Senior 2 English Language Arts: A Foundation for Implementation

Implementation Overview: Senior 2
Planning, Teaching, and Learning with Learning Outcomes - Part 1

English Language Arts Learning Outcomes

Senior 2 English Language Arts: Manitoba Curriculum Framework of Outcomes (1998) prescribes general and specific learning outcomes for all Senior 2 students in Manitoba. The learning outcomes identify what all students are expected to know and be able to do by the end of Senior 2.

Teachers, however, determine the organization, pace, and focus of instruction. They keep instruction focused on student learning outcomes and maintain high expectations for instruction and assessment. They differentiate instruction by providing multiple and varied, developmentally appropriate, and authentic learning tasks, activities, and opportunities to assist each student in achieving the learning outcomes.

Planning with Learning Outcomes

Pulling together the threads of the learning outcomes and the six language arts into balanced, integrated programming is an individual and creative process. Many elements shape each Senior 2 English language arts course:

  • the teaching style, resources, and gifts of each teacher
  • the interests, ideas, and gifts each new group of students brings to the classroom
  • the learning requirements of students
  • the community and public events that provide learning opportunities

As teachers plan for instruction, assessment, and learning resources, they need to keep in mind general considerations such as the following:

  • Learning outcomes are generally not taught separately or in isolation from each other. Almost all classroom activities involve several learning outcomes. Focusing on the learning outcomes that they plan to assess, rather than all the learning outcomes involved in an activity, may help teachers to plan.
  • Learning is recursive, and many of the learning outcomes need to be addressed repeatedly in different ways throughout the school year or semester. As well as developing new literacy skills and strategies, students need to practise and refine those learned previously.
  • General and specific learning outcomes are end-of-year outcomes. Teachers need to consider and plan for the series of instructional steps that will assist students in achieving all the prescribed learning outcomes by the end of the school year.
  • Planning is ongoing throughout the year, informed by student interests and learning requirements that become evident through classroom assessment.

Planning with the End in Mind

To plan effectively, teachers need to have a clear sense of the purpose of instruction. The primary purpose of Senior 2 English Language Arts is for the students (the class as a whole and each individual student) to attain the learning outcomes identified and mandated for Senior 2. The learning outcomes are not a checklist of what the teacher will teach. They are a description of the knowledge, skills and strategies, and attitudes or habits of mind that students are expected to demonstrate.

Placing the focus on student learning in this way means that all instructional planning must begin with students’ present levels of performance. Teachers cannot decide on the first priorities for instruction until they know what knowledge, skills and strategies, and attitudes students bring into the course. Teachers are better able to make appropriate choices of topics, learning resources, groupings, and instructional strategies when they know the students as individuals. For this reason, teachers need to gather as much information about students as possible within the first few weeks of the course.

Initial Assessment

Information about the students’ current levels of performance may be gathered from

  • Senior 1 assessment data
  • student portfolios and work samples
  • student inventories identifying interests, preferences, aspirations, and learning approaches
  • an introductory unit that provides opportunities to assess a range of the students’ knowledge, skills and strategies, and attitudes as these relate to the Senior 2 learning outcomes


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