Friday, October 16, 2009

Ministry wants curriculum feedback

The Ontario Ministry of Education is putting its elementary curriculum through a review process and has gotten to the point where it's asking for feedback. The ministry web page is here, with a discussion paper PDF file and a link to a survey.
For context and comparative purposes, the existing ministry curriculum documents are here. From the discussion paper:
The working group asked people to share their thoughts about the elementary curriculum overall, and their concerns included the following:
  • Ensuring that the curriculum is engaging and relevant for a wide variety of students, in order to make equitable outcomes for all learners possible and to focus on the development of the whole child
  • Addressing the “overcrowdedness” of the curriculum (Comments included the following: “coherence across the curriculum”, “less is more”, “go deeper on fewer topics”, “address breadth and depth for improved student learning”.)
  • Examining conditions and structures at the school level that affect teaching and learning (e.g., combined grades, class size, adequate time in the school day for planning)
  • It is important to note that the feedback summarized above is consistent with the working group’s findings from secondary research with respect to new directions and trends in elementary curriculum that are being reported in other jurisdictions.
The discussion paper outlines the questions for each group (ie: parents, teachers, students...) it is intending to seek feedback from, and also includes a reminder of what is not included in this consultation.
The following topics are outside the scope of this consultation:
  • Assessment, evaluation, and reporting, which have recently been the subject of an extensive province-wide consultation
  • Specific details in the content of the curriculum (e.g., the study of a particular battle in the War of 1812)
  • Kindergarten and Early Learning, which are being considered in a separate process
  • Programming for students with special education needs, which has been the subject of separate discussions
  • Funding issues, including those relating to class size, which have been the subject of separate discussions
So, read up and then contribute if you have any particular passion for the elementary curriculum in this province. H/T to People for Education, who sent out news of the consultation through its regular e-mail newsletter.


Anonymous said...

I wish they would get the fundamentals of learning right and not spend so much time on fuzzy outcomes! There's too much in the curriclum because they put too much social engineering stuff in there.

Anonymous said...

Why blame the curriculum?
There are teachers who are getting though the curriculum just fine thanks very much.
Perhaps the Minister/Ministry need to get talking to some actual teachers on the ground rather than their union reps. because there are teachers who can get through the curriculum with time to spare, and those who can't.
Less time for character development assemblies and events that get in the way of teaching time would be my choice. Not tackling the curriculum in a big way...again!
So much for stability in the classroom.
I recall my son's Gr. 8 teacher's lament about how the previous grade's teacher didn't cover some items that he should have. Gr. 8 teacher was ticked because he couldn't do his own job until the kids that were promoted had a grasp of the material they should have had in Gr. 7.

Before they do a massive revamp of the curriculum there are many classroom management issues that need looking at first.

Let us also not forget that the Balanced School Day was supposed to remedy the workload for teachers and devote ample time to what was important.

Anonymous said...

Yawn. Another make-work project for 900 Bay St.

I agree with both anons. above in part.

The Balanced School Day schedule was supposed to fix everything.

Somehow this new elementary curriculum review is suspicious to me. Could it be that this is a ploy to have elementary teachers do less with fewer students for more money? We seriously have to go there folks because what's left?

Can't wait to see what the OSSTF has to follow with.

Education Reporter said...

I'd be surprised if the OSSTF commented on this review, given it represents high school teachers and this is an elementary curriculum review.

To other points-- I agree the curriculum needs periodic review and revision. Or we'd all be learning what was on the docket in Egerton Ryerson's days.

As an addendum, Moira MacDonald has a column in several Sun papers today on the curriculum review, and how poorly it's been publicized.


Anonymous said...

ER-Funny how only the "chosen" few get the inside information on all these feedback hearings. The rest of us get shut out. If it wasn't for Moira MacDonald and others the public would never know about what the government educrats were up to.

Anonymous said...

ER - I'm betting the OSSTF are watching this carefully and making darn sure that what ETFO gets out of this doesn't affect them to any great degree or make them look worse.

Don't forget that those secondary teachers will get the students eventually. Will they get them ready for THEIR curriculum.

In a perfect world the two complement each other, but, hey, this is Ontario where no one pays attention to issues like this until it hits them in their face or their union contract:-)