Friday, September 04, 2015

Canada's 2015 election

Although it is clear that Stephen Harper's record on the economy is poor in spite of his claim to the contrary, the reality is that our federal government can do little about the economy.  We are pawns of the US and large corporations. Unfortunately, both Justin Trudeau and Tom Mulcair are making the economy the big issue of the election.  Their ideas are too small to have any real impact on the economy. The real issues are the environment, social welfare and democracy itself.

Stephen Harper is anti-farmer, anti-scientist, anti-environment, anti-CBC and anti-democracy. The only thing he is for is big business and big oil (his financial supporters). He wants to be dictator. Let’s get rid of him. 

Elizabeth May is one of the smartest people on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and I would like to vote for her but she has little chance of unseating Harper.  The anti-Harper vote is split between the Liberals and the NDP.  I think that the best strategy right now is to vote for the candidate in each riding that has the best chance of beating the Conservative in that riding.  This is the approach that the LeadNow ( organization is taking. Is there any hope of a coalition of Liberals, NDP and Greens?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Reverse Theory of Education

The Reverse Theory of Education

Virtually every school district and university in North America and the rest of the world states in its mission statement or objectives that it wants its learners to become independent lifelong learners.  In fact, we do just the opposite.

We take young children who learned to walk and talk in one year, are learning sponges and have unfettered creativity and put them into institutions.  We start not badly by giving them teachers who have been well trained, who are generalists and whose focus is on the children and their learning.  But we have taken the children and put them in an institutionalized environment and made them somewhat dependent on someone called a teacher.   Most documented curricula make teachers feel that they have to “cover the material”.  I hate that phrase.

In high school, we provide teachers still well trained but who are subject specialists and their focus is on the subject rather than the learning and the process of “covering the content” has worsened.

In university instructors are subject matter experts who are not trained teachers and many of whom care little about teaching – it is something they have to do to support their research.  They pontificate from the front of a classroom because it worked for them so it must work for everyone else.

This process makes students increasingly dependent on the “teacher”.  We have systematically pummeled the desire to learn and be creative out of people.

Then suddenly when people go into graduate work or get jobs they are expected to be independent lifelong learners.

What is wrong with this picture?