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The Shifted English Classroom

Curriculum Implementation Plan
Danika Barker University of Ontario Institute of Technology 5 December, 2011

Background The world of web 2.0 technology is rapidly growing and provides todays students with exciting new learning opportunities through collaboration, networking, and increased access to information and learning tools. However, 21st century tools must be supported by 21st century teaching practices in order to truly impact student learning. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (Trilling), identies a gap between skills traditionally taught in North American schools and the kinds of skills required in 21st century communities and workplaces. The organization identies these skills as The 4Cs: critical thinking and problem solving; communication, collaboration; and creativity and innovation.


While the Partnership for 21st Century Skills is an American organization, the gap identied is one that exists in Canadian schools as well. For example, many secondary English classrooms still devote a large portion of assessment and evaluation to lower order thinking skills such as knowledge and comprehension. These appear in the form of content quizzes that assess a students ability to recall details from a story, or through study guides that assess a students comprehension of the content of a text. While knowledge and comprehension provide the necessary foundation for higher order thinking skills, they are often disproportionately represented in classroom assessment practices.

("Blooms taxonomy of," 2006) Outline of Innovation: The Shifted Classroom In order to shift the emphasis from lower order thinking skills to higher order thinking skills, or from 20th century skills to 21st century skills, teachers need a new paradigm from which to develop their lessons and assessments.

20th Century Skills

21st Century Skills

Lower Order Thinking Skills

Higher Order Thinking Skills

This paradigm is an alignment of several initiatives that have been implemented over the past ten years in the Thames Valley District School Board: Understanding By Design, Instructional Intelligences, and Differentiated Instruction and Assessment.


Differentiated Instruction and Assessment

THE SHIFTED CLASSROOM Instructional Intelligences Understanding By Design

The alignment of these three initiatives inform the concept of the shifted classroom as illustrated by the following concept map:


The Shifted English Classroom is: Guided by the relationships between and amongst assessment,, and curriculum Driven by the students, whose learning is facilitated by the teachers. Assessment practices are balanced with regard to diagnostic, formative, and summative assessment Differentiated according to students needs abilities and interests Focussed on high yield instructional strategies that promote collaboration, problem-solving, and critical thinking Focussed on curriculum planning that begins with essential understanding, critical thinking, and higher order thinking skills. Goals Pedagogy centered around 21st century skills creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, communication and collaboration. Not a complete overhaul of teaching practices, but an attempt to modify, adapt, "hack" existing structures, content, strategies. Timeline: minimum of ve years before you could expect to see change. Change will happen in some pockets faster than others.

Process The process for this implementation plan takes into account the Concerns Based Adoption Model (Hord, Rutherford, Huling-Austin & Hall, 1987), which recognizes that change is a very personal process and that the success of an innovation will depend on whether or not facilitators and leaders are able to recognize and work with individuals stages of concern and levels of use. Rather than trying to quickly implement broad changes, this plan seeks to start small, empower classroom teachers, and build capacity while helping teachers see the connection between what were previously perceived as a series of disconnected innovations. The timeline for the implementation plan as outlined below would be one year, with the expectation that implementation would grow over the following ve years as teachers in the initial pilot became facilitators for the following phases of implementation.



Project Leadership The primary facilitators of this implementation plan would be the literacy learning coordinators at the board ofce. Currently, our board only has one learning coordinator in the 7-12 literacy portfolio, but this coordinator would be teamed with one of our technology coordinators. We would also enlist the help of those individuals already identied as exemplary classroom teachers by our learning classroom program. In order to build capacity within the board, we would identify additional classroom teachers who are beginning to model 21st century pedagogy to help develop an online network to support their colleagues. By ensuring that there is leadership from a variety of different areas, teachers should feel that their levels of personal concern are validated and supported as they continue along the spectrum of levels of use. Barriers Barriers Teachers' attitudes, stages of personal concern. Strategies Approach this innovation not so much as something new, but a philosophy that incorporates all the pieces we've been looking at for the past 10 years to make something cohesive. This is not "the next big thing" rather it's making sense of all the pieces. This innovation is aligned with current student success initiatives so we could get funding from that area since it is a much richer portfolio in our board. Also, starting with just English teachers makes it more affordable. Many schools are already moving away from the one class novel approach. When they go to purchase new books, rather than buy one class set, they'll buy two half class sets of two different novels. For the most part, we will try to work with existing resources though, because the point is not the content but the way in which that content is delivered




References Blooms taxonomy of cognitive domain. (2006). Retrieved from http:// ! " SEDL - Concerns-Based Adoption Model." Welcome to SEDL: Advancing Research, ! Improving Education. SEDL, n.d. Web. 1 Nov. 2011. < ! cbam/! >. Hord, S. M., Rutherford, W. L., Huling-Austin, L., & Hall, G. E. (1987). Taking charge of ! change. Retrieved from "The Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM): A Model for Change in Individuals." ! | Where the Nation Turns for Independent, Expert ! Advice. National Academies of Science, n.d. Web. 1 Nov. 2011. <http:// !>. Trilling, B. (n.d.). The Partnership for 21st Century Skills. The Partnership for 21st ! Century Skills. Retrieved December 5, 2011, from