Memorization, practise and critical thinking go hand-in-hand

It's unreasonable to assume that students can practise critical thinking without first acquiring substantial background knowledge

Memorization, practise and critical thinking go hand-in-handAll students should become critical thinkers. The ability to synthesize and evaluate information, and come up with new ways of looking at things is highly prized in education circles from kindergarten to graduate school. Given the importance of critical thinking, it’s not surprising that schools across the country proudly trumpet the progress they make in…

Are the days of teachers coming to an end?

No, but because of how students learn today means that the role of the teacher has to change drastically

Are the days of teachers coming to an end?In the spate of recent violence, one incident that got little coverage resulted in six deaths and more than 100 injured – more than half of whom were police. The event occurred in Mexico in June. It was instigated by teachers who opposed the imposition of mandatory testing on themselves. Although their methods were deeply…

Three principles for better schools

More than ever, Canada needs an education system based on the powerful principles of freedom, autonomy and accountability

Three principles for better schoolsThe evolution of education is coming full circle, for the betterment of children. In earlier times, the education of Canadian children was sometimes compared to a three-legged stool, one leg representing the family, another the church, the third the government. Over time, the first two legs have come to bear less weight. The education of…

Financial literacy must be part of learning plan

By giving students the tools they will need to grow wealth, as opposed to bad debt, we will be helping the next generation to succeed

Financial literacy must be part of learning planA few weeks ago, the Government of Alberta announced an ambitious overhaul of the Kindergarten through Grade 12 public education curricula. The $64-million project will span six years and will involve approximately 50 education professionals in the planning, drafting, and communication of the multi-faceted review. What is unusual about Alberta's approach is that it means…

There are no shortcuts to quality learning

Cheating will come back to bite you sooner or later, causing embarrassment, and damaging your reputation, life and career

There are no shortcuts to quality learningThe 1967 movie How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is typical 1960s satire. It suggests that success only requires cutting corners, chumming up to the right people, lying, cheating and choosing the unethical path whenever it appears. This might be true in organizations like the World Wide Wicket Company, in which this fictional indulgence (based on a musical, based on…

Standardized tests aren’t perfect but they are useful

Standardized testing is one of the very few ways parents can assess the quality of public education provided to their children

Standardized tests aren’t perfect but they are usefulAcross the continent, time and money is being invested to assess the quality of public education in reading, writing and mathematics. And the reactions of the teachers' unions to this testing is consistent across the board. Universally, they deplore standardized testing. The names of the tests differ – Common Core in the United States, EQAO…

Good teachers matter more than small class size

Reducing class sizes is a costly initiative with little payback

Good teachers matter more than small class sizePrince Edward Island opposition MLA Sidney MacEwen made headlines earlier this month when he challenged the government to enforce class-size limits. But the evidence shows such a move is costly and relatively fruitless in terms of academic gain. MacEwen, a Progressive Conservative, zeroed in on supposedly large kindergarten classes and called on the Liberal government…

Exposing the flaws in discovery math

Elementary math skills continue to decline in Canada, and that has long-term societal implications

Exposing the flaws in discovery mathThe defunct game show that asked Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? may have predicted this problem. Reports out of teachers colleges suggest that the fifth grade teacher is struggling with the mathematics curriculum – just as their students are. Many new Canadian elementary school teachers lack basic math skills involving multiplication, division and fractions.…

Parents should have greater school choice in Ontario

There is nothing inherently threatening to the goals of public education in offering more school choice to parents

Parents should have greater school choice in OntarioBy Derek J. Allison and Deani Van Pelt The Fraser Institute With teacher contracts ratified in Ontario, attention can be turned from what teachers want to what parents want. And it’s increasingly clear that parents want choice. When parents choose anything other than their neighbourhood public school they are engaging in school choice. Catholic, Francophone,…

Technology alone should not drive education reform

Hopefully a new report from the OECD slows down the mad rush to equip students of all ages with the latest computer gadgets

Technology alone should not drive education reformA recent OECD report dropped a bombshell on those who view technology as the driving force of education reform. The report found that “students who use computers very frequently at school do a lot worse in most learning outcomes, even after accounting for social background and student demographics.” The report was authored by Andreas Schleicher, Organization…
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