Monday, April 14, 2014

Curriculum Redesign in Alberta

Before you read on, I ask that you stop and think for a couple of minutes about "What should school look like?"

WHY do we need to change?

My reason comes from "WHY do I teach?":  I teach because I believe in a classroom that is structured different for each student in the class.  My "perfect class" would be focused on meeting the needs of the students not the system.  Students in my class should be thinking critically, not only learning what to learn but also how to learn.  Innovation and creativity will be at the core of all my lessons, as the focus will be creating opportunities for my students for the future and for the world outside the walls of my classroom.  Students can work at different paces, and implement various learning strategies to achieve the goals of my class.  I believe in a classroom that allows me to dig deep in various interests of students without worrying about losing time.  Personalized learning will be allowed to flourish in my classroom as the passion and interests of my students will be just as important as pencils and paper.

I don't believe that any teacher or any educational stakeholder, in Alberta, is 100% content around the current education system.  If this is true, then isn't it about time we change?

Our education system needs to prepare students to be successful in a future world that will be defined by global interaction, competition, engagement and networks. It needs to ensure Alberta’s young people will have the knowledge, skills and attitudes to be prepared for jobs that do not exist yet and in industries that are emerging or evolving.

HOW will curriculum change?

Inspiring Education involved parents, teachers, students, business, and many other educational stakeholders and listened to them around "What should change in Education?".  The comments called for more student centred, personalized, authentic learning experiences that will result in youth becoming engaged thinkers and ethical citizens, with an entrepreneurial spirit.  The vision was for an education system which is significantly different from that of yesterday and today.

The Alberta Government listened and is creating a curriculum with a different focus.  We need to invest in our students and empower them to bring out their potential.  We are emphasizing the development of key competencies in our students, cultivating engaged thinkers, ethical citizens and entrepreneurial spirits.  We’re recognizing that not all students learn the same way, and that textbooks and classrooms are just one way for them to experience education.

Lastly, so WHAT will change?

All classes will focus on core competencies, which will be integrated into the curricular outcomes.  The competencies are:
  • Know how to learn
  • Think Critically
  • Identify and solve complex problems
  • Manage information
  • Innovate
  • Create opportunities
  • Apply multiple literacies
  • Demonstrate good communication skills and the ability to work cooperatively with others
  • Demonstrate global and cultural understanding
  • Identify and apply career and life skills

This change will allow any classroom to become the teacher's "dream classroom".  An example of how my class has changed.


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