The nature of the Québec Education Program and the synergy of its components lend themselves to a consideration of the cultural dimension.
The three aims of the Québec Education Program already reflect a concern for the cultural dimension. Culture offers inexhaustible resources for the development of students’ world view, for the construction of their identity and for their empowerment.
To achieve these aims, it is necessary to take into account:
- who the student is
- the physical, familial, cultural and social environment with which the student is interacting
- the tools the student needs to take advantage of this interaction
In addition, learning is considered socially meaningful if it provides students with tools enabling them to better understand the cultural, physical and social world of which they are a part.
The broad areas of learning
The broad areas of learning cover a variety of questions facing students in their personal, physical, social and cultural environment.
Some areas of learning, such as Citizenship and Community Life, are more directly related to values. Others, such as Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities and Media Literacy, are more concerned with the student’s sociocultural context.
Beyond these differences, all the broad areas of learning include several focuses of development that encourage the use of cultural references.
The Québec Education Program promotes a competency-based approach. A competency is defined as the ability to act effectively by mobilizing a range of resources.
These resources may take various forms. Some are internal, or inherent, and not necessarily the result of formal education. Both internal and external resources have a cultural dimension.
Whether they are material, technical, human or environmental, resources place students in contact with significant cultural objects that can help them develop a competency.
The development of cross-curricular competencies is facilitated by the contextualization provided by subject-specific or interdisciplinary learning situations. The suggestions for the use of cultural references in learning situations may require the use of any or all of these competencies.
Subject areas and subject-specific programs
The subject areas are one of the components of the Québec Education Program that facilitate the integration of the cultural dimension into learning and teaching.
Languages, arts education, mathematics, science and technology, social sciences and personal development constitute major components of culture with which students should be placed in contact during their schooling.
In consequence, the learning content of the subject-specific programs is intended to make important aspects of culture and of the social, physical and cultural environment accessible and understandable.
Examination of the subject-specific programs shows that some competencies, key features and achievement contexts make it possible to establish connections between significant cultural references and the various subjects in the curriculum.
This also applies to much of the essentiel knowledge and learning content. Each subject involves many cultural references which are mobilized through the development of competencies.
Evaluation of learning
Evaluation is the process whereby a student's learning (that is, knowledge and competencies in each subject area) is assessed on the basis of information gathered, analyzed and interpreted for the purpose of making pedagogical and, where appropriate, administrative decisions.
In accordance with the orientations of the Policy on the Evaluation of Learning, the evaluation of learning is guided by the values of justice, equality and equity as well as those of coherence, rigour and openness.
The evaluation of learning constitutes an essential stage that gives students feedback on their acquisition of cultural knowledge with a view to promoting their autonomy and the development of their competencies, artistic or otherwise.
For teachers, the evaluation of learning is an invaluable tool for increasing their effectiveness as cultural guides and mediators.