A Season of Change
by John Vanderhoek, SCSBC Education Coordinator (1986 – 1997) ◊
In 1989, the newly elected Social Credit government decided to review education in the province of BC. The Minister of Education of that era was a retired school superintendent who took the opportunity to institute a commission charged with reviewing education and drafting a plan for school revitalization called “The Year 2000.” This became the blueprint for public school and curriculum development. Because SCSBC was seen as a stakeholder in education, it, through FISA, was involved in not only submitting recommendations to the Minister but also in helping schools implement educational change. Some teachers employed in SCSBC schools were leaders in teacher training workshops sponsored by the ministry. One SCSBC school was identified by the education reporter of the Vancouver Sun of the time as a positive example of implementing Year 2000.
The focus of the changes was developing and implementing student-oriented teaching/learning practices. The previous emphasis on developing a biblically founded curriculum continued, but now pedagogical change also became important. Pedagogy teaches students a lot about who they are and the abilities/gifts they are developing. During these years, several handbooks were developed, providing teachers with a wide range of alternative strategies and helpful lessons for teaching of language arts, visual arts, French and biblical studies, as well as learning assistance. All these handbooks were intended to assist teachers in implementing various teaching, learning, and evaluation strategies.
All this took place in the context of widespread educational change suggested by various educational theorists (whole language, student-oriented math learning, project-based learning, middle school restructuring, differentiated evaluation approaches, etc.). The focus was always on implementing biblically directed thinking and practice and how Christian schools need to reflect Christ as they support students in pursuing God’s call. This season of educational change was an exciting time of reflection and growth.