In response to an evolving global landscape, and to better equip students with the skills and abilities needed for the future, British Columbia is in the process of integrating a new curriculum for Grades K-12.
B.C.’s new curriculum provides greater flexibility to teachers, focusing on depth of understanding rather than simply recalling and regurgitating “Google-able” facts. This increased flexibility allows students to explore the curriculum through the lens of their individual passions and interests. By extension, the relevancy of curriculum is increased for both teachers and students. Exploring curriculum through the lens of a student’s interests allows for a more strength-based approach to education, providing increased opportunities for students to succeed based on their unique skills and abilities. Ultimately, it should result in greater engagement and ownership, creating a framework for meaningful learning experiences.
As well, by encouraging the development of a broader and more diverse range of skills, students will be better equipped for the challenges and opportunities that they will face in the future.
This shift from content to connections necessitates a renewed focus on relationships between teachers and students. A culture in which relationships are valued as an essential component for student success requires an investment of time. In the midst of busy days, teachers must be provided with the time to learn the stories and context of their students, allowing them to facilitate meaningful connections between the curriculum and individual student interests. As such, districts and schools much invest in both informal and formal structures, providing a necessary framework in which to grow and sustain meaningful relationships.
The Advisory Model is one such example of a formal structure. This model provides a sustained, intentional and focused block of time, built into the school day, that allows teachers to connect with their students without the pressure to deliver specific content or curriculum. In an Advisory Model, connections are privileged over content. Research clearly indicates that students who feel like they belong, who are understood and supported by the adults in their school community, are more likely to achieve social and academic success.
Participant reflections on signals of change
Participants at the 2016 EdCan Network Regional Exchanges discussed more signals of change than we could possibly cover — but we wanted to share a sense of their range and significance. We invited a number of participants to write a short piece reflecting on one of the signals they brought to the Exchange.
Discover more signals at: www.edcan.ca/RegExReport
Photos: Max Cooke and Yolande Nantel
First published in Education Canada, March 2018