According to G.H. Twelftree, the Sanhedrin was the “supreme Jewish religious political and legal council in Jerusalem” (836) and “at least theoretically, the Jerusalem Sanhedrin’s sphere of authority extended over the spiritual, political and legal affairs of the Jews” (839). In other words, while the Sanhedrin still fell under the authority of the Roman Empire, they held a considerable amount of political power among the Jewish people. Since Pharisees and Sadducees made up the membership of this council, they enjoyed a good deal influence. Jesus, it seems, was a threat to the status quo and, therefore, their enviable political status. In the Gospel of John,Read More →

A few weeks ago, to the delight of more than 1200 teachers, Sir Ken Robinson visited my town to espouse the virtues of creativity in our schools and speak on the need for our education system to change with the times. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Sir Robinson, he’s a rock star in the progressive education community. He’s a great speaker: charming, funny, inviting and personable. At $25 a ticket, you would have to be a pretty charismatic orator to make the subject of education reform so enamoring. In short, Robinson believes that our schools should focus more on nurturing creativity inRead More →

It has dawned on me that, as parents, we are convinced that our kids are extraordinary.  In fact, we believe that they have so much hidden brilliance and talent that we feel that exposing them to anything ordinary is a crime against their percolating potential.  Take their schooling as an example.  Right now the hottest trend in education is child-centred instruction.  In short, this is an approach to teaching where the interests of the child influence what is taught.  Actually, “teaching” isn’t really what happens.  It’s more like facilitating.  This, we are told, will unlock our child’s love for learning and boundless potential because she’llRead More →

  A few weeks ago I had a brief conversation with a university student. He didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life even though he was in his senior year. He had decided that, since he had so few ideas, he was going to apply for teachers college. Up until that point he had never considered teaching as a profession. He figured that teaching was a good option because it seemed like a job that offered security, good benefits, reasonable hours, and summers off. Maybe this young man will end up being a great teacher but to hear him talk, I don’tRead More →

Allow me to conduct a quick and not-so-scientific survey. When you read the term “critical thinking skills” what images come to mind? Perhaps it’s a classroom of well-mannered students engaged in the thrust and parry of lively debate; maybe you’re picturing attentive and eager children absorbing material like a sponge and asking for more; or possibly you envision students wrestling with complex problems with the determination of passionate scholars. Now, think about the term “rote memorization”.  I’m guessing that the images you’re conjuring are not as idyllic. If you cringe at the thought of memorizing I can understand. Years ago, rote learning (which involved aRead More →

  You’ve probably heard it said before that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Well, that’s what’s going on in Ontario. The Ontario government recently announced that, as of September, elementary schools are required to teach sixty minutes of math each day. At first glance this seems like a positive development. More time spent on a subject in a province where math scores have been dropping for years must be a good thing, right? Look again. The Ontario government would like us to believe that, by mandating more time to teaching math, they’reRead More →

Okay, I admit, the title is a little misleading. I mean, who would really say that it’s not important for our kids to learn how to think critically? So, yes, I lured you in with a provocative title but read on because, as you’ll see, I am a little critical about critical thinking. If you’ve got a child in school then he or she has probably asked, or will ask one day, the following question: “When will I ever need this?” Of course, we’ re talking about the stuff our kids learn in school. At some point they’ll look at the math question they’re workingRead More →