The provincial curriculum is undergoing significant changes to ensure relevant educational content in all subject areas. The goal of the curriculum development process is to develop curricula that compare favourably with those of other leading countries.
Revisions to curricula, based on grade- and subject-specific student learning outcomes, and where applicable, standards, are complete or under development. (See the individual subject areas for information about the status of curricular development.) Student learning outcomes and standards incorporate the four foundation skill areas of literacy and communication, problem solving, human relations, and technology. The focused participation of educators, scholars, industry representatives, and other community members with relevant expertise is being called upon in a consistent curriculum development process.
Manitoba's initial curriculum development in the four core subject areas (mathematics, language arts, social studies, and science) was undertaken in collaboration with other ministries of education in Canada. The work of participants in the Western and Northern Canadian Protocol (WNCP) for Collaboration in Education, K-12, produced common curriculum frameworks for mathematics (1995), language arts (1996), and social studies (2002). Similarly, the broader Pan-Canadian Science Project, coordinated by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), resulted in The Common Framework of Science Learning Outcomes, K-12 (1997).
In December 1993, the six western ministers of education signed the Western Canadian Protocol (WCP) for Collaboration in Basic Education (Kindergarten to Grade 12). In 2000, the consortium was expanded to include Nunavut and renamed the Western and Northern Canadian Protocol (WNCP). Through the protocol, the partners (Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba) explore educational issues of common concern. In addition to the development of frameworks for mathematics, English language arts, and social studies, projects have been initiated in the following areas:
- Mathematics - Computer Guided Learning (CGL Grades 7 - 12)
- Mathematics - Essentials of Mathematics teacher and student resources
- Learning Resources Reviews
- Heritage languages, International languages, Aboriginal languages and cultures frameworks
In developing curricula, Manitoba follows a consistent process that involves
- curriculum development teams
- review panels
- field validation
- authorized provincial use
- continual updating
- a. A curriculum development team is a working group comprising
- a departmental project leader/specialist who has expertise in the subject area/course under development, in curriculum planning and design, in pedagogy, in assessment and evaluation, and in leadership skills. In addition to managing all facets and stages of a curriculum development project, the project leader may act also as liaison with groups such as subject area steering committees, the Interorganizational Curriculum Advisory Committee (ICAC) or the Comité consultatif des programmes d'études (CCPE), and with unit coordinators and directors in Program Development Branch or la Direction du développement et de l'implantation des programmes d'études. The project leader also accesses advice and feedback, as required, from key advisors such as scholars, industry representatives, parents, and educational organizations and associations
- a qualified writer(s) who has excellent oral and written communication skills, computer skills, and a background in the subject area/course under development; a development team may use two different writers, a curriculum writer, and a distance delivery course writer
- exemplary classroom teachers and scholars who work extensively in the subject area/course under development.
- Curriculum development team members are selected through a nomination process. At the outset of a new curriculum project, the Program Development Branch sends letters to Superintendents of Education of provincial school divisions/districts, to Principals of Independent schools, and to Directors of Education and Principals of First Nations schools, requesting nominations of teachers to serve on the development team. The nomination forms identify criteria on which selection is based, including knowledge of curriculum planning and design, knowledge of the discipline, exemplary classroom practice, ability to work collaboratively, and team diversity (e.g., geographical representation, gender balance, multicultural and Aboriginal representation).
- A curriculum development team is responsible for
- gathering and coordinating all relevant research (e.g., curricula in other jurisdictions, subject area/course content, learning theory, and evaluation tools)
- receiving and assessing information from educational partners such as scholars, industry representatives, parents, and educational organizations and associations
- developing and writing documents, taking into consideration all relevant research, expertise, and departmental requirements
- revising/evergreening curricula
- a. Review panels comprise educational partners who are invited by the department to provide feedback to drafts of a document at various stages in its development. (For example, see the Review Panel list in the curriculum framework for Physical Education/Health Education.) Educational partner representation is coordinated by the project leader and may include
- representatives from various governmental departments/branches
- representatives from educational partners such as business, industry, labour, manufacturing, and communications
- representatives from professional organizations (e.g., Manitoba Association of School Superintendents, Manitoba Association of School Trustees, Manitoba Teachers' Society, Éducatrices et Éducateurs Francophones du Manitoba, Council of School Leaders, Special Area Groups)
- representatives from postsecondary education and training institutions
- representatives from Advisory Councils for School Leadership through the Manitoba Association of Parent Councils and the Fédération Provinciale des Comités de Parents
- Feedback from review panels is used to improve the document under development.
- Field validation of curriculum documents is undertaken in those instances in which the content focus and instructional and assessment approaches in the new curriculum for a subject area differ significantly from the content and approaches in former documents. Field validation with designated pilot teachers occurs once a pilot curriculum document is completed and mandated for field testing throughout the province. The purpose of field validation is to field test a curriculum document in classrooms so that necessary improvements can be made based on input from classroom teachers.
Pilot teachers may also be called upon to provide feedback related to learning resources, the curriculum implementation process, for use by the Western and Northern Canadian Protocol for Collaboration in Basic Education, to develop curriculum upgrades, and to strengthen the curriculum renewal process.
Pilot teachers are selected based on departmental selection criteria (e.g., subject area knowledge and expertise, gender, geography, and semestered and non-semestered schools) designed to ensure balanced representation. They receive inservice training from the department as they field test a new or revised curriculum.
- Authorized provincial use occurs once a curriculum has been field tested and revised as necessary; it is then mandated and released for authorized provincial use. Authorized provincial curricula (referred to as Manitoba Curriculum Frameworks and Foundation for Implementation documents which complement the Frameworks by identifying instructional and assessment strategies and learning resources) are available through the Manitoba Text Book Bureau.
- Continual updating will ensure that curricula are dynamic and continuously improved. Project leaders/specialists will be responsible for working with various educational partners to identify and develop required upgrades. These will be distributed to the field as replacement pages or new insert pages upon departmental approval. This curriculum renewal process is designed to reflect the changing demands of society and to ensure that the knowledge and skills students acquire remain relevant.