Principles Underlying the Ontario Mathematics Curriculum
The Ontario mathematics curriculum for Grades 1 to 8 is founded on the following principles:
- A mathematics curriculum is most effective when it values and celebrates the diversity that exists among students.
The Ontario mathematics curriculum is based on the belief that all students can and deserve to be successful in mathematics. It recognizes that not all students necessarily learn mathematics in the same way, use the same resources, and/or learn within the same time frames. Setting high expectations and building a safe and inclusive community of learners requires the use of a variety of differentiated instructional and assessment strategies and approaches that create an optimal and equitable environment for mathematics learning.
- A robust mathematics curriculum is essential for ensuring that all students reach their full potential.
The Ontario mathematics curriculum challenges all students by including learning expectations that capitalize on students’ prior knowledge; involve higher-order thinking skills; and require students to make connections between their lived experiences, mathematical concepts, other subject areas, and situations outside of school. This learning enables all students to gain a powerful knowledge of the usefulness of the discipline and an appreciation of the importance of mathematics.
- A mathematics curriculum provides all students with the foundational mathematics concepts and skills they require to become capable and confident mathematics learners.
The Ontario mathematics curriculum provides a balanced approach to the teaching and learning of mathematics. It is based on the belief that all students learn mathematics most effectively when they develop a solid understanding of the fundamental concepts and skills in mathematics and are given opportunities to apply these concepts and skills as they solve increasingly complex tasks and investigate mathematical ideas, applications, and situations in everyday contexts. As students begin to see the relevance of mathematics and to see themselves as capable mathematics learners, they begin to develop a positive identity as a mathematics learner.
- A progressive mathematics curriculum includes the strategic integration of technology to support and enhance the learning and doing of mathematics.
The Ontario mathematics curriculum strategically integrates the use of appropriate technologies to help all students develop mathematical knowledge, concepts, and skills, while recognizing the continuing importance of students’ mastering the fundamentals of mathematics. For some students, assistive technology also provides an essential means of accessing the mathematics curriculum and demonstrating their learning. Students develop the ability to select appropriate tools and strategies to perform particular tasks, to investigate ideas, and to solve problems. The curriculum sets out a framework for learning important skills, such as problem solving, coding, and modelling, as well as opportunities to develop critical data literacy skills, information literacy skills, and financial literacy skills.
- A mathematics curriculum acknowledges that the learning of mathematics is a dynamic, gradual, and continuous process, with each stage building on the last.
The Ontario mathematics curriculum is dynamic, continuous, and coherent and is designed to help all students develop an understanding of the universal coherence and nature of mathematics. Students see how concepts develop and how they are interconnected. Teachers observe and listen to all students and then responsively shape instruction in ways that will foster and deepen student understanding of important mathematics. The fundamental concepts, skills, and processes are introduced in the primary grades and solidified and extended throughout the junior and intermediate grades. The program is continuous, as well, from the elementary to the secondary level. Teachers connect mathematics to students’ everyday experiences, which helps all students develop a deeper understanding of the relevance of mathematics to the world beyond the classroom. Students also come to understand that learning in mathematics never ends.
- A mathematics curriculum is integrated with the world beyond the classroom.
The Ontario mathematics curriculum provides opportunities for all students to investigate and experience mathematical situations they might find outside of the classroom and develop an appreciation for the beauty and wide-reaching nature and importance of mathematics. The overall program integrates and balances concept development and skill development, including social-emotional learning skills, as well as the use of mathematical processes and real-life applications.
- A mathematics curriculum motivates students to learn and to become lifelong learners.
The Ontario mathematics curriculum is brought to life in the classroom, where students develop mathematical understanding and are given opportunities to relate their knowledge, concepts, and skills to wider contexts. Making connections to the world around them stimulates their interest and motivates them to become lifelong learners with positive attitudes towards mathematics. Teachers bring the mathematics curriculum to life using their knowledge of:
- the mathematics curriculum;
- the backgrounds and identities of all students, including their past and ongoing experiences with mathematics, learning strengths, and needs;
- mathematical concepts and skills, and how they are connected across the strands and with other disciplines;
- instructional approaches and assessment strategies best suited to meet the learning needs of all students;
- resources designed to support and to enhance the achievement of and engagement with the curriculum expectations, while fostering an appreciation for and joy in math learning.