From Encyclopedias to Google - Our Changing Education
I distinctly remember walking into my Grade 4 classroom. My teacher was dressed in a three-piece suit and he rarely smiled. Our desks were in neat rows, with the teacher’s desk at the front and the chalkboard in behind. The back bookshelves of the classroom were full of Encyclopedia Britannica and there was a microfiche in the library. Our teacher stood at the front of the room and delivered information and we listened (most of the time). We took notes, raised our hands, and began every day with a singing of “O Canada” and “God Save the Queen”. Learning was listening. Research was done by reading books and taking notes. Memorization was a key skill that separated the "good students" from the "not-so-good". If I wanted to send information to a friend sitting beside me without getting into trouble, I wrote a note and snuck it to her hoping it wouldn't get intercepted.
Fast forward a mere 25ish years, and learning and communication have changed drastically. Our access to information no longer involves finding the correct-lettered encyclopedia. We aren't limited to a few published sources. The memorization of spelling, periodic tables, and vocabulary is losing importance. Our children now have access to answers instantly at their fingertips. Their pockets contain more information than was ever housed on our Grade 4 bookshelves. Even the way we communicate with each other has completely changed. With ever-improving technology and instant access to information, our education system doesn't have a choice but to change or be left in the past.
This September, British Columbia will implement one of the largest changes in education in decades. Every subject area in Kindergarten to Grade 9 has undergone a massive curricular transformation. It has placed the learner at the center and is focused on nurturing a joy of learning. Teachers will shift from information givers to learning facilitators. A former focus on the remembering and regurgitation of information will be replaced with a focus on thinking and communicating understanding. Learning inside the classroom will look beyond just knowing, and put the emphasis on the process of building understanding.
To say I am excited about this shift would be an understatement. That being said, change can be scary and takes time. These changes in BC’s educational system will not happen overnight. For this transformation to be successful, we all need to be partners in education. We need to see learning as more than a chore we do in school. I look forward to opportunities when students, parents, teachers and the entire school community can work and learn together.
This year, students will be encouraged to take ownership of their learning through building their own learning targets and reflecting on their own learning journey. Teachers will continue the transition from traditional stand-and-deliver models of information delivery to facilitators, encouragers, and exciters of learning. My prayer is that the changes we are implementing with this curriculum will help us on our path to produce motivated, excited and engaged life-long learners.
Director of Teaching + Learning