As I was planning for my upcoming residency with students from K-6, I was reminded of the importance of including all strands of language arts–listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing, and representing–within our lessons. In many ways, I can’t teach one without another.
These strands support each other… they build off of each other… one is often the foundation for another. Ultimately, the interconnectedness of these strands is essential for student success with language.
When I consider the new Alberta ELA curriculum scheduled to be implemented this coming fall, it is divided into Organizing Ideas which seems to imply the teaching of language in silos. We cannot be deceived by the structure of the curriculum and revert to teaching these elements in isolation from one another. Doing so would be in direct opposition to what we know about effective language learning.
Although I have given feedback to the government about my concerns about the curriculum structure, I don’t expect this aspect of it to change. That being said then, we must remember the importance of the interconnectedness of the strands when we tackle that new curriculum. I look forward to working with teachers in the process!