With Gratitude

January 13, 2023


The size and scale of educational change over the past couple of years has been extraordinary. Prior to Covid-19, educational instruction was face to face with limited teachers using a blended model like Moodle, Canvas etc.  During Spring Break of 2020, teachers flipped their primary delivery to remote and worked to learn a multitude of online delivery platforms. This was and is a tremendous amount of learning and doing by teachers to sustain education.  Then in April/ May of 2020, we transitioned to a blended model whereby students experienced both face-to-face and online.  Yet another learning trajectory for teachers.  The following year, 2020-21, and 2021-22, we delivered education in no less than 7 different versions, schedules, and/ structures. 

I am grateful for a team of educators, who while experiencing with their own uncertainties around the pandemic, maintained the delivery of learning in various forms while learning many technological platforms that were not utilized prior.  Subsequently, many educators have continued to deliver their curriculum in a blended model making instruction visible from anywhere, anytime.   I cannot think of a profession that has made such a shift in pedagogy (strategies used to instruct) and delivery (the how). 

This year, at Mouat, staff have been working to align their instruction, and assessment to the revised curriculum with its emphasis on using learning standards to demonstrate curricular competencies (skills) versus content memorization. All staff have developed an inquiry-based unit which allows for students to have more flexibility in what they learn, and how it is demonstrated.  In a nutshell, inquiry allows all students an entry point into learning with individual choice while being relevant and meaningful.  In addition, staff have been working through incorporating the provincial proficiency scale (extending, proficient, developing, emerging) into their assessment practices.  For many staff, this has meant a significant shift in what and how they assess student learning.   Parents can see this as measuring a curricular competency rather than an end score on a test or assignment.  Much of the philosophy for inquiry, and proficiency revolved around Michael Fullen’s, former Dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto, work around Deeper Learning.  Deeper Learning means that what a student learns must be connected to the know or mastery, the do or creativity, and the understand or identity as part of the BC Curriculum.  Why the term deeper learning? The phrase incorporates what we know about how the brain retains learning.  When we connect learning to our sense of self, and to the act or skill (the do/ creativity), we cement the learning within the cortex of our brain.  For example, we can remember a learning experience based on an emotion, an experience, or even a meaningful connection to self.

I am grateful to a staff of educators, who have worked to continue their learning as educators, make changes within their classroom, all while delivering day to day lessons and learning.  I am grateful to staff who while learning new pedagogies, and assessment are also working through new technology platform changes like the MyEd gradebook, Teams, Clevr, and Learning Management systems like Brightspace.  Like our students, learning never ends and it can be a daunting amount of change, risk, failure, productivity, and success.