By Ian Croft
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
With the Alberta provincial government releasing a new curriculum for Kindergarten to Grade 4, the Alberta Teachers’ Association has been less than impressed with it.
“When we saw the new curriculum, teachers were rightfully upset. So, the curriculum that teachers saw when it came out, they felt it was not age-appropriate or grade-appropriate,” said Jason Schilling, Alberta Teachers’ Association president. “We saw a lot of content included in the curriculum that was traditionally taught at upper elementary or even middle school brought down to the elementary level. Teachers have a lot of concerns about that aspect especially because they will not be able to bridge those concepts from the old curriculum to the new curriculum very well.”
Schilling discussed how they are now seeing the new curriculum and they still have concerns about it.
“Now, the government has gone through a process of getting feedback, the association has traditionally in the past been involved in every step of the process, but the government chose in 2019 to tear up an agreement that we had as full partners between the government and ATA on design and implementation,” said Schilling. “So, when we saw the new version that came out just a couple of weeks ago, we were still analyzing that, but teachers have seen some improvements in some areas, but we’re still concerned about the age and grade appropriateness of the material, especially within the mathematics curriculum.”
An example of one of their concerns was with the mathematical program and the change that will be occurring within Grade 2.
“The knowledge of how we do numbers in Grade 2 is teachers work up to about 100, but that number is going to change to about 1,000 and that is a big concept jump for kids who are about 10 or eight years old,” said Schilling. “That is just one example of something that you might see in the math. You see a concept in an upper grade brought down to a lower grade and teachers are concerned about students’ ability to handle that information/that content in a way that’s going to make them successful at school because ultimately that’s what we would like to see.”
Schilling shifted gears and began to discuss the problems of the general implementation within language arts and how the government focused on a singular method of teaching is detrimental to the classroom.
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