Current Problems

Call to Action # 62: Education for Reconciliation (62-65)

Albertans’ priorities for new social studies curriculum

December 14, 2023

NationTalk: Albertans are looking for a stronger focus on history and global events in the new social studies curriculum.

Alberta’s government has begun the process of reviewing and redrafting elementary social studies curriculum. As part of the transparent and collaborative curriculum redraft process, Alberta Education held a public survey from Sept. 18 to Oct. 16. Almost 13,000 surveys were completed by Albertans, who shared their priorities of what students should learn in new social studies curriculum. At the top of Albertans’ lists are that students develop critical thinking skills and that they understand local, Canadian and global events, and global and national history.

“I want to thank the thousands of Albertans who took their time to share their thoughts with me about what Alberta’s new social studies curriculum should look like. This information will be used to help guide the development of the new curriculum. I’m confident that a new social studies curriculum will teach students the important events of the past while equipping them with the critical thinking skills they need to make informed decisions.”

Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Education

The survey included four questions about different aspects of social studies curriculum and asked participants to rank a series of answers based on level of importance. The survey results were summarized in a report prepared by Leger and shows that:

  • Albertans overwhelmingly emphasized the importance of developing critical thinking skills within the social studies curriculum.
  • Albertans want Canadian history and culture to include a focus on:
    • structure of local, provincial and federal governments
    • early settlement and exploration
    • First Nations, Métis and Inuit culture, history and traditions
  • Albertans believe students should learn about world history and global issues, including:
    • human rights
    • trade and the global economy
    • legacies of ancient civilizations
  • Albertans mentioned history most frequently, believing students should be taught both Canadian and general history.

More than 5,000 Albertans provided additional input through an open-ended question in the survey. The most common feedback was related to effective teaching methods and processes, as well as a need for curriculum content to be fact-based, non-partisan and developmentally and age- appropriate.

Alberta Education is continuing to engage with community and education partners, curriculum development specialists and teachers until the end of January. Feedback from these meetings and the public survey will be used to refine the draft social studies curriculum before it is released to the public for further feedback in early 2024.

Quick facts

  • 12,853 surveys were completed.
  • Of those who completed the survey:
    • 58 per cent identified as a parent or guardian of a school-aged child
    • 21 per cent identified as an interested Albertan
    • 14 per cent identified as an educator
    • six per cent identified as a student or other

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