I have been reading about the BC Education Plan, trying to become an informed participant in the change that is going to happen in BC schools. I’m drawn to the first of the five elements the most, Personalized Learning, probably because of my special education background. I think the plan involves significant changes to the options for learning, and whether or not I think they’re the right approach, these options are going to grow. I can, however, look at the changes that are possible in the classroom that exists now.
I am not worried about designing curriculum to reflect the core competencies. We have been doing this for a number of years now-every lesson is planned with goals of critical thinking. I also like the move to fewer but higher level outcomes. I think this will affect secondary level math and science the most, as the rush to cover content has been the biggest hurdle for my students. For my own sons, who enjoy these subjects, I know they would enjoy delving deeper into these subjects, especially if it meant less rush for homework. The increased flexibility is a nice idea-I don’t know what it will look like, but I know it will help with the students who are at risk of dropping out of school. When I was was teaching solely in the Learning Assistance program, my high risk students were the ones who hated school, and only went along with it because they had to. For some students, there was always a breaking point, where they just gave up. If there are more options for these kids, it has to be a good thing. I think it’s easier for a student to accept the need to get over the hurdle of basics, if they also have the freedom to study topics that interest them. My concern will be for lower income families though. For students whose parents are already paying for music lessons, for example, there won’t be much change. I worry about access to enriching programs for low income families. This is where I see a potential discrepancy between different communities in the province. If the plan is meant to increase the number of students graduating with a dogwood certificate, then some logistics are going to be needed to support these families.