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Curriculum development begins

October 7, 2016 Cory Hare, ATA News Managing Editor
An event organizer watches as a video outlines Alberta Education's vision for curriculum development at a gathering of working groups at the University of Alberta on
Monday, Oct. 3.

Hundreds of educators from all over the province gathered at the University of Alberta on Oct. 3 and 4 to start the process of redeveloping Alberta’s K–12 curriculum.

Education Minister David Eggen announced in June that he was launching a $64-million review of the Alberta curriculum. Alberta Education has since assembled expert working groups that will focus on the development of new curriculum in mathematics, English language arts, French language arts, français, social studies, sciences, wellness education and arts education.

The two-day working group gathering at the U of A was the first step in what’s expected to be a six-year process. Those gathered included teachers and academics, as well as representatives from school boards, superintendents and parent groups.

“I think that all of us know in our hearts that it’s not just another day but an historic occasion where we get an opportunity to work on curriculum together,” Eggen said in his opening address to a packed crowd at Myer Horowitz Theatre.

He told the crowd that the redevelopment is “the most comprehensive outreach and consultation with the general public that has ever been conducted in regards to curriculum or, I dare say, even education in general.”

The review will look to establish themes across subject areas, bolster education around climate change and the future of the planet, and look at how to integrate technology and give students more ­opportunities for hands-on learning, Eggen said.

“We will work to make sure that learning is always relevant to them,” he said.

He added that the new curriculum will incorporate indigenous issues at all grade levels.

“And, my friends, we will close the achievement gap for First Nations, Métis and Inuit students across this province too. That’s our ambition.”

He added that curriculum will be informed by ­research every step of the way.

“It won’t be a small undertaking, but certainly, it’s worth it.”

Alberta Teachers’ Association president Mark Ramsankar noted an air of excitement around curriculum development and noted how symbolic it was to be on campus for an early morning pipe ceremony, which enabled him to watch the sun rise in a cloudless sky.

“I thought, isn’t this the symbolism of what our endeavour is today? It’s the dawn of a new morning. It’s a historic event in Alberta’s curriculum development and where we’re going with education, and everybody in this room has a part of creating that history, and there isn’t a cloud in the sky,” he said.

“I have full confidence in the individuals in this room and the support from all of our stakeholders in creating something we can all be proud of and that will last for several generations.” ❚

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