Alberta Education redesigning high school to provide flexibility for students
Thursday, May 16, 2013 12:38 pm
ALBERTA’S MINISTER OF EDUCATION JEFF JOHNSON ANNOUNCED A NEW APPROACH THAT WILL GIVE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IN ROCKY VIEW SCHOOLS (RVS) A MORE FLEXIBLE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT, MAY 8.
The new high school flex approach will eliminate the requirement for students to have 25 hours of face-to-face instruction time per course.
“We are rethinking and redesigning high school to provide flexibility for students and teachers,” Johnson said.
“Linking credits to the time a kid spends sitting in a desk is too prescriptive for some high school students, especially those who don’t require the full 25 hours of face-to-face instruction to master the curriculum.”
Students will have the option to take a course with the traditional teaching approach or they can engage in the new model, which uses online tools for students to access course information inside and outside of class 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
“We know the time constraint for students having to sit in seat for 125 hours for five credit courses isn’t always working,” agreed Rocky View Schools (RVS) Superintendent of Schools Greg Bass.
“The new standard will allow students the opportunity to work within a block of time in a more flexible way,” he added.
Bass said the traditional way of learning breaks the day into four 88-minute blocks of time, in which students sit in a classroom and are instructed by the teacher.
The new high school flex approach implemented by Alberta Education will allow students to work through the curriculum at their own pace and is restructured so time is more seamless, Bass said.
Students can still go to the teacher when they need further assistance with the course material.
Bass said some students could take the path to complete the curriculum in a shorter time, which will allow them to take different courses.
“As students have more flexibility and time in which they move through courses, they have the time to take other courses including some post-secondary,” the superintendent said.
“It allows the ability for students to work forward at a self-directed pace,” he added.
RVS’ Springbank Community High school participated in the High School Flexibility Enhancement project, the Alberta government’s pilot project on the approach, for the last two years and Bass said the gleaning gained from the project is amazing.
“With a relaxation of the 25-hour requirement schools can look at alternative ways students can learn, whether that’s in front of a teacher or not,” said Sprinbank Community High Principal Leslie Collings.
“The teacher becomes more of a facilitator and coach,” she added.
Johnson said the flex approach allows high school students to focus on other curriculum needs and access additional teacher supports during the school day,
“It also allows students to continue their progress in a particular course beyond the scheduled semester, rather than awarding them a failing grade and having them retake the course,” he added.
“I’m just really, really excited for our students,” Bass said.