Events have rendered me unwilling to think about education and despairing of teachers in Ontario ever being treated as more than technicians in the near future. I have not written about education for many months now, but the little girl next door is leaving her Montessori school to start grade one at our local school. My niece is half way through high school and two young cousins are returning to the francophone primary school. We talk about school: what their parents like; what works for the children; the inequities; the little miracles wrought by their teachers; the rules, ridiculous and important; the children’s biases and prejudices. For the most part both the parents and children recognise that compromises have to be made in what is essentially still an industrial model of education but sometimes I hear frustration in their voices.
I am surrounded by teachers, too. Primary, Montessori, kindergarten to grade 8 French, high school language, supply, university psychology, adult ESL teacher trainers, graduate supervisors. They all have their delights and concerns as they return to the classroom. Sometimes one or two will honour me by turning over a problem with me or asking my advice and I get some insight into their particular corners of the teaching profession.
All of us see things which don’t make sense, which hinder teachers in their teaching, students in their learning and parents in their support of both. So inevitably I want to write again to point out the illogical, the wasteful and the effective events taking place in our schools. I want to talk about what does work, especially the simple easy techniques.
I have been looking over the many thoughtful comments I have received from readers. Please keep them coming; even when I disagree with you, they provoke me to think and consider other possibilities. Writing in a vacuum is a dangerous thing as the writer may begin to believe everything she writes.
Watch this space for more about equity for the learning disabled, sense in teaching second languages and reflections on morality. I hope to eventually have some comments to make on university teaching, too. One might say that teaching is a new discovery in all university faculties, except, perhaps the education faculties. And I am not too sure about them!