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Learning for the real world

On Monday night, September 21, RJDS is holding its annual Meet-the-Teacher evening. The evening is a great opportunity for parents and teachers to meet and connect, learn about what students will be learning this year in class, and have an overall picture of the school year.  Over the course of the evening, many teacher presentations will be referencing BC’s new curriculum, which is the plan that maps out what teachers teach and what students are expected to learn.  The redesigned curriculum (which I encourage you to check out for yourself at is being fully implemented in all public and independent schools throughout the province over a three-year period (2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18), and it “maintains a focus on sound foundations of literacy and numeracy while supporting the development of citizens who are competent thinkers and communicators, and who are personally and socially competent in all areas of their lives.

Our school’s plan for 2015-16 is to maintain our existing curriculum while exploring and experimenting with the components of the newly redesigned curriculum that link to existing curriculum outcomes – in other words, in a planned way, we are taking the redesigned curriculum for a test drive this year.  The school’s administration and teachers have been exploring the redesigned curriculum since the latter half of the 2014-15 school year, and will be devoting the bulk of this years professional development and collaborative learning opportunities to ensure that we are fully ready for the redesigned curriculum and that we meet all curricular compliance requirements.

While there is new content that will need to be taught, much of what the redesign is about is more about HOW the information is taught as opposed to WHAT is taught – it’s a shift in how we educate in order to ensure that our children get the education they need to be successful, now and in the future. Guiding principles behind the redesigned curriculum and some of its key features that are worth mentioning here are:

  • Personalizing learning by tapping into student interests to help them learn;
  • The redesigned curriculum develops around key content, concepts, skills and big ideas that foster the higher-order thinking required in today’s world.
  • Core competencies are balanced with a solid foundation of skills (reading, writing and math); and
  • Applying what students have learned to real-life situations

I’m a visual person, and it helps me to see a concept being illustrated – I often get lost in the big words and complicated educational jargon.  However, the idea behind it all makes a lot of sense to me.  The way I see it, we want our children to move beyond just using something like a compass in school for the sole purpose of an assignment or homework…


… and do something amazing with the information it provides, apply that learning to the real world, and in the process discover beauty and magic and a world of opportunities, based on a solid foundation of learning and skills.  A case in point:

Again, it’s not the WHAT we teach, it’s the HOW we teach.  Do it right, and you capture a student’s imagination, the world opens up to them and they develop a deep understanding of the nature of things, and an infinite set of ideas and possibilities becomes a part of their reality.

That’s an idea we can all wrap our heads around.


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