Perspective on Education Curriculum
March 12, 2014
Letter to the Editor - submitted by Alberta School Councils' Association President
There has been a lot of talk in
the media lately about K-12 education. While it is always a good thing that
parents and others are engaged and interested in the topic and sharing ideas,
the Alberta School Council Association (ASCA) promotes a clear understanding of
all the aspects of any issue affecting education.
Let’s start with math. Each
curriculum has a set of outcomes that students are expected to achieve and, as
with any curriculum, teachers have a certain degree of latitude and flexibility
in their approach to delivering this curriculum to students so the outcomes are
This includes whether or not to
have students memorize multiplication tables, use different and varied methods
to teach multiplication, or use a combination of methods. Teachers today have a
variety of learning styles in their classrooms, and meet these varying needs in
different ways across subject areas.
Now let’s contemplate the
Recognizing how quickly the
world around us is changing, Albertans, including parents, said (through the
public consultation called Inspiring Education) that in order to prepare
students for a future where technology is changing the way we access knowledge,
where economic power is shifting and competition is on the rise, where brain
research is informing how children learn, and where the pervasive use of social
media is dominating our lives, learning should be grounded in literacy and
numeracy skills providing our youth with a solid foundation.
Albertans said students should
be prepared through a curriculum that is relevant, instills a curiosity to
learn more, engages students and builds their critical thinking and problem
solving skills, motivating them to strive for success. Albertans recognized
that the current way of teaching and learning needs to evolve so our kids are
prepared for a world we can only imagine a few years from now.
Right now in Alberta schools,
students are being provided opportunities to be engaged in learning that we
could not have dreamed of twenty years ago. Learning from Chris Hadfield while
he floats in space, connecting with engineering or physics experts at MIT or
the U of T, speaking with an Inuit elder and learning how global climate change
is impacting the Canadian arctic – these are only some of the opportunities
that exist for our students today and tomorrow.
Inspiring Education is building on today’s achievements, re-thinking and
redesigning all aspects of teaching and learning, including curriculum,
assessment and a variety of other elements, so Alberta’s students will be the
engaged thinkers, ethical citizens with an entrepreneurial spirit needed for
ASCA encourages parents and
school councils to “get the facts” on what’s happening in your school. Talk to
your teachers, principal, superintendent and school trustees or contact the
Alberta School Councils’ Association to learn more.
Brad Vonkeman, President
Alberta School Councils’ Association