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Showing posts from November, 2014

Education is for Democracy

The purpose of education in a democratic society is to instill the values of cooperation, fairness and justice into the hearts of our students. I would argue that these values are essential to maintaining and improving a functioning democracy in any country. In Canada, our democracy is in serious need of a shake up. We have rising inequality due to an economic system based on competition and profit, we have a Prime Minister who is acting more and more like an authoritarian dictator and we have followed pace with the United States in dismantling the public good over the last forty years.

As a social studies teacher, and a concerned citizen, I often ask myself what do I want my students to be able to contribute to in their lives. Of course I want them to have successful lives in which they are able to follow their passions but I also want them, regardless of their profession, to be able to contribute to our democracy in some way. Democracy is at the heart of my teaching practice as I se…

Education and Activism

Teaching is an all encompassing profession. We often work late hours preparing lesson plans, staying after school or working through lunch to help a student out with academic or personal issues and often spend hundreds of our own dollars on classroom supplies to assist students in their learning.

And now, on top of what we already do as teachers, I'm asking that teachers AND community members get more involved in education activism. Now I know what you're thinking and don't worry I'm not trying to to install a Stalinist reform movement in Alberta's education system. What I mean by "education activism" is that teachers, parents, students and community members need to amp up our work towards a progressive and sustainably funded education system here in Alberta.

There are many great teachers within our province doing incredible things for our students. However, with increased student population and no predictable funding for our education system we are seein…

Teaching Climate Change

Teaching about climate change and climate justice in the social studies classroom is perhaps the most important task of our times as teachers. In terms of threats to the human species, it doesn't get more intense than the impact of climate change on our lives. As climate change accelerates we will see an increased melting of the Arctic, rising sea levels, the wiping out of entire island nations, and increased severity of severe weather. All of these events can lead to and have caused human casualties.

It is essential that teachers take up the task in the climate justice movement and understand that climate change is interconnected to our social, economic and political aspects of our lives. We cannot afford to "debate" if climate change is real or not with our students. It is time that we teach the truth as represented by 97% of climate scientists. Not only that, but we also need to be working on solutions with our students on how we can limit and stop climate change befo…