Short implementation time of curriculum questioned

·3 min read

Teachers and administrators at schools across the South Peace are feeling they have little time to prepare for the implementation of the new curriculum this fall.

Students in kindergarten to grade 3 will be receiving the new curriculum in mathematics and English language arts and literature, while kindergarten to grade 6 will be receiving the new physical education and wellness curriculum.

The province says it is giving teachers the needed support and resources to implement the new curriculum in September.

Many critics disagree, saying teachers are not ready for a September implementation.

“With only weeks left in the school year, there is no way that teachers, without any resources developed or supports already in place, can successfully plan instruction in multiple subjects by September,” said Jason Schilling, Alberta Teachers Association president.

The province says videos and support documents will be available with an overview and orientation to the new curriculum, along with other digital resources such as Gizmos (Explore Learning) and Jump Math. Gizmos provides 400 labs and interactive simulations, while Jump Math will give the teachers mathematics resource guides and lesson slides, says the province.

Andrea Willman, a substitute teacher in the Grande Prairie Public School Division and mother of two in Grades two and five, says her faith in the province's ability to have resources out in time is “slim”. She noted that the province's rollout of masks to schools had masks arriving at schools well after the province had removed mask mandates.

She said that programs like Jumpstart are used in the South Peace, but only as supplements and are only a small piece to help teachers.

“It's not a saving grace sort of thing,” she said.

“The best thing that the province can do is make sure everything is fully funded,” said Willman.

She said that teachers are professionals and “will do the best they can with what they have”.

“It used to be that everyone could have faith in the system is going to figure it out, but now it feels chaotic,” said Willman.

Marina Chondros is a mother of two children in grades 2 and 4 at École St-Gérard Catholic School. She is worried that with having her children in French immersion that the resources will not be in place for those teachers in time for proper planning.

“I have faith that the teachers will do their best, but I'm upset that children will be placed in this position by a government that just seems too stubborn to listen and wants to push through a curriculum that's just not ready,” said Chondros.

“I'm not sure who they're representing, but I don't think they're representing Albertans, so that should worry all of us.”

Teachers are going to need more support, says Willman.

“The best thing for teachers is when they can be in the classroom, shut the door and build relationships with their kids, and build relationships with the parents and have a path forward and with the resources; that's the best-case scenario,” she said.

She hopes parents are on board to help teachers as they transition to the new curriculums on short notice.

Willman says that the timeline of pushing these curriculums through is unlike any other curriculum she’s heard of.

She wonders if where the pilots were done, how many resources were given to those teachers and classes and will those resources be the same across the province.

Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News

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