BC’s curriculum has been redesigned to be “learner-centered and flexible and maintain a focus on literacy and numeracy, while supporting deeper learning through concept-based and competency-driven approaches” (BC Ministry of Education, 2015, p. 1). This
set of questions asked teachers to reflect on their level of support for and/or readiness to implement key conceptual elements of the
According to the Ministry's introduction document (BC Ministry of Education, 2015), the redesigned curriculum has been structured around three key features: core competencies, a Know-Do-Understand model, and numeracy and literacy foundations. Broadly,
the majority of teachers feel ready to implement these elements of the curricular model. However, a significant percentage do not feel ready or prepared for these elements.7
Inquiry and question-based approach
The redesigned curriculum promotes an “inquiry and question-based approach” to teaching and learning. A majority of teachers agree or strongly agree that they are ready to incorporate this approach into their teaching (61%), that this approach is relevant
and appropriate to the grades and/or subject areas they teach (69%), that this approach has a positive impact on their pedagogical practice and decisions (66%), and that this approach has positive impacts on student learning (70%). However, at least
one in five teachers disagree or strongly disagree with each of these statements.
Broadly, while many teachers support an inquiry approach, there is the perception that other approaches may sometimes be more appropriate, dependent on the subject, grade-level, or particular student needs.
“One model, inquiry learning, is one strategy. It should not be the only method.”
“There is too much emphasis on inquiry rather than practical foundational skills.”
“I am not convinced that inquiry is appropriate for all students. I feel this approach is being forced on us, and the result may be devastating.”
The approach itself requires time and resources, which are often lacking.
“Implementing the inquiry process is extremely difficult at the high school level. It requires technology and other resources in the classroom, which in turn requires funding. I would love to have the resources to start having the students engage in the
inquiry process but unfortunately this is not a reality at this time.”
“In order to implement inquiry based activities resources are needed; especially with access to technology and grade- level texts. ”
“The types of hands on learning and inquiry activities… call for increased prep time if people are really going to do these activities in a meaningful way.”
“It requires a lot of time to help [students] find resources that are accessible to them (e.g., at their reading and understanding level).”
There is also a need for funded in-service opportunities for teachers to explore the approach in the context of their own practice.
“I love the idea of teaching through inquiry and assessing abilities rather than content but have no practical knowledge of how to do that.”
“I’ve been to several workshops on inquiry based learning but I still don’t understand how to manage it. It’s not the questions that I ask but the participation factor. How to manage such disparate behaviours while also guiding the learning?”
ICT enabled learning environments
The Ministry of Education states that the redesigned curriculum is based on “Information and Communication Technology (ICT) enabled learning environments.” Teachers are divided as to the impact and appropriateness of these environments.
“I feel that all teachers would benefit from more training on how to use technology in the classroom.”
“The heavy focus on information technology and increased use of screen-time as a key part of the new curriculum can be in conflict with other important opportunities the curriculum offers, such as place-based learning.”
“Access to technology is still very low and not funded.”
“I feel there is a lack of access to technology (broken laptops, bad Wi–Fi, not enough computers, high demand) to implement the curriculum.”
“If the government wants 21st century learning, then a budget for that technology has to adequately address the need.”
Teachers describe access to technology that is appropriate to meet curricular demands as “inadequate,” “not readily available” and “poor.” For teachers to use technology as a potential tool within their pedagogical practice, there is an immediate
need for devices, infrastructure, and technical support.
Integrating Aboriginal perspectives
Another key aspect of the redesigned curriculum is the focus on integrating Aboriginal perspectives. Most teachers (81%) know whose traditional lands they are on. However, more than three out of four either do not know or are uncertain as to local protocols
regarding accessing (79%) and/or using and interpreting Aboriginal knowledges (85%).
“I feel that this area should be handled with sensitivity and respect. We need to ensure our resources are well-vetted and we need time to establish First Nations liaisons in our community. One-day workshops will not cut it in this area. If we are serious
about reconciliation then we have to be serious in our approach to implementation.”
Following Kanu (2011), Aboriginal perspectives “refers to curriculum materials, instructional methods/styles, and interaction patterns that Aboriginal peoples see as accurately reflecting their experiences, histories, cultures, traditional knowledges,
standpoints, and values” (p.30). Integration, in turn, can be explored as a “layering” at five “teaching moments” within curriculum planning and implementation. Over half of teachers do not feel ready or prepared to integrate Aboriginal perspectives
across these five moments.
Approximately 3 out of 4 teachers (76%) say that they do not have sufficient access to the necessary instructional materials needed to integrate Aboriginal perspectives in the classroom.
“Resources are available through Ab Ed but they are not easily accessible and it is challenging to coordinate with the school’s Aboriginal resource teachers.”
“We have been given nothing. We are expected to research and find our own instructional materials and use our own money in doing so.”
“This is a hugely important area and most teachers I know are scared to not do it justice and lack resources that are appropriate.”
“I am not sure where to start and where to find information.”
7 Note: Because of rounding (to the nearest whole number), some percentages may not add up to 100.