A call to parents to get engaged in transforming education

There has been a lot of talk in the media lately about K-12 education.

Dear Editor,

There has been a lot of talk in the media lately about K-12 education. While it is always a good thing that parents and others are engaged and interested in the topic and sharing ideas, the Alberta School Council Association (ASCA) promotes a clear understanding of all the aspects of any issue affecting education.

Let’s start with math. Each curriculum has a set of outcomes that students are expected to achieve and, as with any curriculum, teachers have a certain degree of latitude and flexibility in their approach to delivering this curriculum to students so the outcomes are achieved.

This includes whether or not to have students memorize multiplication tables, use different and varied methods to teach multiplication, or use a combination of methods. Teachers today have a variety of learning styles in their classrooms, and meet these varying needs in different ways across subject areas.

Now let’s contemplate the future.

Recognizing how quickly the world around us is changing, Albertans, including parents, said (through the public consultation called Inspiring Education) that in order to prepare students for a future where technology is changing the way we access knowledge, where economic power is shifting and competition is on the rise, where brain research is informing how children learn, and where the pervasive use of social media is dominating our lives, learning should be grounded in literacy and numeracy skills providing our youth with a solid foundation.

Albertans said students should be prepared through a curriculum that is relevant, instills a curiosity to learn more, engages students and builds their critical thinking and problem solving skills, motivating them to strive for success. Albertans recognized that the current way of teaching and learning needs to evolve so our kids are prepared for a world we can only imagine a few years from now.

Right now in Alberta schools, students are being provided opportunities to be engaged in learning that we could not have dreamed of twenty years ago. Learning from Chris Hadfield while he floats in space, connecting with engineering or physics experts at MIT or the U of T, speaking with an Inuit elder and learning how global climate change is impacting the Canadian arctic – these are only some of the opportunities that exist for our students today and tomorrow.

Inspiring Education is building on today’s achievements, re-thinking and redesigning all aspects of teaching and learning, including curriculum, assessment and a variety of other elements, so Alberta’s students will be the engaged thinkers, ethical citizens with an entrepreneurial spirit needed for tomorrow’s world.

ASCA encourages parents and school councils to “get the facts” on what’s happening in your school. Talk to your teachers, principal, superintendent and school trustees or contact the Alberta School Councils’ Association to learn more.

Brad Vonkeman,

President

Alberta School Councils’ Association

 

 

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