On the morning of the first day, participants reviewed the reasons for curriculum updates in BC. In addition, a representative from FNESC shared the work being done around the province in embedding Aboriginal learning principles, content and worldviews.
In the afternoon, discussions focused around the need for concept-based learning and the KDU model as a framework (Know, Understand and Do), which is at the heart of the revised curriculum in BC. This covers the big ideas, core and curricular competencies and content needed in grades 5-12 for all additional languages. The process that the French teachers went through, as they revised the curriculum, was shared with the participants and common linguistic and cultural goals were talked about for all languages. Each language group was encouraged to develop one big idea and then to work through the curricular competencies and content for that big idea. It became clear that each language would be unique based on its linguistic and cultural needs and, as a result, it was made clear that each language may not be able to follow the French template exactly. In other words, one cannot just remove the word French and replace it with another language when revising the additional languages curriculum. For instance, languages requiring different script(s) would need to have a place for that in the revised curriculum and it was also mentioned that elaborations with videos (using sign language) would be helpful for American Sign Language teachers.
Questions were asked about assessment and using the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The Ministry asked us to “park” assessment for now, meaning this area will be discussed later. As far as the CEFR, it sounds like teachers will be able to use this if they desire, but it may not be written directly into the curriculum documents.
The Additional Languages Curriculum Writing Team will meet again October 3rd and 4th, November 8th and 9th and December 1st and 2nd. The goal is to have a draft out by early 2017. More news to follow…