THE BC EDUCATION PLAN - PART 1
By: Darren Lewis - Lead Principal
“The key focus is personalized learning – where students have more opportunity to pursue their passions and interests – while maintaining B.C.’s high standards on foundational skills like reading, writing and numeracy. ”Peter Fassbender, Minister of Education
The Ministry of Education describes the objective of the new BC Education Plan as: "Capable young people thriving in a rapidly changing world."
Many would describe the new BC Education Planas being a large-scale new curriculum rollout. To put the relative size of the change into context, consider that a typical curricular change by the Ministry might mandate a new curriculum in an area such as math in the graduation program (grades 10-12) and then roll this out over a couple of years. Several years later, they might implement Social Studies or English. The BC Education Plan is introducing new curriculum for the entire K-9 system over the next year and the entire 10-12 system over a two year period.
So, on a practical level this is a BIG deal. The change though is bigger than simply rolling out a new curriculum. It also represents a change in underlying approach. Simply put, the emphasis is being changed from CONTENT to COMPETENCY - while trying to emphasize what Minister Fassbender describes as 'personalized learning'.
GLOBAL COMPETENCIES IN THE NEW CURRICULUM
What might this look like in practice? Consider a Social Studies 10 class, where teachers are emphasizing content. A student might be asked to memorize three causes of the Red River Resistance (that's rebellion to those of us who took history prior to the 21st century). Under the new curriculum a student might be considered to reflect on a central question: "What circumstances might lead people like me to actively resist their government?" Rather than being organized around dozens of "learning outcomes", the new curriculum is organized around "big ideas" which then find expression in "Curricular Competencies" and "Content". Some Global Competencies listed in the BC Education Plan are as follows:
Clear as mud? This is a big change - and it's going to take time for our staff (let alone parents and students) to understand the implications. If the curriculum is different in approach - how about assessment? How about reporting? How does this impact provincial exams and graduation?
Over the next several months, I and others are going to post a series of blog posts considering the new curriculum and especially it's impact on Kelowna Christian School.