Breathing Life into the Nova Scotia English Language Arts Curriculum Outcomes

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Gordon, Eleanor
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The purpose of this educational microethnography was to explore and describe the experiences of six English Language Arts teachers at Valley Woods Middle School, in Nova Scotia. The onus for orchestrating the outcomes-based English Language Arts curriculum mandated by the Nova Scotia Department of Education in 1989 belongs, according to the law, with individual teachers. To comply, however, teachers must first understand and feel comfortable with the outcomes in order to reshape curriculum and future instruction. Attempting this in isolation has proven to be too arduous a task and few collaborative opportunities have been available. This study describes and explores the collaborative professional development sessions that the ELA curriculum team, in one school, undertook to develop specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely (S.M.A.R.T.) learning targets for all forty-one ELA outcomes and to create an individual assessment rubric for each. Specifically, the study addressed the following question: “Within the framework of a professional learning community, is it possible to create teacher-led professional development sessions which would facilitate the change necessary for collaborative teacher interaction with the Nova Scotia English Language Arts curriculum outcomes, in order to articulate and assist student learning?” This study describes and explores the following questions: 1. Did participation in the professional development sessions result in changes in teacher understanding of the ELA outcomes? v 2. Did participation in the PD sessions result in changes in teacher comfort level while interacting with the ELA outcomes? 3. What was the nature of the collaborative group and did this group experience change over time? This educational microethnography revealed, in the experiences of six teachers, a deeper understanding and level of comfort in interacting with the mandated Nova Scotia curriculum outcomes to articulate and assist student learning.
Junior high school , Curricula , Middle school , Language arts , Nova Scotia , Evaluation