From Our Blog

The school divide

There are three main cleavages between students and the school environment. In other words, the school environment is not representative of the reality of its students, does not meet the expectations of its clientele and, ultimately, limits their development when it claims the opposite.

1.  The student’s reality and that offered by the school environment

Does the school environment offer a world that resembles the one in which its students evolve? Does he adapt to it? Two examples immediately come to mind:

A- First of all, the integration of EHDAA into regular classes highlights the difficulties of this linkage. Teachers need to educate, socialize and instruct all their students but some need adaptive measures to achieve this. Where are the resources? We rely on teachers who have little training in this regard. Showing pedagogical flexibility is definitely an essential characteristic to develop in teachers. However, resources to support these teachers and students with special needs are necessary. The reality dictated by the Training Program is far from being modeled on the reality of students with special needs. It is moreover more improvisation than effective intervention!

B- Another eloquent example symbolizing this divide is certainly the fact that students evolve in a digital environment. They interact in several ways, including, again, via social media. They access all the knowledge of the world from the beginning of human consciousness via their smart phone, located in the palm of their pocket. How does the school environment react to this reality? It bans these electronic devices. Why ? There are two main reasons for this situation:

  • Because teachers are afraid of many things, including being judged (or ridiculed), through photographs, videos or sound recordings. They also fear losing their place in the class since they lose this monopoly of knowledge that they have historically held for ages. Also, their authority would be threatened by these devices. There are several other apprehensions which are
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Can we sincerely speak of school perseverance?

These are the days of school perseverance in Quebec. These days follow teachers’ week. Is this a coincidence or a nod to the teaching profession? It doesn’t matter.

It was while reading Le Devoir this morning that I learned that three dropouts will go on a crusade with school-aged children to encourage them to persevere on the school benches. It’s a beautiful story, full of otherness. What educator wouldn’t be moved by this act of bravery from I made a big mistake and don’t want others to repeat it . Sadly, too many young people have winding paths and face adult issues when they are still just teenagers. Sad observation of today’s society where children have adult responsibilities in families, too often dysfunctional.

So once a year, we go on a crusade to promote academic perseverance. We cannot be against virtue. However, beyond these beautiful words and these few actions here and there, do we take the time to sincerely question ourselves? Are we contributing to dropping out of school? How? ‘Or’ What ? Do we take the time to give ourselves this little respite to do our own professional practice analysis?

Learning would be favored by the pleasure that one experiences in carrying out a task. We must stop thinking about learning as a simple cognitive process. As we know, the emotional sphere is omnipresent among young people of high school age. To ignore it in our daily educational intervention is a serious mistake. Motivation and commitment are essential elements in shaping learning. A plethora of research exists on this subject, and teacher training clearly demonstrates this importance when it comes to meaning  : the why of learning. It’s a bit as if the teacher became a salesperson by selling the importance of carrying out a given task and integrating its pedagogical foundations.

Everyone is familiar with the concepts of extrinsic motivation and   Read the rest

Happy teachers week!

After nearly fifteen years in the world of education, I realize daily how the teaching profession is a highly ungrateful one.

Teaching is a profession that is practiced at the front at all times, directly in the field. You have to have a tough skin to cope with this level of action. Working with young people who are growing in every way is an achievement, every day. Few of the professions can claim to make a difference in humans every day and require such a level of altruism and otherness. Few of the professions allow an individual to play a direct role in the evolution of humans so frequently and directly, especially at such a decisive moment in their lives.

Vocation and duty
Today, there is nothing relaxing about teaching, despite the fact that cynical critics of the profession like to remind us that we have two months off, a break and two weeks at Christmas. Anyway, I always like to invite these detractors to come and spend a single day in class with a teacher… To date, no one has taken up the challenge, except a few CEGEP or university students who want live a typical day before making the decision to take the plunge into the profession.

The teaching profession is located halfway between vocation and duty. The call to teaching is vocational. You obviously have to love young people and their share of differences. We must appreciate this diversity and value it and not try to smooth it out in order to normalize their course. This vocation is also reflected in the skills of a charismatic speaker in most cases. You have to want to be creative and curious and above all, accept to continue to learn throughout your career. Not all individuals have the humility to accept this necessity. At a time when all professionals define themselves by   Read the rest

Some insolence

No offense to some, I take the time to continue posting my ideas on this blog. It is because since I published my response to the article published in La Presse , comments abound on this site and very few are laudatory. These negative comments are often far-fetched.

There is the tone. My tone would be condescending and moralistic. My opinions would be out of touch with the community. I was politely called a demagogue and reform lobbyist. I was even called a crusader (referring to the Christian crusades of the Middle Ages) and alluded to funders funding this blog. This last comment is quite funny and shows that there are people who are disconnected. In the age of web 2.0, is there nothing easier and more affordable than blogging? But the conspiracy theory does its work as soon as a voice is raised against that of the established order! For the rest, I will not note the derogatory comments of exceptional baseness from some.

These comments, very often, are in no way constructive and are often formulated in an emotional way. What is the point of criticizing or questioning if we do not offer anything in return? Or that we let our feelings of a hard week take over? I can believe that my ideas are clear cut, that they disturb and that they question the conception that many have of their profession. This is precisely the purpose of this blog!

The Insolences of Brother So-and-so

You remember the brother Doe and his quote tedious j e think we should close the Department (of Education) for two years, at least, and send all teachers at school? Heavy words at the time which contributed, believe it or not, to the teaching function. Anyway, Brother So-and-so had sent his manuscript to Éditions de L’Homme with the following warning: Attention! Explosive content! The latter   Read the rest

The high school diploma is still alive and well!

What is too clear is not interesting (Solzhenitsyn).

You have certainly read the text of Mr. Stéphane Lévesque, which was published in La Presse yesterday. At least, on social networks, it is found on all teachers’ news feeds. Some, relieved that a brave man in the profession finally dares to speak up, did not even bother to verify the allegations. This article aims to correct certain statements made by the author.

As the latter himself quotes from the first line of his text, after having alarmed the reader, this is not the real end of DES. Do not be worried. However, in a world where immediacy reigns, the surfer-title-who-draws-hasty-conclusions shared this demagogic article, riddled with misleading information via social media. In other words, the author’s mission has been achieved: sound the alarm and rally several colleagues or neophytes in the world of education to his conspiracy theory and move some nostalgic for the good old days and it was so much better before the Reformation .

According to section 2 of the Basic school regulation for preschool, elementary and secondary education , the purpose of secondary education services is to pursue the integral development of the student, to promote his or her integration. social and to facilitate personal and professional guidance. They complement and consolidate the basic education of the pupil with a view to obtaining a secondary school diploma or other qualification and, where appropriate, to pursue higher studies. As you can see, as of 1 st January 2014, the secondary school diploma is always the purpose of of secondary education.

The change of course, of vision, of philosophy that the author supposes has already been initiated at least a decade ago. Unless the latter’s head has just emerged from the sand. If so, that explains the alarmist tone of his article. Whatever the reason   Read the rest

When the umbilical cord stretches to school …

Have you ever been accused or blamed by a parent for harming their child’s self-esteem? Maybe you are too severe? Uncompromising? Inflexible?

The student’s personal esteem

Nowadays, parents often act in the school environment by accusing the school interveners who interact with it, as what their intervention threatens the personal esteem of their child. Listening to these parents talk, everything suggests that self-esteem is a small piece of china that the child wears daily in his hands and the shocks inadvertently suffered in school are a threat to his integrity. Yet developing children’s self-esteem is a lifelong business. It is obvious that during adolescence, it is a fragile element of the personal development of the pupil. However, it should not be overlooked that school is the first real micro-society in which he is immersed and that this esteem will be shaped throughout his school career. And it will be at the mercy of facilitating moments, but also, it will be manufactured thanks to more difficult moments. Note that the wordgrace is indeed appropriate: obstacles are indeed desired in a school environment and they are not, however, obstacles to the development of the child’s personal esteem.

Is it necessary to remember that self-esteem is an asset that develops in a complex way in various environments at the same time? Indeed, it develops as much in family as at school through sports and the social or friendly network. It is not an element innate to the child. On the contrary, because it is the result of a multitude of factors external and internal to the child.

Smooth out the child’s path?

Too often, the parent considers that by smoothing out the student’s course and by purging the child’s educational path of the challenges he is likely to encounter, we avoid the pitfalls that could damage the sacrosanct self-esteem of their protégé. In reality, quite   Read the rest

Mourning among teachers via the Kübler-Ross model

Elizabeth Kübler-Ross is a Swiss-American psychiatrist and psychologist who has worked with dying patients. The latter is interested in the way in which individuals manage the announcement of their imminent death and has thus developed a series of stages that they go through. The relevance of the work of Kübler-Ross (1985) [1] is integrated into the management of change in an institutional environment, because the announcement of an imminent death is considered to be the ultimate change [2] . In fact, this theory has been taken up in a panoply of human fields of study, including coaching and managerial analysis.

The process of managing change by an individual, no matter the circumstance, follows a predictable sequence, but manifests itself in different ways. Here is what is also called the five stages of grief  :

  • Negation (initial shock);
  • Anger and fear;
  • Bargaining;
  • The letting go;
  • The overtaking.

Because mourning is indeed present and it can be paralyzing, causing, to a certain extent, stagnation in education? These bereaved, as Jacques Cool, a well-known blogger in French-Canadian education, refuse to accept that education can no longer be what it was.

But through these analyzes, questions, concerns, emotional reactions, etc., one thing remains. The lament of this perilous uncertainty created by a time of turmoil exasperates many today, but this same moment will make them laugh in a few months or a few years and often, they will relativize the extent of the change by emphasizing them- even that their reaction was disproportionate to the change in the organization of their work.

Coevolution

In conclusion, individuals within an institution must learn to develop a reflective attitude on their reaction to change in order to remain in an objective perception of the situation by evacuating the emotional aspect of these reactions to situations of change. Obviously, this is   Read the rest

Open letter to a tech-savvy teacher

I usually blog using a mostly essay style or argumentative writing style. I try to be objective, in the majority of cases, even though my opinions undoubtedly reflect my own values. This time, I allow myself to address the reader in a more personal way, abandoning the polite you in favor of an I , introspective and, totally assumed. I allow myself to be more direct and incisive.

My text which was published in Le Devoir on January 9th will have made it possible to create a small debate of ideas on the website where it was published: For or against the integration of iPads into teaching? Moreover, Le Devoir today published a text that refutes my argument. I invite you to read it and comment on it directly on the Devoir website. By reading the comments, which adjoin my text, this allows us to highlight the resistance which, de facto, directly corroborates my argument. We can read there reviews mainly based on:

  • The glory of classicism or the fear of being afraid

If I were a gambler, I would have wagered that the first criticism would come from nostalgic intelligences which glorify the great thinkers who have marked our culture. The sophisticated reasoning of it was much better before or especially it was done like that before and it worked. Why change?weighs down the educational perspectives that allow the world of education not only to adapt to the society in which it evolves, but also to act as a leader within this same society. Although we should not deny our roots and the foundations of our Western culture, the fact remains that these great thinkers were also anchored in their society of the time with the means at their disposal. And if Socrates had invented the internet, maybe their speech would have been different?

This nostalgia is so strong among   Read the rest

Changing the paradigm in education

TED Talks are endless sources of ideas, especially in the field of education. This is how I made the virtual acquaintance of Will Richardson, an author and blogger recognized in the world of American education.

He starts from a premise that many of us share, while he affirms that the world of education is currently at a crossroads and in full transformation. There are just a few very interesting statements. I will report it to you in which I add my impressions, all mixed with the “storm of ideas” sauce.

Cleavage

We start from a world of scarcity (not to say poverty), in terms of didactic and educational resources, to evolve in the middle of a world of abundance (not to say superabundance). Today, teachers can trust a bottomless pit of the genesis of human knowledge since the beginning of time. At the same time, their students also have access to this manna, thanks to an obvious democratization of knowledge. Teachers have grown used to this scarcity. However, the students were brought up in this abundance. The result is a breach opposing two visions:

  1. The teaching habits of teachers and the expectations of their students are asynchronous. They want immediate and direct access to information. The school praises slowness and imposes a certain slowdown on them, mainly explained by the shift of the entire school environment in the face of technological changes animating society.
  2. The pupil has access to the sum of the knowledge of humanity at the tip of his fingers or in his pockets while his teacher and his textbook propose a model of limitation of knowledge. It is the human model that confronts the internet model, a “machine” which is formed from the knowledge of all humans.

It is, in fact, generations of young people immersed in accessibility and who want to be trained for the challenges of   Read the rest

Exploration as an extreme vehicle for active pedagogy

As a little bedside reading, I just completed the book by well-known explorer Mike Horn. His book, dating from 2005, is in fact an expedition tale to Bylot Island, in the Canadian Far North. But what makes this expedition interesting to me is certainly due to the fact that it takes place with his two daughters, aged 11 and 12, as well as with his wife. Horn organizes this expedition as being one where his daughters take the initiatives and that the latter, assumes an advisory role by providing them with the information necessary for the smooth running of the expedition of 200 kilometers of journey from one end to the other of the island located in Nunavut, off Pond Inlet. The renowned explorer therefore acts as a guide who allows his children to reveal their potential and their character in order to push their own limits.

Although many people around him have ridiculed his educational initiative, he remains an apostle of the importance of children being placed in the heat of the moment, at the center of different situations where they will have to seek their knowledge in order to apply in an empirical context. He did not believe he was saying so well since he transposed these pious wishes which animate the world of Western education to an extreme context of expedition under the midnight sun! As he argues, some degree of measured and calculated risk-taking must be part of education (p. 12) . Despite these risks, with the confidence that he shows in the abilities of his daughters as well as in his own qualities as an educator, Horn fully understands that quality learning has its share of risk, and therefore a cost to bear.

The company remains the best place for the realization of learning and its validation in active field. The school   Read the rest