Alberta’s new science and French K-6 curricula ready for piloting

Alberta’s new controversial K-6 school curriculum will be ready for piloting this fall.

Starting this September, schools can pilot the new science and French language and literature curricula in their classrooms. The pilot aims to help the Alberta government understand how the updated curriculum works in classrooms by allowing maximum flexibility and feedback, according to a press release.

The new science and French language curricula will include:

  • Integration of scientific methods and hands-on activities with an emphasis on connections to nature and digital literacy
  • Support for the development of francophone identity through the inclusion of francophone perspectives and cultures
  • Addressing of concerns with content load, age appropriateness, wording clarity and First Nations, Metis and Inuit content

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“We are another step closer to achieving our goal by moving forward with piloting more subjects of the draft K-6 curriculum,” Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said during a press conference on Tuesday morning.

“This phased approach is based on the expert advice of the curriculum implementation advisory group… Our science content is aligned with top performing jurisdictions not only in Canada but also internationally.”

Schools have until June 6 to declare their intent to participate in the piloting process. Alberta’s four French school boards have already said they will be participating in the French language and literature curriculum pilot this fall, despite initially refusing to implement the draft curriculum.


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“Since the publication of the last curriculum update, some teachers and academic advisors from all four french school boards have analyzed the information and have provided recommendations to the education ministry, to make sure it meets the needs of Alberta’s French community,” Tanya Saumure, president of the Fédération des conseils scolaires francophones de l’Alberta, said in French.

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The pilot is part of the United Conservative Party’s plans to revise the province’s K-6 curriculum to focus on literacy, numeracy and practical skills such as computer coding and budgets.

Earlier this year, the Alberta government established a curriculum implementation advisory group to help determine how the new curricula will be successfully implemented in the fall.


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But the draft curriculum has received harsh backlash from the Alberta NDP and the Alberta Teacher’s Association (ATA), with many saying it fails to address First Nations history and residential schools. Many school boards across the province have refused to pilot it.

The Northwest Territories have also dropped Alberta’s education curriculum in favour of B.C.’s last December.

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Education critic Sarah Hoffman said she still has concerns about the intent behind the curriculum, pointing to Chris Champion’s role in writing the social studies portion of Alberta’s K-6 draft curriculum. Champion is the editor of the Dorchester Review, which was blasted on social media last year over an offensive social media post about residential school children.

“Teachers keep telling us that they feel stressed and overwhelmed and the curriculum, in general, isn’t ready,” Education critic Sarah Hoffman told reporters on Tuesday.

“Teachers are feeling a lot of pressure … And now the government’s asking them to do even more.”

Jason Schilling, president of the Alberta Teacher’s Association, said the government is trying to rush curriculum changes without the approval of teachers, school boards and parents. The association still does not have a role within the implementation advisory group.

“I feel like they’re going to be inundating schools with yet another pilot project on top of what they’re already asking teachers and students to deal with,” Schilling said.


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“You have individuals who sit on the advisory implementation group that do not have to teach in schools … They are not the ones who have to be dealing with the effects.”

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Schilling also raised concerns about the lack of diverse perspectives in the draft curriculum, saying the government hasn’t released the feedback it has received from Indigenous communities and elders.

“We don’t know what kind of feedback that was given by francophone communities, LGBTQ2S+ communities and Indigenous communities.”

“We need to be able to see what that feedback was… We were told that the information would be released in May, but we’re still here,” Schilling said.

LaGrange defended the draft curriculum, saying the implementation group incorporated feedback from teachers and other stakeholders during the piloting of the first draft curriculum.

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“I would remind everyone that we did have teachers who piloted the subjects in the fall during the pandemic … They provided very rich feedback that we have incorporated.

“We really want to make sure that we are hearing the voices of the teachers, administrators and superintendents that are on the front lines of implementing the curriculum,” LaGrange said.

— with files from Carole Anne Devaney, Global News

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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