Saturday, September 28, 2019

National Curriculum

Did you receive an invitation recently to answer a survey regarding a national curriculum? I did and cannot remember where I got it! Perhaps it popped up when I logged into Tutela. Or maybe someone sent me the link. Hmmm.

I would love to hear from anyone who has received this, especially if their memory is better than mine. Lol. Unless someone else says they have seen this survey, I am going to start to think I dreamed it.

How do you feel about the creation of a national curriculum?

My feeling, which is what I responded when asked, is that I like resources to be organized according to settlement theme and then by level because that's how I teach. It makes sense to me that if I need a module package on the flu versus the common cold, I would look under HEALTH and would then go to the level appropriate for my learners.

I also responded in an extra comment box that I liked and used the heck out of the LINC 1-4 and 5-7 Classroom Activities with audio files and all of that, but that they are in dire need of updating. I would love to have a fresh, modernized set like that again.

What say you?

22 comments:

  1. No, you didn’t dream it. I filled out a survey as well. It was sent to us by our admin. I read somewhere that there is a working group already up and running to develop these new curriculum guidelines.

    - Susie

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    1. I heard that, too. I hope they have the good sense to form a feedback circle as was done in Belgium when they rolled out Task-based learning. They showed classroom teachers what they were developing and then got feedback, tweaked and then got more feedback, etc. It was a partnership.

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    2. Yes, imagine that?! Getting feedback from people actually on the ground implementing this thing...

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  2. I completed a survey upon request from admin. (I am one of the lucky few it seems, with good support IMO.) It's odd but I recently came to the conclusion to be "PBLA compliant" (and to keep my sanity) I need to do 2 things differently: 1) stop organizing my lessons by theme and 2) teach to the task almost exclusively. These are not things I would want to do... just a shift to be "compliant". BTW, I checked your blog early this Sunday morning, bracing myself for a 12 hour day (minimum) to prepare for the coming week. I guess I do have a "full" teaching load, but paid only for my time in the classroom. ; )

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    1. Thanks for letting us have a peek into your teaching life. Yes, I have heard many teachers say that in order to be compliant, they now just "teach to the test," or "teach to the assessment." But under PBLA and prior to PBLA, we were/are supposed to conduct needs assessments. So when your students vote to study Canada or health or law or food, don't you then have to organize your module and lessons by theme or at least by topics under a settlement theme? See what I mean? Wish I could sit down and have tea with you and learn more. Glad you have supportive admin, anyway. --KM

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    2. ME again... Yes, I do that. The students and I discuss this (difficult for the lit students, even with photos.) However, I have observed that the students do not care too, too much if I deviate a bit. For example, I will do a health topic again and again throughout the year (flu shots, dental care to co-ordinate with public health visits, etc.). Also, there is never a consensus when it comes to topics. Sometimes I do a themed lesson that only 2 or 3 people wanted. Also, I always find a way for my lessons to go under one of those settlement themes. BTW, when I actually plan my lessons, I LOVE it, coming up with ideas, finding good materials. It's just the balance. Right now, I am energized. Later, I will be drained no doubt.

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    3. Hey, "Me again!" I suggest that with literacy, you narrow the choices to just five or six themes, not the full twelve. That way you will be a lot more likely to get a majority in favour of one theme or topic. But yeah, I get you. Some points in the year cry out for us to present lessons around that, such as Thanksgiving, flu season, etc. So I just ask students if we can sometimes squeeze in a timely topic before going to the next thing they voted to study. Glad you're energized!!! :) KM

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  3. Kelly - Looks like you get your wish re update 5-7Activities Binder.
    TCDSB has a contract to create a new curriculum framework.(guidelines or set in stone?) for (I heard) the higher levels - delivery date - about a year. I imagine that it will be practical, relevant, professional, user friendly as (for me) the 5-7 Binder is. I heard that various SPOs are developing current single issue topic material - e.g. LGBTQ, Indigenous issues, diversity...looking forward to seeing material so long as they don’t pbla it (an assessment task on the TRC?
    Let’s hope not.) Also that they will be “not about us without us”....

    About theme/topic versus unit/ concept...For lower levels (up to Four) I agree with you - and there are months because of events/themes that do lend themselves to themes - Celebrations like Thanksgiving... Black History Month..Earth Day that I treat as “Themes”. But generally for higher levels I like a mix because I like the format of the 5-7 Activities Binder - 12 Units/Concepts with topics like Academic Writing; Business Writing; Graphs,Tables and Charts etc. There are.really great teaching activities (love them paragraphs) but of course you can supplement with other good material. The “content” in each unit ranges over different themes...Maybe it would be a good idea to have a “themes” index with page numbers, level, concept (thinking about great Grab Bag series that had this - Looking for grammar related - list of pages; for Citizenship? List of pages. Social Interaction?
    List of..you get the idea.

    The Curriculum survey? I didn’t get it. I’ll ask management.

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    1. Looks like the creators of the survey have provided the link! See below. As for themes, I think you and I are having a semantic argument. For me, a business letter still falls under the theme of commercial services. Look at the LINC 5-7 Classroom Activities binder. All those concepts are grouped by settlement theme. You might not present them all in one go, but they all fall under one of the twelve sanctioned themes. No, I'm not talking about Thanksgiving as a theme. Not talking about seasonal stuff. I'm talking about the twelve official settlement themes: At Home in My Community and in the World, etc.

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  4. I think grammar would be a good theme. We're all 'sneaking' it in where I work. Many people I work with have learned a second language themselves and all agree it is impossible without grammar and structure. Also. By the time students reach a higher level they don't want any more themes or modules. They now want to learn how to write a proper sentence and find out what verb tense is after all this talk about banking (seriously?) housing (they all found places to live ages ago) employment (we have employment centres in the city where I live) ad nauseum. When I gave my class the so called needs analysis - what do you want to learn about, check your priorities, I was mostly met with "Can we learn grammar?" How's that for a needs analysis. My students choose the structure and forms of the English language and how to build a sentence, write a paragraph, spell, use correct verb tense! bah.. who cares about that useless stuff. Let's do some more modules!

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    1. I think that it is a crime if any teacher is being dissuaded from teaching contextualized grammar. Every time I play Sentence Unscramble with literacy students, I am teaching grammar (syntax). I never utter the metalanguage, but they are learning sentence structure nonetheless. It doesn't have to be out of the Azar book to be grammar. --KM

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  5. The Toronto Catholic District School Board has been contracted to develop a new LINC/CLIC National Curriculum Framework. Geoff Lawrence and colleagues joined the project to carry out research that will inform the development of the framework. One of their goals is to connect with instructors to find out about their experiences and perspectives related to LINC/CLIC teaching. To do this, we’ve designed an online survey for teachers and ask for your support in completing it.



    Below you will find a link to the survey



    If you have any questions/concerns, please email me, Geoff at geoff.lawrence@yorku.ca.



    Many thanks for your support with this research and the development of this curriculum framework!

    Geoff Lawrence, Antonella Valeo and Peggy Irwin.


    LINC Instructor Survey - https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Framework2019

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    1. Thank you so much, Geoff, Antonella, and Peggy for the link and for asking teachers for our input. Keep doing that, please! At every step! :) --KM

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  6. BUMP

    We all need to get behind the following idea! A national union for ESL teachers. Maybe. But paid prep for all. YES!

    http://blog.teslontario.org/is-your-time-being-fully-compensated-as-an-esl-linc-teacher/

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  7. "with a heavy workload and high pressure situations"

    https://globalnews.ca/news/5939433/stress-leave-canada/?utm_source=AM980London&utm_medium=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR3hhVw1-pMY3Cim_s8fzpUKT3ckGsu1qwIxqX-JtDLAFKBQOHPco6DBvRE

    PBLA in Ontario

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    1. Yes, we have GOT to address that aspect of PBLA, whether it is "here to stay" or not. KM

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  8. Yes Kelly, Stress - PBLA REQUIREMENTS and the binder reviews for performance evaluation - “workload increased 400%- pay - 0%”

    Managers (and unions) will say “Don’t create tasks - use what has been created. SIGH. There’s more to using a ready made “resource” that some other (inexpert) task assessment creator has made than just copy and plonk in front of the learner.

    But teachers have stopped caring.
    We teach to a test - any test, no matter how bizarre we think they might be...Just to fill up the “Inventory Lists”. (I’m told Inspectors just look at Inventory lists.I’m tempted to ipsum lorem my task assessments and rubrics...LOL - even that would take unpaid time..)

    I’m disappointed to say the National Curriculum survey was NOT about updating the LINC activities spiral books and binders. It looks to be another huge tome with lovely suggestions for us - to include “current” issues but little usable”flesh”.

    A large part was on educational technology and online teaching. It was obviously about plans for moving ESL/LINC online or at least to blended mode (Shades of Ford).

    Kelly - both you and I know how much time is involved in edtech and teaching online unless a full curriculum, prepared lessons plans and assessments are provided. Dream on. Same errors as PBLA will no doubt be made...

    I see more teacher unpaid time looming.

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  9. "...unless a full curriculum, prepared lessons plans and assessments are provided. Dream on. Same errors as PBLA will no doubt be made..."

    How amateurish does this linc/pbla operation have to get before someone blows the whistle on this charade? Almost all schools I have worked at provide a curriculum and at least some if not most of the materials. Professional schools have all of this-they choose a good textbook (why create everything from scratch when there are professionally designed textbooks out there), slot them into each level under a created curriculum with plenty of materials to match. A private school I worked at before doing linc had all of this and it was excellent. Of course, government-run schools can run these small schools out of business because they can pay more, but then they provide little in the way of curriculum or materials and the crap linc/pbla system requires re-inventing the wheel. The fools who created this disaster think they are smarter than everyone else in this business. It is blatantly obvious that the creators of this are rank amateurs who are not teachers or if so, are/were terrible ones.

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    1. IF you add into the mix that lower level managers were given more power than they have earned or were trained for then you see the main failure. Instructors are being tortured by PBLA. One workplace has just listed to the minute work hours. One must arrive at work at 8:42 am and leave work at 3:18 pm. What is forgotten is that PBLA cannot be completed in those hours when 5 hours of student contact are considered. Plus one must never leave the classroom during student contact hours or there will be consequences. When will this nightmare end? I am really tired. I have only been in the ESL business for a few years but it seems to me that it is a poor example of professionalism and an excellent example of worker exploitation. AVOID ESL and LINC in Canada. Take any job, anywhere else because PBLA is a disaster for students success and a nightmare for staff.

      Recent instructions: no photocopying, or prepping allowed during "classtime" and this is with continuous intake. Micromanagement at its best. Exploitation. Over worked. Underpaid.

      The fools who created this disaster are amateurs at supporting learning.

      Oh and then there is the the Teacher Self-Assessment section of the PBLA Framework Handout. Does anyone else have to hand this into administration at your service provider? Wish PBLA and its creators would all just "f" off.

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  10. YES 100% agree and it's not getting any better. How much longer will this continue before all of the good teachers quit? They can't even find teachers to fill positions (replace teachers who have quit) at the place where I work. Anyone with any sense of how to teach ESL knows this is an absurd and terrible joke.

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