Alberta announced it’s ending a focus on inquiry or discovery-based learning in public schools, and creating a new curriculum that focuses on foundational literacy and numeracy.
Education Minister Adriana LaGrange announced Thursday that the new curriculum will move away from “constructivism” that sees students learn through problem-solving and experimentation.
“Ultimately, this new ministerial order is a return to proven teaching methods that will set up Alberta students for rich personal and work lives,” LaGrange said.
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But Jason Schilling, president of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, says a curriculum is supposed to specify what teachers teach, not how they teach.
“When we talk about discovery learning, it’s pedagogy. It’s how teachers teach subject matter,” he said. “It’s not in the curriculum anywhere right now. It’s just a teaching method.”
Schilling believes teaching methods should be left up to teachers, because they’re the experts.
What’s more, teachers already focus on teaching the basics including numeracy and literacy in the classroom.
“As a high school English teacher, I focus on literacy a lot,” Schilling said. “It’s not new.”
He’d like to see the Alberta government work with teachers as it develops the new curriculum.
The new roadmap for what students learn in school has been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, LaGrange said. It should be ready in time for the 2022 school year.