It’s time that students came first rather than last

Two years of pandemic restrictions have taken a toll on our kids

It’s time that students came first rather than lastFinally, provincial governments are loosening public health restrictions. Based on what many health officials are saying, there’s a good chance that our country will be largely free of these restrictions by spring. And not a moment too soon, particularly for our young people. Even though kids are in the age group that is least likely…

Handwriting remains a useful skill

We are more likely to remember words we write than words we type

Handwriting remains a useful skill“Sign here please.” Anyone who has ever accepted a UPS delivery, signed a permission slip for a school field trip, or filled out a legal document has likely seen this phrase. Although it takes only a few seconds to sign a document, our handwritten signature means we have read the document and accepted its terms.…

Teachers should keep using textbooks

Telling students to create their own knowledge by finding sources on the internet is just plain wrong

Teachers should keep using textbooksI learned a lot about Canadian history when I was an elementary school student. However, it had little to do with what happened during class. Rather, I came across an old Canadian history textbook in our school library and started reading it on my own time. What sparked my interest was the textbook author’s ability…

Teachers’ unions are undermining their own long-term viability

Parents can no longer rely on the public system for their kid's education

Teachers’ unions are undermining their own long-term viabilityFinally, schools across Canada are starting to reopen. Most provinces had switched to remote learning at the beginning of January to assess the impact of the Omicron variant. But now, thankfully, these remote learning sessions are coming to an end. Given this trend, it looks likely that all Canadian students who want to be back…

We need more diversity of thought among our teachers

The left-wing activism of teachers’ unions sends a clear message about the political leanings of many – perhaps most – teachers

We need more diversity of thought among our teachersIf you visit any Canadian teachers’ union website, you might think that all teachers reside on the far left of the political spectrum. For example, the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) isn’t shy about taking left-leaning stands on controversial political topics. Among other things, the BCTF supports student climate strikes, advocates for more spending on…

Why principals, teachers don’t belong in the same union

New legislation will allow Manitoba to follow the lead of Canada’s biggest provinces, creating clear lines between management and staff

Why principals, teachers don’t belong in the same unionPrincipals and teachers shouldn’t be in the same union. That was a key recommendation of the Manitoba Commission on Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education report. Clearly, the Manitoba government has taken this recommendation to heart. Bill 64, the Education Modernization Act, proposes to remove principals and vice-principals from teacher bargaining units. This is a significant…

Stuck in a dangerous information echo chamber

When we limit our media consumption to one side of the political spectrum, we get a distorted picture of reality

Stuck in a dangerous information echo chamberEveryone likes positive affirmation. It’s nice knowing that while the rest of the world has gone crazy, your friends have your back. It feels even better when you have thousands of friends agreeing with everything you say. Frankly, that’s the power of social media, where positive affirmation is only a few clicks away. Social media…

Religious ignorance is on the rise but we can combat it in our schools

Ignorance is the surest path to misunderstanding. And if it’s not addressed, misunderstanding quickly descends into intolerance

Religious ignorance is on the rise but we can combat it in our schools“Amen and awoman.” This was how a U.S. congressman concluded a prayer recently in the House of Representatives. No doubt he meant to be inclusive of both men and women. However, he sounded ridiculous. That’s because the word “amen” comes from Hebrew and means “so be it.” Amen has nothing to do with gender. This…

What Jeopardy! teaches us about learning styles

It’s important for schools to have a knowledge-rich curriculum that sequentially builds on knowledge year by year. Alex Trebek taught us that

What Jeopardy! teaches us about learning stylesCanadians were saddened to learn that longtime Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek passed away recently from pancreatic cancer. For more than 35 years, Trebek was a familiar face in our homes. There was no better way of testing your general knowledge than seeing how many Jeopardy! questions you could correctly answer. The outpouring of emotion over…

Why traditional schooling fosters better results

Most students learn best in a structured and orderly school environment that’s directed by a good teacher

Why traditional schooling fosters better resultsPicture a school in an underprivileged part of north London, England.  One-third of nearby families live in poverty, a significant percentage are visible minorities, and the neighbourhood crime rate is twice the national average. What kind of academic results would you expect from this school? If you expected this school to score below average, think…