Considerations For Program Planning

SOME CONSIDERATIONS FOR PROGRAM PLANNING

INSTRUCTIONAL APPROACHES

  • Effective instruction is key to student success
    • Understanding what students need to learn
    • How students have learned it
    • How instruction will be designed to promote the learning, and
    • Understanding what students need to learn
  • Using Up to date Instructional Methods that have proved effective in the classroom
    • For example, using strategies such as “compare and contrast” (e.g., through Venn diagrams and comparison matrices)
    • Use of analogies
    • Use of Visuals
    • Use of interactive games such as quizzes on Kahoot

How Can A Differentiated Approach to Teaching and Learning Be Achieved?

  • Understanding students’ strengths and weaknesses/needs.
  • Understanding their backgrounds and life experiences, or past instruction methods.
  • Differentiating instructional approaches include but not limited to –modifying the method, pace of instruction, various types of resources, providing greater number of wider choices of topics etc.

Lesson Design
Effective lesson design involves several important elements:

  • Teachers engage students in a lesson.
  • Teachers select instructional strategies to effectively introduce concepts.
  • Teachers decide when and how to check students’ understanding and to assess their progress towards achieving their learning goals.
  • Teachers provide multiple opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and skills and to consolidate and reflect on their learning. A three-part lesson design (e.g., “Minds On, Action, and Consolidation”) is often used to structure these elements.
  • Create curiosity and open-mindedness; a willingness to think, question, challenge, and be challenged; and an awareness of the value of listening or reading closely and communicating clearly.
  • Teachers need to incorporate current day events and issues within the curriculum expectations, and not treat them as separate topics. This will allow students to build a deeper understanding of the world in which they live. It stimulate students’ interest in and curiosity about the world around them.

PROGRAMS FOR STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL EDUCATION NEEDS

Classroom teachers are the key educators for students with special education needs. Teachers have the responsibility to help all students learn and achieve their respective goals. As a teacher, they should be able to assess the students based upon their strengths and weaknesses in order to help them learn at their individual level of understanding. Teachers also need to design their programs by examining the student’s style of learning and based upon their abilities, determine if the student is in need of any accommodations or modifications in the curriculum. Classroom teachers commit to assisting every student to prepare for living with the highest degree of independence possible.

Teachers of the course are expected to pay particular attention to the following:

  • All students have the ability to succeed
  • Each student has their own unique pattern or way of learning.
  • Successful instructional practices are founded on evidence-based research, and by experience.
  • Classroom teachers are the key educators for a student’s literacy and numeracy development.
  • Classroom teachers need the support of the larger community to create a learning environment that supports students with special education needs.
  • Fairness is not sameness.

***If a teacher modifies the expectations in course, assessment and evaluation it will be based on the learning expectations identified in the IEP (Individual Education Plan) and on the achievement levels outlined in this document. Indeed, the special educations programs and services for special needs students have evolved over time according to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Changes made to instruction, environment, or assessment to aid the student in completing and meeting the course expectations include: extending time for submission or completion of assignments, tests, projects, and/or assigning alternative assessments, and/or providing and allowing the usage of assistive technologies, and/or simplifying the language to deliver the course content. Online courses allow and offer such accommodation to be made without any difficulty such as changing font type or size, using sign-language interpretation or translation devices, audio options etc.

PROGRAM CONSIDERATIONS FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS

Ontario is known to be one of the most diverse and multicultural cities, therefore has the most diverse group of students in its education system.
Students who are learning English as a second or additional language in English-language schools may receive support through one of two distinct programs from teachers who specialize in meeting their language-learning needs:

  • English as a Second Language (ESL) programs are for students born in Canada or newcomers whose first language is a language other than English, or is a variety of English significantly different from that used for instruction in Ontario schools.
  • English Literacy Development (ELD) programs are primarily for newcomers whose first language is a language other than English, or is a variety of English significantly different from that used for instruction in Ontario schools, and who arrive with significant gaps in their education.

Teachers need to work with students and find alternative ways to incorporate the English language through fun and interactive activities. Most students develop oral fluency quickly, however teachers need to work with the students to enhance their vocabulary, reading and writing skills.

M’Learnin Student Centre will be asking the level of proficiency in English Language during the registration process, or upon the first meeting with the course teacher so the right strategies and resources can be provided to support the student in succeeding in the course. The teachers should be dedicated to improving the students’ English language whether they may be international student or a newcomer, as it will aid them in the real world of work or post-secondary education later on.

In planning programs for students with linguistic backgrounds other than English, teachers can, but not limited to :

  • Providing an extension of time required to complete assignments or summative tasks.
  • Providing alternative assignments or summative tasks
  • Use of assistive technologies like online dictionary or translator
  • Simplifying the language of instruction, such as using synonyms

EQUITY AND INCLUSIVE EDUCATION

The Ontario equity and inclusive education strategy focuses on:

  • Respecting diversity
  • Promoting inclusive education
  • Identifying and eliminating discriminatory biases
  • Providing Anti-discrimination education

Creating an environment based on the principles of inclusive education, for all students, parents, caregivers, and members of the school community – regardless of ancestry, culture, ethnicity, sex, physical or intellectual ability, race, religion, gender identity/expression, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or other factors – is essential and must be welcomed, included, treated fairly, and respected. Diversity is valued when all members of the school community feel safe, welcomed, and accepted.

By teachers carefully choosing support materials that reflect the makeup of a class, students will see that they are respected. This will lead to student understanding of and respect for the differences that exist in their classroom and in the multiple communities to which they belong.

ANTI-DISCRIMINATION EDUCATION

The implementation of anti-discrimination is a very important key principle in providing a healthy environment, where students can learn safely free of harassment or any hate expression. This is a critical point as students are from various different backgrounds and need to feel inclusive in order for a better learning environment. The main goal is to integrate the English language skills into the curriculum in order for students to get a better understanding. Teachers must use inclusive activities in which stories and novels include characters of different genders and backgrounds. Using these resources, teachers can help students develop critical thinking skills or as it is said in context, “critical literacy.” This will encourage students to question different ideas and express themselves and speak out for things that matter to them.

LITERACY, MATHEMATICAL LITERACY, AND INQUIRY/RESEARCH SKILLS

Literacy skills, mathematical literacy and inquiry skills are all very critical to a student’s understanding and success in their learning as a whole. When a student has the adequate literacy skills, he/she can do academically well in all subjects as there are a variety of skills involved in the English curriculum that will be used in all subjects such as math and social studies. Interpreting graphs, charts and tables is used in the English literacy context which is useful in the mathematical literacy as well.

THE ROLE OF INFORMATION AND TECHNOLOGY

Information and technology provides a range of tools that can significantly extend and enrich teachers’ instructional strategies and support student learning. Technology can help students not only to collect, organize, and sort the data they gather and to write, edit, and present reports on their findings but also to make connections with other schools, at home and abroad, and to bring the global community into the local classroom. There are many forms of technological resources to aid student learning such as videos, online dictionaries, and simulations.

Internet in today’s age is a powerful tool, and having critical skills regarding technology and about the vast platform will help students make informative and more ideal thoughts and judgements, and be able to differentiate and evaluate data from the enormous sea of information that is available. Having knowledge about internet privacy and responsible use of it can decrease the potential risks associated with Internet in the cyber world.
M’Learnin is committed to educating and making students responsible and safe internet users, starting from plagiarism.

THE ROLE OF SCHOOL LIBRARY

Library’s play a very important role in every course that a student takes. School library programs help students develop their literacy and research skills through reading and researching about different topics. Libraries at schools build the passion in students to read books for pleasure, as well as to expose them to all the different types of diverse and informational texts. Library programs such as a research topic helps students enhance their skills to find authentic sources and gather information for a given topic. There are many online libraries that offer the same resources to be used by the student at their convenience.

THE ONTARIO SKILLS PASSPORT AND ESSENTIAL SKILLS

Teachers planning programs in English need to be aware of the benefits of the Ontario Skills Passport (OSP). OSP is used to enhance the relevancy of classroom learning for students to benefit from the clear descriptions of Essential Skills such as Reading Text, Writing, Computer Use, Measurement and Calculations as well as Problem-Solving skills. The OSP also includes the descriptions of important work habits, such as working safely, being reliable, and providing excellent customer service. These skills have been identified and validated by the Government of Canada as well as other international agencies as skills needed for work, learning and life.

COOPERATIVE EDUCATION AND HEALTH AND SAFETY

Many courses allow the student to explore various occupations throughout the course of study. Cooperative education allows the student to explore those right in the workplace and comes in many forms such as job shadowing, field trips, and work experience. It allows students to utilize their in-class skills into the workplace. It provides the student an understanding of what the real-world employment seeks and how the student can prepare him or herself for it. It is also an opportunity for the student to experience their choice of occupation and determine whether it will be a career they would like to pursue in the future. All cooperative education and other workplace experiences will be provided in accordance with the ministry’s policy document entitled Cooperative Education and Other Forms of Experiential Learning: Policies and Procedures for Ontario Secondary Schools, 2000.

EDUCATION AND CAREER/LIFE PLANNING

The main goal of the Ontario education system and career/life planning program are to:

  • Ensure that all students develop the knowledge and skills they need to make informed education and career/life choices.
  • Provide classroom and school-wide opportunities for this learning; and
  • Engage parents and the broader community in the development, implementation, and evaluation of the program, to support students in their learning.

As included in the curriculum book, the framework of the program is a four-step inquiry process based on four questions linked to four areas of learning: (1) knowing yourself – Who am I?; (2) exploring opportunities – What are my opportunities?; (3) making decisions and setting goals – Who do I want to become?; and, (4) achieving goals and making transitions – What is my plan for achieving my goals?

The curriculum expectations provide opportunities to relate classroom learning to education and career/life planning that will prepare students for success not only in school, but also work and life.

RESOURCES

Ontario Ministry of Education (EDU) – curriculum documents page
http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/curricul/curricul.html
http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/policyfunding/growSuccess.pdf