British Columbia’s new curriculum for grades 10-12 supports the personalized learning approach taken by SelfDesign Learning Community since its inception in 2002! Grade 10 and 11 learners will explore their ideas and personal interests through a thematic approach, while gaining credit towards courses for their Dogwood diploma or the path to completion that best suits them.
SelfDesign offers a full-time, integrated, project-based program in a semestered workshop format for grade 10 and 11.
Here are the first steps in the new grade 10 and 11 experience.
Each youth enrolled in grade 10 and 11 work one-on-one with a learning consultant—an educator to guide them through the SelfDesign experience. All learning consultants are BC-certified educators and specialists in the SelfDesign approach. The learning consultant offers insights, resources, and support both to learners and their parents. To provide the best possible educator/family pairing, learners and their parents select several choices from a diverse pool of candidates, and SelfDesign completes the match.
Youth develop a personalized learning plan in collaboration with their learning consultant and parent, as needed. This plan maps a youth’s interests and curiosities, specifying resources and activities that will be used to facilitate learning and meet BC educational requirements—including those needed to satisfy requirements for the BC Dogwood high school diploma.
In Grade 10, learners explore four courses per semester through a theme of their choice. From ‘Animal Relationships’ to ‘What’s in a Story’ to ‘Life: Gamified’ to ‘STEM’ (science, technology, engineering, and math), theme sessions are structured so that learners can develop curricular competencies in interdisciplinary settings, providing the opportunity to focus on topics that inspire and enliven.
Courses included in the all Grade 10 themes are: Math, Socials, Science, English, Physical and Health Education, Career Education, Media Arts, and one theme-specific elective.
In Grade 11, learners explore three or four courses per semester through thematic workshops. Courses included in the Grade 11 themes are more diverse and flexible, so learners can selfdesign their path to graduation.
The learning consultant coaches the youth and parents in how to observe daily activities, assisting them in noticing learning as it unfolds in everyday moments. At SelfDesign, we call this Observing for Learning.
Youth collaborate with the learning consultant in the Observing for Learning process, with parent support as needed—building a deepened awareness of their own integrated learning.
Weekly Observing for Learning communications are central to SelfDesign’s grade 10 and 11 learning. Each week learners submit a reflection to their educator about the learning observed – with the option to also include videos, images, or sound files. The learning consultant then provides a written response, including insights, recommendations, questions, and resources to clarify and deepen the reflection. The Observing for Learning communications provide evidence of learning that happens outside of the theme-based workshops and foster connection with the learning consultant, who supports the youth in their larger grade 10 and 11 program. They create rich documentation for the youth and family about the breadth of learning that has occurred over the year.
At SelfDesign, we believe assessment should be meaningful, responsive, collaborative and promote the development of self-assessment and goal-setting skills. As a result, we use reflection by both learner and learning team to create an iterative process throughout the semester, expanding each youth’s grasp of the competencies and of themselves. SelfDesign’s approach to assessment expands a youth’s competencies for 21st century living and for lifelong learning.
This optional online course guides parents through weekly explorations about the fundamental ideas of SelfDesign. A SelfDesigning Path is highly recommended for parents new to SelfDesign. The online interface blends imagery, video, audio clips, and journaling that draws parents into self-reflection. There is also a facilitated, online conference that connects parents to one another and to a facilitator for the course.
In grade 10 and 11, parents often find themselves stepping back a little as they support their youth in building new learning relationships both with peers and with adult mentors. At SelfDesign, we support this emerging independence through encouragement for learners to form direct relationships with their learning consultants, through learner participation online–and occasionally through in-person group learning experiences. Parents and learners alike are also invited to participate in the online “Village of Conversations”.
Learners in BC, a province with a rich Indigenous history and culture, experience potentially new ways of understanding the world and all its relations through a framework of Indigenous wisdom and philosophy, gaining insights into their own physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual lives and wellbeing.