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The New English Curriculum; Five Years On
by Brad








Back in October of 2008, I wrote about the new English curriculum and its challenges to my long established teaching style. At the time, I was also beginning my final decade of teaching and understandably a bit nervous about it all.

I’d like to say now that the new curriculum, especially the new emphasis on speaking and listening, has revolutionized my classroom. At the end of every term, my current students write a message at our blog addressed to the students who will follow them under the title, “Something New; Something Memorable.” Their writing is intended to help the new students get ready for a very different classroom, one much enriched by the curriculum instituted in 2008.

Here is what some of them have said (I went back a couple of years to avoid using student comments from currently enrolled students.).

 

I have never been in an English class that allowed for group work. In doing so there was the opportunity to find out other points of view, and through social interaction, I came to respect my fellow classmates and their courage to face life’s challenges. I was astounded at the differences between us and delighted by our similarities.

 

I will always remember this class and all the many amusing discussions and the feeling of belonging.

           

The freedom of sharing ideas in class was fantastic. I was used to the old system called, in Latin “Magister dixit,” which means “the teacher said.” In English 12, I learnt something different – it is not only the teacher who has a say in class, but everyone through group discussions.

 

I heard many different opinions, which I had never thought of before. They were like surprise presents in an ordinary day. I felt so, for want of a better word, inspired. I realized my thought was very limited - probably it was biased as well. Their ideas motivated me, and I could dig deeper than before into my ideas. Sharing ideas was, really, the best thing in this course.

 

I prefer Brad as an English teacher not because he gives a little homework (that’s not true) but because he forces my mind to work. His unpredictable style of teaching opens new horizons for students. So, routine homework becomes publishing comments at the blog, and monotonous class work transforms into hot discussions in groups.

 

We are in Canada, a multicultural country, so my English 12 class was a mixture of different cultures, experiences, and personalities. Every group discussion was enriched with inner “treasures” of every group member; despite our sometimes heated discussions and disagreements (or better to say - different opinions) within a group, all group presentations ended with unique, worth listening to conclusions.

 

(October 14, 2013)



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