Over the past seven or eight years the BC government has been planning and implementing a comprehensive restructuring of the K-12 curriculum in a process known as the BC ED Plan. Through research that looked at education world wide and a collaborative approach with teachers in BC, the curriculum team has put together a framework that they hope will allow educators more freedom to focus on the kinds of skills that will be needed by our students in a rapidly changing world.
Though technology features as part of the “toolkit” that learners must have, the emphasis is really on “core competencies” such as communication skills, critical thinking, and the ability to collaborate with others. Literacy and numeracy remain areas of focus at all grade levels, but a greater degree of student choice is being encouraged by making electives more accessible at earlier grades. This increase in “personalization” of learning can take many forms, but the hope is that students will be able to design more of their own graduation program and have fewer mandatory subjects to contend with.
At Brentwood, teachers are exploring the potential and opportunities that this approach is presenting. Some of our Grade 9 teachers are already implementing the new curriculum and the plan is to bring Grade 10-12 subjects into this framework over the next couple of years. Having time to teach skills in science, for example, lets us get students involved in more hands-on activities which, in turn, leads to greater engagement and a deeper level of learning. The important content, however, still needs to be covered to give students the framework of knowledge to be able to build upon; striking that balance will be the essence of our discussions in department teams over the coming year.