Category Archives: Education

Riffing on MacLennan: The Two Solitudes of Education

After participating in today’s Twitter conversation (#bcedplan) with the Minister of Education, I’m more convinced than ever of the two solitudes in modern education. The ascendant group is made up of the so-called progressives. They seem naturally drawn to modern technologies, and, as a result, are over-represented on Twitter. The other group, what we might call […]

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Same Coin, Two Sides: Resurrecting the Liberal Arts Ideal

There are truths on this side of the Pyranees, which are falsehoods on the other.  ~Blaise Pascal ————- Have you noticed that the same behaviour can be described in diametrically opposed ways, depending on different people’s perspectives? For example, if you were taught, “If you have nothing good to say, then don’t say anything at […]

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Personalized Learning = Pre-Packaged Learning

Last year, when the notion of “personalized learning” started to become a popular topic here in British Columbia, I questioned its practicality. I asked how a secondary teacher could possibly create, supervise and assess 200 or so separate learning programs for his or her students. I concluded that teachers couldn’t possibly pull off such a […]

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The Rise of the Electives and the Smorgasbord Kids (And Why Trades vs Academics is Obsolete)

One of the most common dichotomies in modern education is “trades vs. academics”. Supporters of one (often the trades) will decry the predominance of the other, and demand equal consideration from educators, government and society as a whole. However, I think the debate is clichéd and misses something important. One of the most noticeable trends I […]

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There Are Costs Associated With Choice and Flexibility

The following is a recent contribution I made to the BC Edplan website; the government is using the site to gather feedback for its current forays into “21st century learning” and “personalized learning”. Admittedly, the site is probably also being used to legitimate any future policies that may turn out to be controversial, but I’ve […]

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Equality of Opportunity?

a The following is a quick letter I contributed to the online forum of the Globe and Mail: ____________ One of the great challenges to North America’s dominant political narrative is that it doesn’t actually believe in “equality of opportunity“. If one doubts my contention, simply review the attempts here in Canada to introduce a […]

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Students Consider the Future of Education

One of the more useful educational tools on the Web, especially for teachers of language arts, is the blog. As a platform for authentic communication, the blog offers students a relatively simple and convenient way to express their thoughts, archive those thoughts for the future, and, if desired, converse with others over issues that matter […]

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Back to the Future with Technology

One of the personal ironies of the current push to “21st century learning” is that I would be happy to return to the technology of the 1990’s. Back in those halcyon days, when I lived and worked in a small community along the Alaska border, our tiny rural school had one bookable computer lab fitted […]

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Tobey Steeves: Schools as sorting machines and the imperative of reform

I am pleased to offer a guest post from my comrade-in-arms, Tobey Steeves (@symphily). I think Tobey’s call to recognize the unique qualities of each student in the face of bureaucratic classification and stratification is imperative in today’s obsession with “reform”. Tobey points to a particularly egregious proposal regarding special education: as a sop to […]

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A Few Tweets with Baldrey

Twitter is an interesting technology that I’ve just started to use in the last four months (@grapemanca). So far, it has been a wonderful way to save, share and collect valuable links to fast-breaking stories. Not so useful is its capacity for discussion. Trying to follow a conversation between two other people is very difficult, […]

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