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Blog: Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Doors to a Future

By Kevin Godden, Superintendent of Schools

As you know, the curriculum in BC is being redesigned to better prepare our students for tomorrow. This has occurred after years of research and consultation about the needs our students, and the skills they will need to thrive in 21st Century. Educators who work at the Gr. 10-12 level, and parents who have teenagers, are particularly interested in the changes to the “grad program”. While still not completely finalized, the 2017/18 “Path to Graduation” outlines the kinds of courses (still 80 credits) students will need to fulfill the BC Dogwood requirement.

While the revised “Graduation Pathways” program bears some resemblance to the outgoing “Grad Program,” an objective observer would say that the major difference is that the revised program has more ‘space,’ pathways as it were - students are able to invest half of their energies (40 credits) in their areas of passion. It is a recognition of the ever growing diversities of our learners, and the interesting and complex world in which they will live.

A recent visit to China as part of our International Student Program, has prompted some questions as to the place that language learning and global education fit into our redesigned curriculum. Both the previous and revised graduation programs, have a second language requirement to grade 8, though the vast majority of students continue with this into senior grades.

One of my curiosities has to do with the role that an understanding of languages and cultures will play in the fast paced and interconnected world that students will live. While we all know that English is perhaps a primary world language, we would be foolish to think that an understanding of Mandarin, Hindi, French and/or Spanish will not be essential for our students to thrive tomorrow. If we want our children to participate in the global economy and social fabric of the world, they must be as engaged in language learning as much as their European and Asian counterparts.

Should this be prescribed more in the Graduation Pathways, or is it simply one of the pathways we allow students to choose for themselves? I would argue that languages (and hence culture) are critical doors to the future that our school system must embrace in order to fully realize the goal to make our students 'educated citizens.'

Are we missing an opportunity by not clearly building the language pathway into our curriculum? What do you think?

By Kevin Godden
Kevin Godden
Kevin Godden

By Kevin Godden, Superintendent of Schools

Kevin has been the Superintendent of Schools for the Abbotsford School District since July 2011, overseeing some 19,000 students and 2,500 employees. Kevin is committed to student success in all forms and envisions a school district that can nimbly respond to the ever changing needs and interests of its students.