“Consultation is not endorsement.” This is a comment I heard late last year when discussing the now released K–6 curriculum.
Since August 2019 teachers have been put on the sidelines of the curriculum redesign process and it shows. By disregarding the expertise and experience of teachers, the government has set up the redesign process for potential failure, something that Alberta teachers have said they do not want to see. Teachers want a new curriculum that excites their students and engages their learning. Our current curriculum is outdated in many respects; however, we don’t modernize an outdated curriculum by including outdated thinking and research around curriculum and pedagogy.
When reviewing the draft curriculum, I see issues with both the content and the validation process. Obviously, there are sections of the curriculum that are flawed with regard to content, scope and sequencing. There are also several issues with process. There is a lack of concrete answers to our questions about resources, professional development and assessment. There are even greater gaps of silence when it comes to inclusion.
These issues could have been avoided if the government had chosen to engage the profession in a more meaningful way as has been done in the past. Teachers know what they are doing. They are experts in curriculum and pedagogy, and they can tell the difference between the two. They know what works and what does not.
If consulted, the profession could be working with a draft curriculum that excites teachers in a very different way than this current one does. The government may not have wanted your voice in this process, but the Association does. Even though they did not ask us, we will still provide them our thoughtful and professional advice.
We’ve launched a comprehensive engagement project with active teachers to gather feedback on the proposed curriculum. The project includes an online questionnaire that’s open to all teachers and principals in Alberta’s public education system. A number of round-table discussions with subject-matter and curriculum-development experts will follow in late spring. The ATA will provide updates and a final report to the government and the public.
Teachers care about curriculum — it speaks to the very heart of our work, our students and their future. Please take time to become involved in this engagement process, first by visiting our website and completing the questionnaire. We need to make sure our voices are heard loud and clear. ❚