On one of the days, we looked at the direction for curriculum in the province under the BC Education Plan and we worked in groups giving feedback on the proposed direction. At our table, we talked about possible starting points as a district. We talked about various options and one possible starting point as a district was for us to first come together to reaffirm what we believe about where we are and where we need to be. A group conversation about “From a current reality…to…a future vision.”
As a district and with our administrators and teachers, if we really tease out these desired future visions, the conversations can lead us to what this future vision really looks like in a classroom and how to address those challenges and opportunities inherent in the BC Education Plan.
As an example, such discussions about current reality to future vision might look like the text below. We didn’t, at our table, have much time to flesh this out in depth, but the discussion explored options for the coming journey. I thought that it was worthy of a blog posting just to share some thinking that we had.
FROM…An complex(dense) curriculum that promotes the overly prescriptive industrial revolution model of education…TO…an enabling broad-strokes curriculum that has the flexibility to allow teachers to explore their own individual strengths and the passion of their students.
FROM…Text-based linear resources that serve to reaffirm and prescribe a set “path” along the curriculum path…TO…multimedia learning resources and information in a variety of forms that support the exploration (by teacher and learners) of multiple pathways of learning within a broader context of enduring understandings or ways of knowing.
FROM…Reporting to parents in discreet segments that break learning into measurable units…TO…sharing demonstrations of processes and competencies that show the growth of the learner and that provide confidence to the parents about the quality of learning in the classroom and the progress of the child.
FROM…a curriculum framework that is based upon learning consisting of a set of disconnected parts (subjects) that do not form a whole…TO…core competencies that transcend subject areas but are at the heart of being an educated person and participating in a healthy society and democracy.
Then…From theory To practice
We talked about the next layers of conversations. If one possible starting place is to reaffirm our current reality and our desired future direction in curriculum, then we need to have similar conversations about our current reality and desired future in instruction, assessment, evaluation, and reporting to name a few more areas central to our ongoing daily work. These are huge areas and the proposed changes are significant.
If we are to help the plan become a reality, that journey begins with a conversation. We talked about how those conversations really need to begin with the Why of the proposed changes and then lead to the How of making the changes happen.
The intent of this post is just to sow the seeds of conversations ahead. In my experience, when you begin looking at system-wide change, that beginning starts from the common ground on which people stand. When you take the time to have these conversations, there often are substantial shared understandings between all those who have taught children through to adults. The difficult procss of change is taking those common understandings through to a practical reality of how those beliefs unfold in classrooms on a daily basis. In the end, it still is that interface between teachers and students that is the gold in any educational system as we have been reminded so many times.
I look forward to the discussions ahead.