What's New for Arts Education in BC's New Curriculum

The Ministry of Education issued a news release January 6, 2017 to mark the halfway point of its three-year roll out of the redesigned K-12 curriculum in British Columbia. The curriculum has been fully implemented in every kindergarten-to-grade 9 classroom since September 2016, with the draft curriculum still rolling out in grades 10-12.

As the new curriculum continues to roll out, students will still learn the basic skills of reading, writing and math but now in a way that connects them to the collaboration, critical thinking and communication skills needed to succeed after high school.

As part of the new curriculum, numerous changes have been made to the way arts education is delivered in BC schools. Those changes are summarized below; if you're interested in more comprehensive information, a full brief on the curriculum changes can be found here.

K–8 curriculum

The redesigned Arts Education curriculum is unified to support students in building on their strengths and pursuing their passions in Arts Education, and gives teachers the flexibility to provide either a discipline-specific or an integrated arts instructional approach. Blending of the arts disciplines is not required, but remains an option. Other key aspects maintained in the redesigned curriculum include:

  • A focus on creative and artistic processes, including responding to creative work
  • A focus on increasing the depth of content and concept application over multiple years
  • Content relating to the elements and principles of each discipline
  • Value placed on discipline-specific literacy and language
  • Connections between theory, practice, and praxis
  • Opportunities for making connections with the local community
  • Supports for classroom and personal safety
  • Connections between grades to support multi-year program models
  • Celebration of students’ unique ideas and creative potential

Grade 9 curriculum

The Grade 9 curriculum offers an opportunity for schools and teachers to provide a unique variety of options for students across British Columbia. To support a range of learning environments, program models, and school structures in the middle and graduation years, the Grade 9 curriculum includes a general curriculum for exploratory study in Arts Education and a discipline-specific curriculum for each of the four disciplines — dance, drama, music, and visual arts. This design supports both discipline-specific and interdisciplinary learning, demonstrating a seamless connection between Big Ideas and learning standards in all four disciplines.

10–12 draft curriculum

The draft curriculum enables teachers to provide a variety of options for Grade 10–12 students. These options include: Dance, Drama, Music, Visual Arts and Cross-Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Arts Courses. The full list of these options can be found here.

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