How will we plan and prepare ourselves, our teachers, our parents and our students for curriculum redesign?
I think knowing that change is coming for our school system and it is inevitable, is a good start to the preparation of the curriculum redesign. As we discussed in our course, EEA 532 - Instructional Leadership: Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, the new curriculum redesign will likely create more freedom and flexibility for teachers and students while focusing on developing relevant and practical skills for twenty-first century students. In the words of the current Minister of Education,
“This government is committed to developing curriculum - including the fundamentals of reading, writing and math - that ensures children have the best possible start in life to prepare them for rewarding careers in a diversified economy. Critical subject areas have not been updated in many years, so this work is long overdue. This new process will allow us to fulfill our commitments to educate our students about the history, perspectives and contributions of our Francophone, First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and communities.”
- David Eggen, Minister of Education
How might this change our current planning practices and those of our colleagues within our school district?
I think the new curriculum redesign may allow for teachers to have more room to teach in ways that are practical and relevant to their students. With less numbers of specific learning outcomes for teachers to focus on, teachers will be able to shift their focus on to the needs and interests of their students, which will likely produce more student engagement and motivation. Obviously the way we plan will our lessons and units may look different, again with less emphasis on specific learning outcomes and more on student's interests and relevant skills.
“Sleeker programs, allowing teachers to go more in-depth and to bring in more local elements, will ensure that our programs remain engaging, fulfilling and responsive to student needs. Teachers and the profession are excited for the changes and look forward to partnering with government on curriculum development.” Mark Ramsankar, President, Alberta Teachers’ Association
I thinking being able to focus on more local elements in our communities will allow teachers to pull in more local resources to bring the materials to life in practical ways with real-world examples that are literally "close to home."
What work do we have to do as instructional leaders in this area?
I think as instructional leaders, we will need to be on board with the new changes and modeling the way as other teachers and leaders are adjusting and adapting to these changes. Obviously these changes will require a shift in our thinking and view of teaching, but again, modeling and learning alongside our colleagues, will produce a more positive school environment. If instructional leaders do not buy into the new changes in curriculum and speak poorly about them, this would obviously effect the buy in from staff, which would in turn effect the culture of the school in a negative way. At the same time it will be important to look at the changes in a critical and realistic way. The curriculum redesign will likely not be perfect when in comes out and may needs some tweaks along the way.
"Provincial curriculum will be developed and available for use through a digital platform, the Curriculum Development Application (CDA). Teachers will be able to interact and develop learning opportunities for their students through the CDA. This interactive platform will become a one-stop shop for subject-specific programs of study, resources and assessment."
As instructional leaders, getting involved in the interactive platform early on will also encourage others to make the leap into the new curriculum digital tools. Some teachers may be hesitant and unsure, but as leaders, being able to walk them through will be a great opportunity.
For more information on the Alberta curriculum redesign, check out this great website:
My name is Jonathan Bolton I am an elementary school teacher in Red Deer, AB. I am also currently doing my Masters of Ed. as a cohort program through City University of Seattle. I am passionate about teaching, learning, creating, and growing.