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Focusing On Creativity In our Schools Robs Students Of the Opportunity to Uncover Interests and Talents

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 in

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The Ordinary Education of Albert Einstein

The Ordinary Education of Albert Einstein

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’ll

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A Letter To Future Teachers

A Letter To Future Teachers

  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’t

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Oldie But a Goodie: Why Memorizing Is an Important Tool for Learning

Oldie But a Goodie: Why Memorizing Is an Important Tool for Learning

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 a

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The Definition of Insanity: Even More Discovery Math

The Definition of Insanity: Even More Discovery Math

  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’re

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Students Don’t Need Critical Thinking Skills

Students Don’t Need Critical Thinking Skills

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 working

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