Now Ontario’s grade 1 elementary students will learn how to code starting while Grade 5 will deal with add fractions, and grade 6 will carry out financial planning. Moreover, they have to remember the number facts and must memorize multiplication tables upto 12 times.
A new math curriculum has been rolled out by the province as a result of the poor standardized test score, which is nothing but out-dated and fallen. Parents and educators also pointed out and discussed about the classroom teaching process.
However, the idea of releasing a new curriculum in the middle of the pandemic is highly defended by the Education Ministry Stephen Lecce. He said the situation is very unclear for the school right now as the future of the province’s two million students is at stake, under thosecircumstances; they need a rational model that combines both in-class instructions and remote learning.
“I would argue from a competitive landscape, we must take action immediately to improve math scores,” Mr. Lecce said on Tuesday, adding: “I appreciate the broader challenge around us, but we must move forward with these necessary reforms to give hope to these students that when they graduate they can aspire to get a good-paying job.”
As the new math curriculum will be adopted in the coming year, the province is cancelling standardize testing in math together with reading and writing in Grades 3 and 6. In many parts of the country, the method of learning mathematics is nothing but a disturbance. Numerous children of Ontario have struggled a lot in order to achieve the provincial benchmark on the standardized tests. In the previous year, 2018-19 only 58% of students of Grade 3 have fulfilled those benchmarks, while in grade 6 the number is 48%.
A few parents requested provincial governments to adopt a friendlier back-to-basics approach to teach math, focusing on drills and repetition more than problem-solving would help them. It will encourage them to practice more maths, and gradually, their performance can improve.
The existing curriculum was last updated 15 years ago, according to which Grade 1 students are expected to learn how to code starting. They have to start learning to sequence and most of the government officials sayit’s more like programming a caterpillar and prepare by moving a few steps with the arrows in different directions.
The curriculum also has financial literacy for the elementary school grades. For example, Grade 4 students will learn about multiple payment methods, various ways of money transfer which include e-transfer for Grade 5 students and financial planning for Grade 6 students.
Grade 5 students will learn fractions which were previously for Grade 7 students. According to a ministry, official fraction involves a lot of struggling doing fractions and require to invest more time to understand and practice them.
According to the government for the coming school year, the new curriculum will be mandatory for the students, resources, and necessary training will be provided to the instructors early in this month. However, many questioned about the rollout timing.
The President of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, Sam Hammond said, the members are not opposing the curriculum improvement, but the Timing can be different since now most of the educators are helping students to bridge their learning gaps with remote learning and limited resources. The schools were closed since March, students and instructors both are struggling with the existing infrastructure and Timing, now the new curriculum can be a burden for them.
“Rolling out a new curriculum takes time. Given the significant changes to the math curriculum, and the fact that Ontario is still in the midst of a pandemic, successful implementation will require more than the two-month timeline that the ministry has set,” Mr Hammond said.
According to Marit Stiles, the Ontario NDP education critic, mandating the new curriculum in this time while educators and students are planning to return to school is nothing but irresponsible. “Adding new demands at this point is setting up students to fail,” she said.
The government said more than $200-million had been used over the past four years on the math strategy. It was included professional development for the educators and students both for online and face to face teaching. That allowance was a continuation by the previous Liberal government. A math proficiency test also initiated by them for the future teachers together with a promise to roll out a better curriculum.
Premier of Ontario Doug Ford has promised that if elected, he would change the existing curriculum and curate a new one focusing on learning basic arithmetic rather than “discovery math” which is nothing but group problem solving and discussingdifferent techniques and ideas.
According to Mary Reid, an assistant professor of mathat the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), new math curriculum together with new changes are welcome though he expressed worry regarding releasing new curriculum in between the pandemic where students and teachers are struggling to bridge the learning gap.
“So far, it’s good,” Prof. Reid said of the document. “Timing wise, it’s bad. Districts are working so hard to figure out what’s going to happen in September. The last thing they need is a new initiative.”
*This news was initially published on The Globe and Mail, Canada.