Preparing for the New Indigenous-Focused Grad Requirement

Category: District

Over the past several months, educators from Delta School District’s secondary schools have been meeting regularly to learn the curriculum for the BC First Peoples and English First Peoples courses. Earlier this year, the B.C. Government announced that all B.C. secondary students will be required to complete Indigenous-focused coursework before they graduate, starting in the 2023-23 school year.

“We are helping our educators gain the knowledge they need to teach the BC First Peoples and English First Peoples courses,” said Heidi Wood, Indigenous Education Curriculum Coordinator and Janet Thompson, Adolescent Learning Coordinator (Social Studies/English Focus). “We have engaged educators in this process by learning through experience. For example, an impactful way to learn about the length of time First Peoples have lived in B.C. is to build a beaded timeline as it helps educators (and students) understand why we acknowledge traditional territory, and enables them to reflect on this learning. We have also been diving into some sensitive topics, for example, by discussing Indigenous Peoples’ lived experiences.”

“Preparing to teach these courses has been a multi-faceted experience,” said Kala Caldecott, teacher at Seaquam Secondary. “Modelling by non-Indigenous teacher-educators and direct guidance by Indigenous leaders has provided us with a rich experience beyond text and curriculum. It has involved us, first-hand, in various Indigenous ways of learning and knowing that has helped me prepare to lead my First Peoples classes in a more authentic and comprehensive way. I am excited to implement these important courses. It is certainly a step in the right direction.”

“I feel that the main takeaway from this experience is that we are being shown how to engage as learners on a more human and down-to-earth level,” said Myles Hulme, teacher at Burnsview Secondary. “These courses will not only leave students with a richer understanding of local peoples and history, but they will also foster a sense of how to build more respectful and productive relationships between diverse peoples and the places they live.”

“Through the district, we have been able to provide schools with a rich selection of local and national resources,” said Heidi Wood and Janet Thompson. “We know that these fantastic teachers, who are thirsty for knowledge, will continue to learn and collaborate in the fall.”

The Indigenous-focused graduation requirement, which supports the province’s commitments to truth, reconciliation, and antiracism, will impact students in grade 9 and 10 currently. For more information on the Indigenous-Focused Grad Requirement, please click here. You can also learn about the big ideas, learning standards, curricular competencies and course content for all Indigenous-focused courses at the BC Ministry of Education Curriculum website.