(FILE PHOTO) This is the first year that B.C.’s re-designed curriculum will be fully implemented from kindergarten to Grade 12, notes guest columnist.

(FILE PHOTO) This is the first year that B.C.’s re-designed curriculum will be fully implemented from kindergarten to Grade 12, notes guest columnist.

OPINION: New curriculum responds to rapidly changing world

President of B.C. School Trustees Association says focus is on improving student achievement


This week, students across British Columbia will walk through the doors of their local schools.

This is the first year B.C.’s redesigned curriculum will be fully implemented from kindergarten through to Grade 12. The new curriculum changes how and what our children learn to match the evolving needs of our communities. For some, the difference between the way they were taught and how today’s children are taught might lead to concern that their kids are not receiving a robust education.

Did you know that B.C. has one of the top-performing education systems in the world? B.C. students earned the top spot for reading, came second in science and sixth in math in the 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Seventy-two countries and all 10 Canadian provinces participated in the assessment. B.C.’s education system is not only doing a good job educating students, it’s leading the world. In response to our success, the OECD hosted an international education conference in Vancouver this past May so that educators from other countries could come to B.C. to study our highly successful education system.

If we’re doing so well, why change anything? Our world is growing more complex every day. B.C.’s redesigned curriculum will give students the skills, knowledge and competencies they’ll need to succeed in the future. The new curriculum has three elements: content, curricular competencies, and big ideas. Content is what students are expected to know, curricular competencies are what students are expected to do and big ideas are what students are expected to understand. It may look different, but literacy and numeracy remain the curriculum’s core foundation. Additional focus on creative and critical thinking, communication, and personal and social responsibility will create educated citizens who are able to contribute to a rapidly changing world and shape a better future for us all.

B.C.’s school trustees, and the boards of education they serve on, help districts stay focused on improving student achievement. Trustees work at the local level with the goal of ensuring every region has access to an education system that reflects the needs of their community. Similarly, the new curriculum embraces place-based learning, emphasizing Indigenous perspectives and languages, as well as considering a student’s identity and their responsibilities to themselves and their community.

If you feel concerned about what your child is learning, the best action you can take is to develop a positive relationship with the classroom teacher. Our teachers are expertly trained educators who can reassure you that your children are learning in a way that will prepare them to be thoughtful, contributing citizens.

New ideas take time to get comfortable with. But just as we expect fields like medicine, law and engineering to evolve, so too should we expect our education system to keep pace with changing needs.

Public education in B.C. continues to improve by implementing the best in educational research and practice in our classrooms to prepare students to meet the challenges they will face in an increasingly complex world.

Stephanie Higginson is president of the British Columbia School Trustees Association and a school trustee for Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Emergency crews used a backhoe loader to clear fire debris from the scene of a fire on Wesley Street Thursday as police and firefighters gathered up propane tanks, stoves and fireplaces used by camp residents to heat tents. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
UPDATE: City dismantling Wesley Street homeless encampment after fire

Fire broke out at about 12:15 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ staff and trustees held their annual general board meeting Dec. 2 via Microsoft Teams. (SD68 image)
Nanaimo Ladysmith school district chairperson retains role, new vice-chair chosen

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools held annual general meeting Wednesday

(Black Press file)
RDN strengthens security after being alerted to publicly accessible property ownership information

Regional District of Nanaimo investigates, reports to privacy commissioner after anonymous e-mails

Steve Metcalfe, Quality Foods Harewood store manager, holds a poinsettia and a Coins for Kids donation jar, two symbols of Christmas spirit. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin
Coins for Kids collects for Christmas causes in Nanaimo

News Bulletin fundraising for Great Nanaimo Toy Drive, Boys and Girls Clubs

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

A 53-unit building to be built at 6010 Hammond Bay Rd. (City of Nanaimo image)
Province announces support for 50 units of affordable housing on Hammond Bay Road

Building B.C. Community Housing Fund partners with Nanaimo Affordable Housing Society

The driver of a car that crashed in downtown Nanaimo Tuesday is facing multiple charges. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
RCMP recommending impaired driving charge after crash into lamp post in downtown Nanaimo

Driver sped away after ‘heated argument’ in another part of downtown, say RCMP

Beef to the business at the mall that told me I had to provide personal information for COVID tracing. After assuring me I would not receive marketing e-mails, they proceeded to send me e-mails promoting their business.
Beefs & Bouquets, Dec. 2

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

A company with a lab in Nanaimo has federal government approval to manage research intended to standardize extraction of a psychedelic compound, psilocybin, from magic mushrooms. (Wikipedia Commons photo)
Experts favour use of magic mushroom derivatives for research into mental health treatment

Educators, researchers see value in studying psilocybin’s effect treating mental health and addiction

Nanaimo City Hall. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo’s financial plan includes $314 million for projects

Potential property tax increase now at 3.0 per cent, budget meetings continuing

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Most Read