Friday, 23 May 2014

FAQs about the Three Es

In 2009, Albertans shared their dreams for the education system. Inspiring Education generated thoughtful insights, deep thinking, and many platitudes highlighting the need to prepare Alberta's students for their future. Albertans told us that although our education system is excellent, we need to be more excellent. The way in which we have previously delivered education is no longer sufficient. Five years later, some citizens are confused about the way forward. Is the vision envisioned by Inspiring Education still visionary? The Standing Committee on Engagement, Ethics and Entrepreneurship is pleased to provide answers to the following frequently asked questions.)

Why are you replacing the three Rs with the three Es?

Inspiring Education told us that we need to be bold and innovative. It’s not enough for our education system to provide students with knowledge and skills-we need to provide students with the attributes that will enable them to be successful players in the global marketplace. While the three Rs provided generations of students with foundational knowledge, they were part of a factory system of learning that has no place in today’s changing world.  Further, the three Rs didn't even all start with the letter R.  Ethical citizens, engaged thinkers, and those with entrepreneurial spirits can obtain skills and knowledge. You cannot argue with these attributes. And lots of good words start with E. Excellence. Energy. Experience. Empowerment. Emissions. The Environment. Enlightenment. Entitlement. The Edmonton Eskimos. The Economy.

I'm not really sure what it means to be an engaged thinker.  Could you explain it to me?

  • An engaged thinker is someone who thinks critically and makes discoveries; who uses technology to learn, innovate, and discover; who works to identify problems and find the best solutions; who communicates these ideas to others; and who adapts to change with an attitude of optimism for their future in Alberta’s economy.

When you say Albertans should be ethical citizens, do you mean voters who unquestioningly obey the rule of law, or opposing voices who believe in advocating for their rights and questioning the status quo?

How can every Albertan have an entrepreneurial spirit? If all Albertans start up their own businesses, who will do all the work? 

  • Inspiring Education is all about giving educated Albertans the tools they need to excel. While Merriam-Webster says an entrepreneur is someone who organizes and assumes the risks of a business, one does not need to be an entrepreneur to be entrepreneurial. People with entrepreneurial spirits create opportunities for themselves and others to succeed in Alberta’s corporate culture through hard work; they strive for excellence; they explore ideas; and they are competitive (yet still collaborative), bold  and confident(yet still humble), adaptable and resilient.

I've been hearing a lot about students finding their passions, 21st Century Skills, and the Dual Credit strategy. How do those three things fit together?

The world is changing. Work is changing. Jobs are being crafted around technology that didn't even exist five years ago. So we are giving students the opportunity to play their part in Alberta's economy by allowing them to train for today's jobs today.

What does it mean when you say "We're changing the way we think because the world is changing"?

We're shifting our focus and putting students first, unlike in the past when we put students last. Today's students require a well-rounded education to prepare them for their future in Alberta's economy. In a world where anyone can discover the secrets of the Arctic without leaving the house, education is no longer limited to textbooks. So we are getting rid of textbooks and their associated funding, giving educators licence to be more creative so that they can inspire innovation and excellence. With the assistance of industry partners, we're redesigning the entire curriculum K-12 over the next two years so the current textbooks will be outdated anyway. 

Will there still be schools and classrooms and teachers? 

  • Of course. 

Will education still be mandatory? 

  • Yes! 

Will we continue to evaluate students with high stakes exit exams and make educators accountable by evaluating their excellence? 

  • You bet. Because as we transform our education system, change alone is unchanging. 

Who is “Inspiring Education”?

  • Inspiring Education is Everyone. And did you notice? That starts with an E too!

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