MONCTON (CNB) – An innovative three-year research project that will pilot internationally recognized best learning and teaching practices at the high school level in the anglophone school system will begin in the 2008-09 school year.
Education Minister Kelly Lamrock made the announcement today during a luncheon speech to the Moncton Rotary Club.
The Model Schools project will challenge students with real-world issues that require a holistic application of math, science and literacy skills to solve. It will use a project-based learning approach that fosters critical thought and problem-solving skills.
“The Model Schools research project is part of our government’s efforts to build the best education system in Canada,” Lamrock said. “We are excited to undertake this initiative that supports our vision of students developing a passion for learning, and finding opportunities for educators to be creative and innovative in their teaching approaches.”
Project-based learning is an instructional method centred on the student. Instead of using a lesson plan that directs students down a specific path of learning outcomes, project-based learning lets students take ownership of the subject they are studying, motivates them to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subject, and provides them with opportunities to pursue their own interests.
The major initiatives to be piloted under the Model Schools research project include:
- updated instructional and school leadership practices for educating 21st-century learners using project-based learning;
- enhanced literacy interventions;
- updated and relevant curricula and assessment strategies;
- supports for students in transition to and from high school;
- focused professional development support and teacher accountability; and
- a teaching-school philosophy with an increased presence of pre-service teachers in partnership with faculties of education.
Five anglophone high schools have been selected to conduct the Model Schools research project, which will receive a first-year investment of $350,000. The participating schools are Tantramar Regional High School, Sackville (District 2); Simonds High School, Saint John (District 8); Bathurst High School, Bathurst (District 15); Blackville School, Blackville (District 16); and Cambridge-Narrows School, Cambridge (District 17).
The locations of the five model schools were chosen to provide a diverse sampling of large and small, and urban and rural schools. Some of the courses being offered to students include woods manufacturing, construction, criminology, automotive, policing, information technology, and environment.
“The concept of model schools is growing globally,” Lamrock said. “We hope that the lessons learned from this pilot project will provide us with valuable insights to model schools, as it is our intention to extend this program to other high schools in New Brunswick.”
The Model Schools research project being introduced to the anglophone sector, and the 140 specific actions outlined in When Kids Come First, will advance New Brunswick toward meeting its objective of building the best education system in the country.