I am writing in response to Jim Swan’s letter to the Advocate, dated May 20.
Swan doesn’t seem to realize that the curriculum currently taught in schools was created under previous Conservative governments. It was not designed by a group of leftists.
He also states that “discovery learning” was pushed into the existing curriculum. Swan doesn’t seem to understand that discovery learning is not a curriculum outcome. It is a teaching method that the teacher may, or may not choose to use. It is not required by the curriculum.
He also states that Alberta’s students are not doing well in international tests. Alberta students scored the best in Canada and among the top in the world in reading and science, according to results from the PISA standardized test. The Programme for International Student Assessment measures the achievement of 15-year-old students through a test it administers across 79 countries. Alberta students scored third in the world in reading and fourth in science. Alberta students scored second highest among Canadian provinces in math, behind only Quebec. These results are from 2018. The test is only given every three years, so these are the latest results available.
Could the current curriculum be improved? Yes, of course it could. Any curriculum should be revisited every few years. Is this a good time to introduce a new curriculum in every subject, from kindergarten to grade six? I don’t believe that it is.
Teachers right now are working in over-crowded classrooms, often with students who are not able to wear masks. Physical distancing is impossible. At least twice, they have had to switch between online and in-person learning. Some have had to repeatedly quarantine at home and there is a shortage of substitute teachers.
Even if this curriculum was the most wonderful curriculum ever written, this would not be a good time to introduce it. Teachers have more than enough on their plates. However, the new draft is badly designed, age-inappropriate, riddled with errors and would be a nightmare to teach. In my opinion, this curriculum has no place in Alberta schools at any time. Introducing it right now would add more stress to an already stressful situation, for both teachers and kids.
Jackie Moorhouse, retired teacher in Innisfail