As the school year starts today for teachers and tomorrow for students, it’s exciting to be able to share recent news from BC’s Ministry of Education.
The new curriculum for Kindergarten to Grade 9 is now available for use, while the new curriculum for Grades 1o to 12 is not too far off.
BC’s Ministry of Education has spent a number of years working together with education stakeholders to develop the guiding principles for the new curriculum.
The Guiding Principles for the new Curriculum, Assessment & Reporting are:
- Personalized Learning – Tapping into student interests to help them learn
- Core Competencies balanced with a solid foundation of skills (reading, writing and math)
- Applying what students have learned to real-life situations
- Gaining the skills to enter post-secondary and the workforce
- Strengthening the ability to compete in a global economy
These core competencies along with literacy and numeracy foundations and essential content and concepts are at the centre of the redesign of curriculum and assessment. Core competencies are sets of intellectual, personal, and social and emotional proficiencies that all students need to develop in order to engage in deep learning and life-long learning. Through provincial consultation, three core competencies were identified:
- Thinking Competency
- Critical Thinking
- Creative Thinking
- Reflective Thinking
- Personal and Social Competency
- Positive personal and cultural identity
- Personal awareness and responsibility
- Social awareness and responsibility
- Communication Competency
- Language and symbols
- Digital literacy
In August, the Ministry of Education announced timelines for the release of the new curriculum:
As you can see, teachers will not be expected to begin fully implementing the new Kindergarten to Grade 9 curriculum until September 2016, but the curriculum is available for teachers to begin using now.
The draft curriculum for Grades 10 to 12 is available for teachers to begin using with the ability to provide feedback to the Ministry of Education’s curriculum teams as they make revisions later this school year.
At the core of all of the new curriculum is that we teach students. Of course, all teachers are expected to teach basic skills to our students, but this new curriculum clearly identifies that our main job is to be responsive to the students in our classrooms. Who are our students? What do they already know when we first meet them? What are their strengths? What challenges do they face as learners? How will we move them forward in their learning for the short time they are in our classrooms?
Whether we have twenty-two Kindergarten students, twenty-four primary students, thirty intermediate students, 120 students in a range of secondary grades, or eighteen students in a K-10 class, the immense challenge remains the same as we spend the term, semester or whole year with them. How can we motivate each and every student to want to learn? How can we tap into their personal interests and show them that what they are learning has real-life implications? How can we prepare them for life outside of our classrooms?
In an ever increasing digital world where most of our students have all of the information they could ever want or need in their pockets, these students need teachers and learning communities more than ever. While our goal is to personalize their learning to make that learning meaningful and engaging, this does not take teachers out of the equation. Our students need us to teach them basic skills. They need us to teach them how to think critically and how to communicate what we are learning to others. They need us to learn how to get along with others and how to work through their differences when they encounter someone with whom they may not always agree. One need only spend a few minutes reading the “Comments” section in any online article to realize that our students need to learn how to interact with one another in this digital world in a responsible way.
You can find much more information about BC’s new curriculum here. (You can also find more information about changes coming in assessment by clicking on the link.) Whether you are a teacher, parent, or student, I encourage you to read more about the new curriculum over the coming months.
If you are a teacher and you have been waiting for permission to begin using the new curriculum, the Ministry of Education and School District No. 27 have given you that permission. As Kindergarten to Grade 9 teachers, use the 2015/16 year to make the shift towards the new curriculum before the curriculum is fully implemented in September 2016.
My best to all of you as you begin the 2015/16 school year!
I invite feedback and comments to any of my blog entries. As the administrator of the blog, I approve all comments before they hit the public domain. While I do not mind comments that disagree with my point of view, I will not post comments that I deem to be inappropriate, those which are personal attacks, or those which refer to specific personnel. I also will not post comments from anonymous or nicknamed sources. While one of my goals for this blog is to open a dialogue, it needs to be a safe environment for everyone involved. Thanks for considering this before making a comment. – Mark