BCTF  Teacher Newsmagazine:  Volume 24, Number 3, November/December 2011  

Like lambs to the slaughter: The erosion of the cultured citizen 

By Sean M. Douglas  

“I have never let school interfere with my education” wrote Mark Twain as he considered his own understanding of the world; but how long before someone holds a mirror up to public education and realizes that the reflection of the students staring back is not the one they thought they would see? It is a shame to see Mr. Clemens’ (Twains’ dual persona) fears become a reality as education becomes lost within the school.

Perhaps what first needs to be asked is, what should an education look like, versus what kind of learning is currently shaping the next generation?

One can hardly deny that education has changed since, say, the days of Socrates, and it is clear that the age of texting and self-corrective technology has led to a decline in communication skills, and while the decline of such proficiency is unfortunate, it will not be “the way to a dusty death.” What is unfortunate, however, is education’s digression from culture in the classroom, for it is through the process of being cultured that all skills follow; “ay, there’s the rub!”

There is, however, a great irony in such a digression of culture, for what often brings culture to a standstill is what occurs in the school itself, the same institution that one would assume seeks to shape the hearts and minds of the future. Then again, it is the ministry whose three objectives “focus on establishing high levels of student achievement; reducing the gaps in student achievement; and ensuring high levels of public confidence in public education.” When the emphasis of education is based around statistics and external perception, it is no wonder that students are not developing a sense of personal identity, citizenship, and culture.

Perhaps schools no longer know how to effectively implement the values of culture, for now that we have become so immersed in politics, we are so overwrought with tensions that our sensitivity and our fear of being unpolitically correct has eroded culture itself. One’s ability to teach classic literature, art, music, history, philosophy, and theory, is successfully being eroded, and it is these disciplines that are necessary for students to become cultured citizens.

Read full article here.

British Columbia Teachers’ Federation Teacher Newsmagazine,  Nov-Dec 2011

The Vancouver Sun

January 9, 2012. 3:41 pm • Section: Report CardSTAFF

The B.C. College of Teachers is now history, and a new teacher regulation branch of government opened its doors Monday. Find its website here.

The branch has issued a call for nominations of teachers from five regions to serve as members of a new 15-member B.C. Teachers’ Council. In addition to five elected members, the council will have three members appointed by the BCTF and seven selected by partner groups (trustees, superintendents, principals, parents, education deans, independent schools and first nations).

The deadline for teacher nominations is Feb. 1, 2012. Get details here.

The council will set standards for teachers. Nine of its members will also handle discipline issues, under the direction of a commissioner appointed by cabinet. That has yet to happen.

Staff from the former college have transferred to the ministry and will continue to process complaints and certify teachers, says a story in the Victoria Times Colonist.

**UPDATE: For the first time, independent-school teachers will be treated the same as public-school teachers. This is good news. Previously, discipline of teachers who were certified by the B.C. independent schools branch was not included in the B.C. College of Teacher (BCCT) public registry because those teachers were not BCCT members. This was not helpful. Nor were the uninformative reports by the independent schools branch, which you can find here.**

Read complete article here

By Janet Steffenhagen, Vancouver Sun 


© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning

UBC Library is offering Valentine’s Day card sets for sale – now available at $5 per set (including tax). With images from myths, fairy tales and stories of eternal love, these cards will be a hit with your sweetheart. Images are taken from UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC), and each purchase supports UBC Library. 

Each set contains five blank cards, with envelopes. To purchase the sets in person, visit circulation desks at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and Koerner Library.

Curious about the amorous occasion? Find out more about Valentine’s Day from History.com. And stay tuned for details about a Valentine-related exhibition at RBSC in February!

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