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Kelowna  

Politics of education

A university study has found politics played a big role in the classroom.

According to a UBC report, how and what B.C. children learn in schools has traditionally been politically driven and largely ignored the input of educators.

A recent case study of major curriculum revisions in 1937, 1968, and 1997 conducted at UBC’s Okanagan campus, found people with political power had significant control over the three curriculum revisions.

“The curriculum reforms of the past were undemocratic because individuals kept the process under their control and implemented educational ideas that were attractive to them,” said Catherine Broom, an assistant professor in UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Education. “These individuals did not give each citizen equal access to information or a chance to authentically comment on the revisions and often left teachers out of the conversation.

“Because teachers were traditionally given limited information or left out of the conversation, some teachers resisted curriculum revisions by teaching in their own styles or continued to teach how they had always taught.”

Broom believes reviewing the process of how curriculum has been developed historically can provide insights into the process of future educational reform conversations and curriculum development.

“What history tells us is that how included teachers feel in the process can influence how well new curriculum is implemented at the classroom level,” said Broom. “If teachers don’t feel included and supported, they may go back to teaching the way they feel comfortable teaching.”

The B.C. government’s Ministry of Education most recently proposed curriculum revisions occurred in 2015. Broom says her study may provide insight into how the new K-12 curriculum may be received and implemented.



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