When an academic debate goes off the rails

Sharing nonconformist ideas shouldn't be cause for censure, but at Wilfrid Laurier University, that seems to be the case

When an academic debate goes off the railsA new episode of The Twilight Zone is playing at Wilfrid Laurier University. It features a young woman charged with spreading sedition. It’s a cliffhanger. Will our heroine genuflect and apologize or will her inquisitors execute her? This little summary of the drama at Laurier isn’t a stretch. The longer version, for those who missed…

Giving teachers a voice in crafting a better education system

Considering the emphasis placed on critical thinking in schools, it’s ironic that teacher development minimizes debate and emphasizes conformity

Giving teachers a voice in crafting a better education systemTeaching is a challenging job. Anyone who has spent a few days in a school knows that teachers have a lot of demands placed upon them. Their responsibilities often go far beyond basic classroom instruction. From dealing with disruptive student behaviours to organizing extracurricular activities to supervising hallways and playgrounds, the workload of teachers is…

The dark, Machiavellian side of academia

Overlooked by the mass media and given almost free rein, the academic world is a haven for bullies and antisocial behaviour

The dark, Machiavellian side of academiaAccording to the mass media, Hollywood and Westminster are awash with misogynists, pornographers, exploitationists and bullies. That may or may not be true. Natural justice requires that accusers and accused have their day in court. Unfortunately, trial by media seems to have replaced trial by jury. While we’re in the mood to put the world…

KCS student leaders earn provincial award

Award goes to the council that shows great student leadership, community involvement and volunteer work

KCS student leaders earn provincial awardKevin McBain of The Clarion Six members of the Student Leadership Council at Kindersley Composite School attended the Saskatchewan Student Leadership conference held in Tisdale. The annual event was held Sept. 20 to 22 with more than 700 students, plus advisers, attending from across the province. Students attending from KCS were Kali Sproule, Courtney McKenzie,…

Down with textbooks, the pre-digested meal of the academic world

To read a textbook is to receive a second- or third-rate experience, and third- and fourth-hand knowledge

Down with textbooks, the pre-digested meal of the academic worldI’m reminded of that old game Telephone we played in grade school. The teacher whispered in the ear of the child beside her and that child passed the message to the next person. By the time the message came back to the teacher, it had been hopelessly, hilariously mangled, either by passing clumsily through so…

New math doesn’t add up but can something be done?

Saskatchewan's new education minister wants a back-to-basics approach to math instruction that would give students much-needed skills

New math doesn’t add up but can something be done?After enduring years of fuzzy math, Saskatchewan parents may finally have cause for hope. Not only did the provincial government’s latest throne speech acknowledge that Saskatchewan students have the worst math skills in the country, it pledged to address the problem with a “common-sense” plan that focuses on the basics. That’s good news for parents…

Alberta’s sex-ed showdown

In a tolerant, civil society, we embrace a diversity of beliefs. But we need to take care that society's core values aren't undermined by religious beliefs

Alberta’s sex-ed showdownJason Kenney, the newly-elected leader of Alberta's United Conservative Party, has made it clear that Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has no business dictating how sex education should be taught in the Catholic school system. “It’s not for me or the premier to dictate to the Catholic education system how it teaches Catholic values,” he has…

Alberta’s independent schools provide needed choice, value

Despite activist claims, most independent schools in Alberta are not bastions for the rich, but they do fill a critical education niche

Alberta’s independent schools provide needed choice, valueBy Angela MacLeod and Sasha Parvani The Fraser Institute In Alberta, school choice is under attack. Alongside several teacher unions and associations, groups such as Public Interest Alberta and SOS Alberta want to reduce the choices available for families outside the public education system by pressuring the government to eliminate provincial funding for independent schools. SOS…

The fallacy of modern post-secondary education

In the pay-for-play model, students accrue crippling debts to pay for an education. They want what they pay for – even if they didn't earn it

The fallacy of modern post-secondary educationLast week, a teacher friend forwarded me a letter one of his students had sent asking him to re-mark an assignment she had failed. Her reasoning was clear: She needed the grade. His reasoning for giving her the failing grade was equally clear: She didn’t follow the instructions and she didn’t understand the material. Plus,…

A minibus ramble through Scottish Highland history

As our minibus pulled to a stop, I felt suddenly that my grandmother’s love of the Highland landscape was surrounding us all

A minibus ramble through Scottish Highland historyI count myself lucky to have had a Scottish grandmother. She was a Graham of Montrose, and came from humble beginnings. I remember her describing something called a byre, and explaining that her mother lived in a crofter’s house with the cattle. From the moment I learned this, I have wanted to travel to northern…