Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Final Meeting of Communication Competency Workgroup

In late November we finished a series of meetings as a Communication Competency Workgroup. It was a rich experience and the collaboration was organic. Our time was focused on sharing samples of student work and sharing ideas to help define and create a Communication Competency Continua as part of BC's new draft curriculum. It was exciting to be a part of a mix of teachers representing a huge mix of students at various points and on various paths in their learning. It was clear as we met and shared our work that competencies are nothing new. What will be new is the continua, a tool for BC and by BC to help each student grow in the core competencies. The group was one of nine in the province meeting to work on continua for the new competencies. The three competency continua being drafted at this time were Creative Thinking, Positive and Personal Cultural Identity, and Communication Competency. Our group was one of three working on Communication Competency. 

Sharon Joerski, the Researcher working with the Ministry, reported on the work in December and we expect more to be published about the three competencies shortly. The ministry website summarizes our work prior to the November meetings. Unfortunately what has not yet been made public is the collection of samples of student work on which the continua has been built. We've been told that these will be available as resources to us develop our understanding of the continua and find ways to tie our work to it. 

Sharon shared with us some of the attributes of the continua as they are being discussed. Its agreed that the competencies are:
  • inclusive: everyone is included in the competencies
  • strength-based: they are additive and progressive
  • student-centred
  • holistic
  • interconnected (3 with sub parts are all connected)
  • about bringing coherence
  • everyone’s responsibility
  • BC Classroom Based
  • continuous and longitudinal
  • authentic
In wrapping up our time together we were asked four questions. I've summarized some of our thoughts here. Hopefully this provides some food for thought as we provide additional feedback to the Ministry on the draft curriculum.  
  1. How do we see the continua being used?
    • assessment (feedback, planning)
    • communicating with parents
  2. What would be a good starting place?
    • build a collection of examples
    • open discussion and collaboration on communication
  3. What tips do we have in presenting the continua?
    • interactive
    • user friendly (Teacher, Student, and Parent)
    • accessible language
    • lots of examples
  4. What implementation advice do we have?
    • provide time and resources to staff
    • slow roll out (perhaps with optional years, pilot years?)
    • address questions of Why?
I'm looking forward to the SD57 "Exploring Draft Curriculum" workshops as a forum for discussing the competencies, the continua, and the new curriculum as a whole. I've also enjoyed participating in conversations via the #bccurric hashtag on Twitter

How would you see yourself using a continua to supplement your instruction and assessment in the Core Competencies?

Comments, as always, are welcome and encouraged.

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