My province is currently taking a very close look at curriculum. The reason for this is to ensure that the Program of Study remains responsive and relevant to students as our world continues to change. Policy makers are committed to designing “Engaging curriculum that inspires every student, every day.” They are also calling upon teachers to include learning experiences that build important 21st century competencies such as those I have outline in earlier posts. “These competencies enable students to understand their world, engage fully in their education, relate well to others, manage their lives wisely, and contribute positively to their communities.”
So here’s my take on our curriculum. If teachers are being asked to build relevant learning experiences while still meeting curricular outcomes we are going to have to make our curriculum more manageable. Yesterday, I took some time to count the specific outcomes for each subject area in the K to Grade 6 Program of Study. Although there is some flexibility when it comes to the outcomes, any good teacher would endeavor to cover as many of them as possible.
Now take a look at this next chart that breaks things down a bit more. (and the 850 hrs is generous) I wonder how easy it is to go deeper into each outcome and engage students in experiences that call for higher order thinking, inquiry, collaboration, self-direction, global awareness, etc., etc. I would say that it’s a lot to expect of any teacher in a system where school and student success is measured by standardized test results that are connected directly to hundreds of curricular outcomes.
I think educational transformation would move along more quickly if teachers were not forced to skim the surface of curricular outcomes just to get them covered.
The amazing thing is that I see many examples of competency based teaching and learning every day, right in my own school. I also hear about many forward thinking practices regularly through my PLN.
Just imagine what educators could do if our curriculum wasn’t getting in their way.