Immigrant Student Success: Why Are Asian Canadian Students Soaring?

Amy Chua, the infamous Asian American “Tiger Mother,” is back with a provocative new book, The Triple Package, that started generating monsoon-high waves even before its publication. Teaming up with her spouse, fellow Yale law professor Jed Rubenfeld, Chua tackles what is considered a taboo subject – why certain “cultural groups” in the United States are “astonishingly successful” and perform particularly well in school.

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Riding the 2013 Learning Curve: What Stood in the Way of Educational Change?

“What’s Standing in the Way of Educational Change?” is a fundamental question that deserves an answer.  On October 21, 2013, it was also the theme of a Canadian Education Association (CEA) Symposium held in Calgary and attended by some 300 educators, including delegates from seven ministries of education, 12 faculties of education,...

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Early Years Education: What Stands in the Way of Universal Early Learning?

A recent Ontario study of some 700 children attending the new Full-Day, Two-Year Kindergarten program claimed that the first cohort was better prepared to enter Grade 1, showing  strong language development, improved communications skills, and better social skills.   That report was welcome news for an Ontario Liberal Government,...

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Facts in Education: Who Guards the Canadian “Facts” — and for What Purpose?

Bright red pencils and bold X’s used to be the preferred tools of correction in the North American classroom. Those methods came  naturally to educators with a bred-in-the-bone urge to correct others.  Today the red pencils and self-esteem destroying X’s are gone, but the underlying instincts to correct others remain....

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The Attainment – Achievement Gap: What do Rising Student Graduation Rates Actually Tell Us?

High school graduation season has come and gone and it seems an opportune time to step back and try to assess the whole matter of rapidly rising graduation rates. Now that high school graduation rates have topped 80 % in most Canadian provinces and some American states, it seems reasonable to ask whether rising levels of student...

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Future Tense: Where is “21st Century Learning” Heading?

Educators are well known for recycling. The so-called “21st Century Learning Skills”, as Bob McGahey of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation recently noted, are a classic example of the phenomenon. Anyone familiar with North American education over the past fifty years is immediately taken aback seeing such old panaceas...

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TED Talks: What’s Spouting from the New Age Tower of Edu-Babble?

TED Talks are all the rage in today’s North American education world.  Since British educational visionary Sir Ken Robinson’s 2006 star turn in “Schools Kill Creativity,”  the short You Tube video talks have become a staple at most provincial teachers’ conferences and local Professional Development...

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The Curiosity of School: Do Schools Kill Curiosity?

Thinking deeply about the story of public schooling can land you in trouble. That’s why Zander Sherman’s first book, The Curiosity of School: Education and the Dark Side of the Enlightenment could well be the most stimulating Canadian contribution to the Great Education Debate in decades.  It came from out of the blue — and...

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Education “Extras” are Really Essentials: What is Gained — and Lost — in Teacher Labour Actions?*

In 1979, the York Region Public School Board locked me out. After reporting for school one morning, my OSSTF representative Dick Barron stopped me in the Thornlea Secondary School parking lot. Huddled together with the other teachers, we were all told the board had shut down the schools and we were advised to go home until further...

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Challenging Smart Students: Do AP and the IB Provide the Right Challenge?

Personalized, student-centred learning is the centerpiece of the B.C. Ministry of Education’s new plan to enrich student learning through “individualization” aimed at providing high quality teaching and learning, more flexibility and choice, and fuller utilization of the power of technology.  Enriched high school programs like The...

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