Tag Archives: education

A few thoughts on returning to school in the age of Covid-19

If British Columbia and other jurisdictions are serious about a “continuity of learning”, then it’s clear that distance or distributed learning (DL) will play an integral part. As such, I would like to offer the following suggestions based on my 27 years as a secondary public-school teacher, seven of which were in DL. I certainly […]

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Looming on the horizon: English Studies 12

Of the many changes to British Columbia’s new English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum, none may be more problematic than English Studies 12. If all goes according to plan, the BC education system will see the wide-spread adoption of this new course in 2019-2020. In other words, folks, it’s arriving next September. Why is it problematic? […]

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Reflections on BC’s proposed English 10-12 curriculum

As someone who has taught for 24 years in the BC public education system, I am somewhat bewildered by the new curriculum proposals for English 10 to 12. First, the lack of a Communications stream is a serious mistake. I am glad that some of the language that initially justified the removal of Communications is not […]

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Choice and flexibility: some thoughts on the new curriculum

The latest drafts of the grades 10-12 English and social studies curricula and the recent announcement of BC’s new graduation requirements confirm what many secondary teachers have feared: the continued (and perhaps accelerated) slide towards a consumer-oriented education system that offers little accountability. Let’s start with the new curricula. [Because I am a secondary humanities teacher, […]

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The Politics of Curriculum

Tonight a parent on social media asked if teachers were concerned about the BCTF’s collaboration with the government regarding BC’s new curriculum. Here’s my response: As a secondary teacher, I can tell you that many, many teachers disagree fundamentally with the direction of this new curriculum. We don’t feel there has been much substantive input, […]

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Reforming BC’s Scholarship Program?

The BC government recently stopped accepting online submissions to its review of the BC scholarship program, but I had a chance to reply before it closed. The rationale for the review was well stocked with the 21st century jargon that Ministry of Education apparatchiks so adore: British Columbia has one of the best education systems in the world. […]

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The Phoniness of BC’s Teacher “Surplus” [Updated]

By 2008, an anticipated shortage of teachers in BC had disappeared. In a National Post article, the change seemed almost inexplicable: “My sense is that there are more teachers than we need in a couple of subject areas,” said Marie Crowther, registrar for the B.C. College of Teachers. “Overall the anticipated shortage hasn’t materialized and from my […]

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The False Argument of Equivalence

Mike Smyth’s Sunday editorial [Ed. The link is no longer available.] is a classic example of BC’s mainstream corporate media once again spinning the narrative of equivalence with regard to BC’s education system. We’ve seen it for years from mainstream commentators like Keith Baldrey, Jon Ferry and Tom Fletcher. [Les Leyne of the Times-Colonist is a recent […]

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A Review of Tom Bennett’s Teacher Proof

[D]on’t let the fashions crush you. And so many of them are so, so very bad. The thrill of innovation, the desire for simple answers, and the mistaken belief that educational research will shine a guiding light to a smarter, more efficient system, has proven the undoing of us, and will undermine us further if […]

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Reflections on a 21st Century School

I recently had the opportunity to spend a day at Thomas Haney Secondary School in Maple Ridge, BC. The school is known for its commitment to flexible, personalized, learn-at-your-own-pace education, and is touted by many as an exemplar of progressive pedagogy. As a teacher curious about the phenomenon of “21st century learning”, but also a little […]

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