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Curriculum

Curriculum revision update

A historical context

Since 2013, teachers and Ministry of Education staff have been revising the BC curriculum. Teams of teachers appointed by the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF), the Federation of Independent School Associations BC (FISBC), and the First Nations Schools Association (FNSA) have worked collaboratively, with Ministry staff facilitating, to update the K–12 curriculum.

Revisions aim to simplify and deepen curriculum

In general, the revisions are intended to make the curriculum more manageable for teachers, and to provide more opportunities for teachers and students to focus on particular topics of interest in their schools and communities. The learning outcomes in several subject areas have been reduced, providing more time and flexibility to explore topics in depth.

Use of K‒9 curriculum in the 2016‒17 school year

The finalized versions of the K‒9 curriculum, being implemented starting September 2016, are posted here.

While it is important to note that the revised curriculum for K‒9 is mandated for the 2016‒17 school year, all partners recognize that the process of curriculum implementation takes time. To that end, partners agreed to the following wording when working on the curriculum framework documents to support curriculum implementation:

The process should ensure that the focus is strength-based rather than deficit-based, and should allow for multiple entry points to engage in the dialogue around curriculum. It is therefore critical and cannot be overemphasized that the implementation of the currricula be viewed as an ongoing, long-term process, rather than an event. With this in mind, we understand it will take time for teachers as they begin implementing the redesigned K–9 curriculum in September 2016. Rather, curriculum implementation is an ongoing process built around cumulative, reflective practice supported by all learning partners.

For the complete text see the curriculum framework documents.

Members are encouraged to point to this document if they are feeling pressured by administration to fully implement the revised curriculum in September 2016.

Use of 10‒12 curriculum in the 2016‒17 school year

Updated proposals for revised 10‒12 curriculum are now posted on the Ministry’s website.

The 10‒12 curriculum for 2016‒17 is voluntary. Teachers are free to explore the revised curriculum, but no one is required to use the 10‒12 curriculum in 2016‒17 and no one should feel pressured to do so. As with all other changes in our day-to-day working lives, teachers are encouraged to use school-based union meetings and staff committee meetings to discuss the issues arising from these significant curriculum changes.

Implementation

The BCTF has been advocating for the time and resources teachers need to ensure they are well supported as the revised curriculum is implemented. Two in-service days will focus on curriculum for the 2016‒17 and 2017‒18 school years. The joint collaboration that occurred between locals and districts for the planning of these days in the 2015‒16 school year should continue.

BCTF representatives will continue to emphasize the important distinction between implementation funding and teachers’ autonomous use of professional development funding.

Aboriginal content interwoven

The BCTF strongly supports inclusion of Aboriginal content and understandings across the curriculum. This long-overdue development builds upon work the Federation has already done in supporting employment equity, enhancement agreements, and changes to teacher training programs. Following on the landmark Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, now is an important time to focus on education for reconciliation.

Ongoing concerns

Throughout the curriculum revision process there have been positive aspects, as well as outstanding concerns. This discussion paper highlights members’ perspectives on the revised BC curriculum.

The process of education change in BC is multifaceted and complex. Some changes are positive, but many ongoing concerns and unanswered questions remain. Resources, support for special education, implementation time frame, assessment, reporting, graduation requirements, and the scope of educational change are some of the areas members have addressed as concerning.

In BC, as in countries around the globe, teachers and their unions are deeply troubled by the increasing pressures toward privatization and commercialization of public education. Members are encouraged to be aware of these ongoing intrusions into quality public education. We need to continue promoting the importance and values of public education as outlined in the Charter for Public Education.

Questions from parents

If parents of your students come to you with questions about curriculum change, it’s a good idea to direct them to district administrators or the Ministry itself for information. Teachers should feel free to be straightforward with parents in expressing their concerns. As well, you may want to explain that for curriculum revision to be successful, resources and support are required—including support for students with special needs.

Stayed tuned

The BCTF will keep you informed as the process of curriculum revision unfolds. Watch for webinars, provincial specialist associations’ activities, and other supports. Additionally, you may contact your local executive committee with any questions about the redesigned curriculum.

Instructional samples created by teachers are gradually being uploaded on the Ministry’s website here, and will also be added to TeachBC.

New ministerial orders and policy

The Ministry of Education has posted some recent changes to ministerial orders in the following areas:

Educational Program Guide Order
Graduation Program Order
Provincial Examinations Order
Required Areas of Study in an Educational Program Order
Student Progress Report Order

The Ministry's new policy statement explains the rationale and guidelines to student reporting.

Education policy

Thank you

Thank you to the hundreds of BCTF members involved in the curriculum revision process. The Federation continues to advocate for additional supports, new funding for in-service and teaching resources, and the time teachers need for successful implementation.