, with its emphasis on personalized learning and 21st century skills, is also looking at curriculum. Under the Plan, teachers, students and parents will work together to make sure every student’s needs are met, passions are explored and goals are achieved. This means student-centered learning that’s focused on the needs, strengths and aspirations of each individual young person. Students will play an active role in designing their own education and will be increasingly accountable for their own learning success. It’s all about putting students at the centre of education. That means giving teachers and schools the flexibility to make sure each student is well served by their educational program. Each student is unique and our education system will support each student’s interests and ways of learning. 

Under the plan, Curriculum will be redesigned to reflect the core competencies, skills, and knowledge that students need to succeed in the 21st century.  A curriculum with fewer, but higher level outcomes will enable deeper learning and understanding. Teachers and students should benefit from the increased flexibility that will be key to making sure that students' passions and interests are realized, as well as their different and individual ways of learning without sacrificing the core competencies that ensure every student acquires the base knowledge required to successfully deal with an ever changing world.

The Ministry appears to be serious about implementing change, and it is also serious about hearing from people who matter in education: students, parents, educators and the general public. In addition to meetings such as the one held this week in SD 60, the Plan is online complete with interactive functions, twitter feed and a multitude of methods for folks to find out more and respond. Anyone with a question or a point of view has the means to make their voice heard. Comments are collected, published in newsletters and put out on display for evaluation and further response. Regardless of  our ongoing labor issues work on the BC Ed plan is pressing ahead. Our regional meeting was well attended by teachers, trustees, administrators, parents, students and district staff, and many of them liked what they heard. Hopefully the day when all partners in public education can consider what they can add to the basic curriculum to enhance student learning will be here sooner than we think!

1 comment:

  1. Nice Post Dave.
    I attended a ministry presentation on the new framework a few months ago and our district's team reaction was very positive to the proposed changes. We view this framework as a way to clear the path for innovation and deeper learning for students. We like the assessment piece as well and are particularly excited about the potential for different graduation pathways.