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

Nine fires burning in West Kootenay

All fires considered to be lightning caused.

PHOTOS: Castlegar swimmers at Trail meet

Castlegar swimmers took part in the Greater Trail Stingrays meet last weekend.

PLACE NAMES: Rossland neighbourhoods, Part 1

Early Rossland townsite built on top of mining claims

Castlegar mayor releases FCM itinerary

Bruno Tassone delivers promised report on activities at Quebec City municipal conference

Castlegar watering restrictions start this week

No watering or car washing allowed between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

Most Read