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2017 BCTF Curriculum Change and Implementation Survey

Executive Summary

The 2017 BCTF Curriculum Change and Implementation Survey aimed to develop a deeper understanding of the state of curriculum change across the province and shape the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation’s priorities for supporting members in relation to curriculum change. The survey report highlights teacher perspectives in four key areas:

Curricular model: The  model  for  BC’s  redesigned  curriculum  has been  designed  around  a  number  of  key  conceptual  elements (core competencies, a Know-Do-Understand model, literacy and numeracy foundations, inquiry and question-based approaches, ICT-enabled learning environments, integrating Aboriginal perspectives). Teachers are at different places in relation to their readiness to implement these key elements, and have different opinions as to the appropriateness of some of these elements in their classrooms. There is an immediate need for adequate and accessible resources and in-service time to support these elements.

Teacher autonomy and workload: During  this  intensified  period of curriculum change, teachers are asserting their professional autonomy to exercise their judgement and act on it in the classroom, working to meet the diverse needs of students in their care. However, substantial change, with minimal time and support, has resulted in a significantly increased workload for many teachers. This is taking its toll.

Involvement, professional development, and learning: Teachers have been involved in a range of formal structures related to curriculum  change,  but  have  mixed  feelings  as  to  whether they have had a meaningful voice in shaping the process of curriculum change to date. This can lead to frustration with both the process and the curriculum. Teachers have also participated in a range of professional development activities. These activities have contributed to an increased workload and many teachers perceive that these activities have had little or no impact on their preparedness for implementing the redesigned curriculum.

Curriculum implementation: Teachers are at different stages in the process of curriculum implementation, and are divided as to what extent they feel supportive of the redesigned curriculum. Besides creating space for teachers to engage with the curriculum in the context of their right to diverse pedagogical practices and decisions, there is an urgent need for instructional materials and clear and helpful guidelines in relation to assessment and reporting. Teachers also feel that classroom and learning conditions are impacting on their ability to successfully implement the redesigned curriculum.

The survey results illustrate what is urgently needed is a shift from whether teachers are (“correctly”) implementing the curriculum, to whether the curriculum is providing space for the multiple knowledges, experiences, and needs that make up teaching and learning in BC. This requires three curricular conditions: (1) time and space for curriculum as an ongoing conversation, (2) educational systems and structures that support curricular demands, and (3) a flexible, adapted, and fully resourced implementation process.

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