Education in Alberta in the 21st Century

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Education in Alberta in the 21st Century by Mind Map: Education in Alberta in the 21st Century

1. Structure

1.1. Alberta Education

1.1.1. It consists of the minister of education, the deputy minister, assistant deputy minister, and several branches responsible for specific areas of education. Alberta Education is the body directly responsible for the curriculum, policies and the development of schools and other aspects of education. Knowing who is responsible for the certain aspects of education allows us to communicate with them more appropriately.

1.2. ATA

1.2.1. On The Journey Towards Excellence In Teaching (Schreiber, n.d.). The ATA presented to many education students in the University of Alberta about the role of the ATA in its cooperation with teachers and in education. The presentation also highlighted what our role as students in the program would be and what we are expected to learn. Reflecting on this presentation, we are expected to learn professional conduct and behavior in all aspects of our lives (or at least publicly). We are held at a higher standard and must be model citizens. Especially now, in the face of social media and visual technology, we must be careful in how we come off to society.

1.2.2. The ATA is a service to educators and is the upholders of the standards of education in Alberta. With the government of Alberta, the ATA creates policies and is the voice for the teaching profession, advocating for the educators and the students in political processes. To become a teacher in Alberta school boards, one must be a member of the ATA and is optional for educators in Charter schools. They are there to help advocate for us and to hold us to the high standards a teacher is expected of. We depend on the ATA as they provide services to protect us and help us keep the standards of education in Alberta. Understanding the role of the ATA will help us stay sharp in the classroom, in dealing with parents and in being a model citizen adhering to the law. Knowledge of their services can also help us become better educators by accessing their libraries, workshops and publications to better inform us on the changes in education.

1.3. Role of the Minister of Education

1.3.1. Gordon Dirks is the current minister of education. His vision is to "ensure that every student has equal access to the highest quality education. Dirks was a former educator in public education and in post-secondary and so, is well informed about the issues in Alberta Education (Government of Alberta, n.d.). Although our current minister in education is a former educator, it might not always be the case as the minister of education is an appointed member of the Alberta Government, the role of the minister is to oversee changes in policies in education as a representative of the Alberta Government. We must know the role of the minister of education to understand the power he has over the policies and changes in education. We as educators are responsible to know the curriculum and the changes that may occur. Knowing the political views of the minister can prepare us or give us the opportunity to voice our opinions from possible changes in education.

1.4. School Boards

1.4.1. They are publicly funded systems that are responsible for the education and the internal issues in their jurisdiction. They hire their teachers in collaboration with the ATA and are the largest body in education consisting of trustees, superintendents, principals, teachers, etc. Understanding the role and the vision of school boards (charter schools) is important to help us choose where we would like to teach. It is also helpful so that we know the requirements for applying for a position in the specific board. It is another aspect to the structure of the education system to show us the intricacies and bureaucracy involved in the system and where we are in it.

2. Goals

2.1. Plans

2.1.1. New Curriculum The new curriculum proposed hopes to return to some traditional values in the face of the disaster inflicted by some new ideas like Discovery Math, however there are negative views drawn up by the class thinking it as a step backwards. We should be able to accept and learn a curriculum despite its contradiction with our values. Although there are rigid parts in a curriculum, working around and employing different ideas is a possibility. We must advocate for our students and help create the environment and minds that they need in preparation for the future.

2.2. Inspiring Education (Hancock, 2010).

2.2.1. It is the current curriculum or directive that the government of Alberta has put in place. It was placed by the previous minister of education and is a directive to point education towards the future. In the growing Globalization of society, in the face of job scarcity and job outsourcing, the government hopes to keep our citizens as contenders for careers and jobs available not only in Alberta but around the world. They hope to inspire students to be globally minded and have diverse perspectives, reflective and adaptable. Although it came with its own issues, Inspiring Education was a commendable effort. Its values were future-minded and there needs to be a new curriculum in place. As teachers, we also have a voice and an opportunity to teach in the way we think is best. We must adhere to curriculum to the best of our abilities but be mindful of what we can change or implement.

3. Teaching Identity

3.1. Reflection

3.1.1. Reflection is an important aspect of a teacher's identity as it enables them to grow as better educators. Reflection is not a pointless practice regardless of the politics and the system of education (Grant et al.,1984). We as educators are responsible for the future. It has and especially now in the face of modern technology with its many positive and negative consequences, always been important to understand the role of the educator by understanding the quality of life the new generation is experiencing today. In order to do so, we must reflect on the ability of our conversations and methods in teaching children.

3.2. Philosophies

3.2.1. "How do we know?," one of the most important questions we can ask to put order to the seemingly random world we live in. Educators, like everyone else has a philosophy in life but also in education; everyone has their own predispositions and beliefs (Martin et al., 2006). Our philosophy affects our understanding and in choosing how and what to teach. This is reflective of our identities as individuals and as our identity as educators, we must learn to adapt and handle ideas and beliefs that contrast ours as educators must remain impartial to the treatment of students especially in our hypersensitive society today. Despite our current views of education, we must understand the consequences and the reasons that the educators we had as children had thought us in their way and to learn from them.

3.3. Professional

3.3.1. Our professional identity is key when we communicate to our students, to their parents and to fellow educators. As educators we are an example for students, one who they will look up to and learn from. It is important that we teach children how to behave and communicate properly. Education varies but the level of communication and respect we must give our students is constant. Despite the change in communication via technology, we must help enable the students to communicate and learn independently and cooperatively.

4. Issues in Education

4.1. Budget Cuts

4.1.1. Due to the current recession, the government has made cuts to many areas of services such as health care and in education. Knowing the effects of these cuts can help us understand the need for efficiency in education and to make us better teachers so that we can be employed if the circumstances make it difficult.

4.2. Sexual Identity

4.2.1. Sexual identity has not been addressed by the education system until recently (at least in Alberta). New legislation has made it mandatory to allow for GSAs even in the Catholic Education Schools across the province. Knowing the impact of this can help us be more tolerant of these ideas if they contradict with them. It is one example of how the world is changing and how we must adapt to it. These changes in education are just one of the steps that we must adapt to creating an even more complex environment in education.

5. History of Education in Canada

5.1. Dr Frank Peters

5.1.1. Dr. Frank Peters educated us about the history of education since the colonization of Canada (Peters, 2015). The values of education in Canada began in the change of ideas of who to educate where in Europe, they believed that only the rich should be given rights to education (and even later after acceptance of a education for all, they believed in separating by economic classes/ ability), the missionaries made it available for all. Further into the establishment of Canada, the values and beliefs of separate people were protected by the government under law. Establishments such as Catholic Education in Edmonton and the rights of minority languages to establish education in their language is due to the values and beliefs of equality in Canada. Knowing the roots of our diverse and rich culture helps us understand just the reason why education is such a high standard in Canada. We must keep to the attitudes and beliefs of Canada for education to keep the high standards that we have established throughout the changes in our society, values and technology.

6. Education Today

6.1. Changing Education Paradigms (The RSA, 2010).

6.1.1. The video explains the changes in society and the reasons as to why our approach to education is outdated and limited. The specific ideals that we value is not all that is needed in today's society. The hope of the video is to educate us in the necessity of educational reform and the type of citizens me must help foster, it is indicated that logic is the predominant value in current education but they believe that creativity is something we must also foster to find the necessary employees that can fill the diverse positions the world is creating. We must prepare ourselves as educators to be more proactive in teaching in unexpected ways and in learning the new skills that we need in today's technological world. Although traditional values are still important, the rise of technology stresses the need for different kind of thought than the ones we instill into our students today.

6.2. From Educators today

6.2.1. What Do I Do All Day? is an article from the ATA Magazine that explains the changes in education in the recent decade. Kelli has been a teacher for over 20 years and she lays out the increased workload, time and engagement both with parents and accountability due to the progress of technology (Ewasiuk, K., 2012). A look into the growing responsibility of an educator, Ewasiuk attributes this to all the technology and the increased investment of parents in their children's education. Times have definitely changed pushing away many of the negative representations of teachers that we see in entertainment. As 21st century educators, we must meet these demands and be aware of the changes in technology and grow with the technological ability of the students and their parents.

6.2.2. An article in the ATA Magazine accounts the expectations and the reality this batch of educators must face in the ever-progressing society. Exaggerated or not, the life of a teacher today has grown more hectic due to the availability and responsibility of individual teachers (Ewasiuk, S., 2012). Despite the hopes and the "spirit" a new teacher may have, without proper awareness of our responsibilities and expectations both from the school boards and the parents, we can become overwhelmed and inept. We cannot be fully prepared to become teachers as the problems and the work does not only come from the teaching element. However, adaptability and efficiency is a necessary skill in today's classroom.