BCTF Online Museum

Project-based learning
and student focused curriculum

From: A Short Story of the BCTF
Attributed to Stanley Heywood, circa 1978; held in BCTF Archives

“1935. Dr. King of the Department of Education is perhaps the leading apostle of Dewey  and Progressivism in BC. He replaces the old 20 page curriculum booklet with a new extensive three-volume work.

Dr. Weir, the Minister of Education, calls the elementary curriculum probably the most modern in the world. Its intent is that the continual ‘enrichment of the individual’s life and an improved society may result’.

‘The curriculum must be made for the student, not the student for the curriculum. It is far easier to change the curriculum than the intelligence of a pupil.’

At the same time the ‘project’ or ‘enterprise’ teaching method is introduced. This combines several subjects into a single ‘project'.

As well, Dr. King’s suggestion of a permanent Curriculum Review Committee, with teacher representation, is accepted by the government.

But the ‘project’ method is fated.

Dr. King imposes the method and the curriculum without first adequately preparing the teachers. In desperation, locals set up curriculum study groups. After school, teachers struggle to come to grips with the new system. In frustration, many leave the profession.”