Chasing higher salaries, not higher things in life

Liberalizing the university curriculum offers something new but usually at the cost of wisdom

Chasing higher salaries, not higher things in lifeIs education liberal or conservative? I’m not talking about party politics. I mean something much more fundamental: Is the work of teachers inherently geared towards replicating scholastic and cultural traditions, or does school exist to prepare students for – and even usher in – social and cultural change? Does school make history or just teach…

The need to nurture a skills economy

We can’t talk about the future of work without also talking about the future of education

The need to nurture a skills economyBy Nobina Robinson and Daniel Komesch Polytechnics Canada  When leaders of the world’s seven most advanced economies meet on June 8 and 9 in Charlevoix, Que., the top-line agenda item will be preparing for the jobs of the future. What exactly does this agenda item mean for the Canadian workers, students and employers? The proliferation…

Can only Indigenous scholars teach Indigenous history?

Schools must be allowed to hire scholars on the basis of academic merit, regardless of race, gender or class

Can only Indigenous scholars teach Indigenous history?A liberal education should deal in ideas that are true and universal. And such an education should, by definition, prepare students to recognize falsehoods and ideas that divide, like the notion that only people of certain races can accomplish certain feats. This defining feature of the liberal arts came to the fore again last week,…

How to stop our top talent from fleeing south to find meaningful careers

With so few small and medium enterprises in Canada, who can blame Canadian tech students from going to the U.S. in search of opportunity?

How to stop our top talent from fleeing south to find meaningful careersConsiderable attention is being paid to the fact that much of Canada’s educated talent is moving to the U.S. to pursue employment, start companies, etc. While government can take steps to suppress brain drain, Canada must develop strategies to prevent other assets from also draining into the U.S. Experts suggest that jobs are best procured…

Remembering memorization, the cornerstone of learning

Students must develop mastery over technique before they can experiment, if the experiment is to have any shape or meaning

Remembering memorization, the cornerstone of learningThe smartest man I’ve ever met had a mind like a high-definition camera. Everything he viewed played on his mind with crystal clarity. He memorized the baseball statistics in the morning paper. A guilty pleasure, he said. He also had a library of poetry memorized. When he lectured, he pulled references, allusions and lines from…

Unions can help teachers resist pointless education fads

Being on the front lines, teachers must implement the latest fads. Then they get blamed when the fads crash and burn

Unions can help teachers resist pointless education fadsThe primary responsibility of teachers’ unions is to represent their members. This includes advocating for better wages, opposing unfair working conditions and ensuring that all teachers receive due process when their jobs are in jeopardy. Obviously, these are the very basic issues. Unions can do something else that would be of immense benefit to their…

Public library is where democracy, learning and inspiration meet

A good public library provides an easy access point for any journey of discovery and a place to find directions when one feels lost

Public library is where democracy, learning and inspiration meetBritish writer Doris Lessing said, “A public library is the most democratic thing in the world. What can be found there has undone dictators and tyrants.” I have to admit I had forgotten what a wonderful and amazing place a public library is until I brought a group of students to my local library for…

How we ignore the complexity and moral ambiguity related to residential schools

We won't find reconciliation until we're willing to examine the truth in all its nuances and subtleties

How we ignore the complexity and moral ambiguity related to residential schoolsIn November 2016, I attended a national gathering in Toronto organized by Indspire, a truly worthwhile national body that promotes and assists with the improvement of education quality and success among Indigenous youth. I was presenting a workshop on the value of bringing dramatic activities into classes such as math and science, to engage students…

Instead of certainty, we should all be longing for a little self-doubt

Instead of living in a time of sober second thought, we exist in a time where the normal and predictable reaction is instant outrage

Instead of certainty, we should all be longing for a little self-doubtIt is a cliché to equate widespread social conflict with times of uncertainty. If only that were so. What ails us now is not living in uncertain times but rather the opposite: certainty abounds, and it is precisely that orientation which will continue to make social and political divisions more acute and less likely to…