New ‘hands-on’ curriculum for B.C. schools

Basic skills won't suffer, but students will learn collaboration and critical thinking as well, says Education Minister Mike Bernier

Education Minister Mike Bernier

The new school year in B.C. is the start of a three-year transition to a new curriculum that Education Minister Mike Bernier says will emphasize “hands-on” learning.

The new curriculum is being phased in this year for Kindergarten to Grade 9, with higher grades still in development. Bernier said this year it will be up to local school districts and teachers to begin implementing it before it becomes mandator in the fall of 2016. Grade 10-12 curriculum is to be mandatory in 2017.

Bernier, the Peace River South MLA appointed education minister this summer, said he’s heard from teachers who are looking forward to a curriculum that allows more flexibility and individual learning. He stressed that basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic will remain, but students will also be taught life skills, communication, collaboration and critical thinking.

Two areas of emphasis for the new curriculum are environmental education and an aboriginal perspective, which Bernier said will be present in “every single component in the curriculum.” Local schools are encouraged to work with aboriginal communities across the province to represent the full diversity of aboriginal experience, he said.

Hands-on learning is already in place in schools, and Bernier used the example of a shop teacher in his home town of Dawson Creek who encouraged students at risk of dropping out to take his course. They learned mathematics and physics through taking motors apart and reassembling them, he said.

Bernier invited parents to look for themselves at grade-by-grade documents posted here, listing learning standards and areas of emphasis.

In the science curriculum, for example, students are to be taught “big ideas” that in grade one include “observable patterns and cycles occur in the local sky and landscape.”

By Grade 7, they are to learn at “Earth and its climate have changed over geological time.”

Science competencies required by grade seven include the ability to “exercise a healthy, informed skepticism and use scientific knowledge and findings for their own investigations to evaluate claims in secondary sources” such as media reports.

By that time they should be able to identify possible sources of error in their investigations, understand qualitative and quantitative evidence and “demonstrate an an awareness of assumptions … and bias in their own work and secondary sources.”

 

Just Posted

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

New Glade ferry enters testing phase

The Glade II will be able to carry heavier loads and will emit less greenhouse gases.

Kootenay Boundary remains in unusually dangerous avalanche period

Avalanche Canada says it expects snowpack conditions to get better soon

Freezing rain warning in effect for B.C. Southern Interior

Environment Canada issued the freezing rain warning for most of the Southern Interior Tuesday morning

Smiles all around as province announces emergency ward funding

$2.1 million to go to much-needed upgrades

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Whistler role in potential Calgary Olympic bid would be welcome: IOC

Calgary is mulling whether to vie for the 2026 Games, and could look to facilities in B.C.

Food industry failing at voluntary sodium reduction: Health Canada

Health Canada report shows the food industry made no meaningful progress in curtailing salt levels

Best B.C. cities to live in: millennial edition

Other local municipalities score at bottom of list from real estate blog

Solitary confinement in Canadian prisons unconstitutional: B.C. Supreme Court

Associations argued that solitary confinement was inhuman

1 in 4 B.C. consumers unable to pay bills, debt repayment: poll

Since interest rates first rose in July, poll suggests households across B.C. have had to tighten budget

SOGI rally disrupts school board meeting, but business carries on

Chilliwack school board makes statement in support of B.C.-wide gender identity teaching resource

B.C. husband and wife honoured for saving each other’s lives

Couple presented with Vital Link Awards for quick use of CPR

Most Read