Your child’s school is not the same as the one you attended and, starting in September, more changes are coming.
For the last 12 months, School District 34 and others across B.C. have been rolling out the new kindergarten to Grade 9 curriculum, which is aimed at being more flexible, meeting the needs of diverse learners and more attentive to student interests compared to the past.
Now, a new curriculum for Grade 10 to 12 students is about to be launched, and with it, fewer provincial exams, more emphasis on career studies and a possible revamping of the report card system.
For parents who may be a little shell-shocked by all the changes and worry that this is just a new fad for education, it’s time to relax.
Many of the new personalized teaching strategies — emphasizing project-based learning where students look into topics they are interested in and use different ways to show their knowledge — have been in classrooms for some time.
Math and literacy are still important, and there will be provincial exams for these, but competent teachers who know their students will still test knowledge in science, social studies and Grade 10 language arts. Nothing will change there, except that younger students won’t be writing standardized tests while post-secondary institutions appear to be adapting to the new paradigm.
Other changes are also welcome.
A focus on careers in high school? Bring it on as this means students will simply spend more time researching and considering options for their future.
Report cards? Changing the way students are graded is scary but the way it’s done now may be too simplistic to get a good read on how students are doing.
As for whether B.C.’s education system is being dumbed down, this is an argument that is sure to catch fire. B.C. students are already doing well by international measures.
Imagine how they will do when the curriculum encourages them to dig deeper in their studies. Instead of memorizing texts and dates, they can build you a cell structure or make a movie about it and tell you how it works.
Now, that’s learning.