No more Reading, Writing, or Arithmetic ?

While lamenting - and writing about - the realization that some school boards in Ontario are now allowing technology to read even LITERACY tests TO struggling students, I recognize the seriousness of the negative impact the use of technology is having...

The science of being "exceptional" in any way at all...

Last night I watched an episode of Forensic Files in which the defense actually argued brain differences in a serial child molester/murderer. The jury rejected the science. The scientist predicted that we are entering an era of linking aberrant...

Ontario Education - Broken Beyond Belief!

It is clear to me - after 51 years of remedial teaching ages 4 - 18 in six countries, that education in Ontario is failing miserably. I have watched us "progress" from the "Hands-On-Teaching-for-Meaning" approaches of the late 60s, 70s, and 80s, to...

Ontario Education - Broken Beyond Belief!

It is clear to me - after 51 years of remedial teaching ages 4 - 18 in six countries, that education in Ontario is failing miserably. I have watched us "progress" from the "Hands-On-Teaching-for-meaning" approaches of the late 60s, 70s, and 80s, to...

Why Special Education Advisory Committees (SEACs) don't work...

Why the SEAC Model Doesn’t Work: For the past three decades I have watched support for struggling students dwindle to useless amounts of academic intervention from the least qualified people within our schools.  For the past two decades I’ve...

The Short Sad Story of the Chubby Old lady

Once upon a time there was a chubby old lady who loved to teach.  She loved to watch the lights come on where others had claimed there was only darkness.  She liked to think she helped a few avoid despair.  She could overlook/understand foul language...

Education as "Academic Apartheid"

For the past couple of decades here in Ontario, Canada, our Public School Boards have been lauding the value of integrated learning.  My experience as a Special Education teacher was that this movement became a cash grab for the Boards themselves...

Money to Macau - "more than a million US"

The other night on CNN news they mentioned "money-laundering" through Macau casinos.  A memory surfaced. A light went on. During my two years with a small outfit in Beijing, I made two trips to Hong Kong.  The first was linked to a possible return...

SRA Reading Labs as effective ESL tools

(submitted to an "innovation in Education" discussion on http://www.linkedin.com) Being a Spec Ed teacher gave me considerable freedom here in Canada, but I was only able to be truly innovative when I left my own bureaucratic Board-and-Union system...

"Boys, Girls, Emotion, and Schooling" - for Beijing Kids forum

(Written in response to a suggestion that boys be allowed to begin formal schooling later than girls.) It is an undeniable fact that girls perform better in the early years than do boys.  There are many who argue that this truth is linked to...

John Dewey is for Teachers, too!

You know the old Dewey-ism: "Children learn what they DO"?  Has it ever occurred to educational theorists that the same wisdom applies to teachers?  Those of us who are actually IN classrooms also manage to learn from what we do!  Are we ever...

Still teaching cursive writing???

During my stint at Beanstalk Bilingual International School in Beijing a couple of years ago, the school was in the final stages of presenting awards for "penmanship".  Hallways were decked with some lovely work in both Chinese and English.  I...

Spelling Help

Here is a simple little activity parents can use to help children of any age with the mysteries of English spelling. It works for both English speakers and ESL students and can be easily adapted for classroom use. Select three or four words that...

East-West Education

(submitted to Beijing Kids website) Recently, on a LinkedIn thread, I read a post by an American teacher-trainer who claimed US kids are the "brightest, most capable, most creative in the world".  Another stated that, since there are so many ethnic...

Schools' rush to technology is counter-productive

I have had the "calculator argument " with any number of "educationists" who have very little classroom experience.  In North America we are quick to provide the machine to replace children's lack of arithmetic skill.  Things were getting so bad that,...

More about Eyes and Learning

Folk wisdom has long held that "the eyes are the windows of the soul". While that can lead to interesting metaphysical discussion, there is no doubt that the eyes are critical to academic success in traditional school systems. Many people I have...

Educating ALL our children...the power of video

I often reflect back on the group of High School boys I taught only a few years ago.  While each had a specific vision-related problem with reading,  their general intelligence was reflected in the conversations we had, and in their ability to...

Helping Kids with Reversal Problems

Here's a technique I learned from a dedicated South African colleague.  A fellow Specialist, she recommended it as an aid for children who have serious reversal problems when printing.  Any parent can try this. Prepare a page that will allow the...

The Genius of "Dick and Jane"

Thank heavens I came to this country when Dick and Jane were in vogue.  Compared with what I see going on in early grade classrooms today, that Ginn series was pure genius. Yes, the "Dolch List" was in existence back then (compiled in 1932), but...

For Young Eyes - SUPER-SIZE!

  Before posting anything about visual difficulties in Beijing on the www.beijing-kids website Forum, I checked with a professional.   The optometrist  responded by stating that a child's eyes do not mature until age 6-7; "the neural pathways...

Primary Printing - Problems and Suggestions

  Many young children who are otherwise bright and articulate run into problems with printing when they start school. These are often children who had "difficulty with scissors" and other fine-motor tasks. Their parents are often confused and...

Fingerprints and Brain-prints

While working as SEN (Special Educational Needs) teacher at Southbank International School in London, I managed to attend  a public lecture on MRI technology at the The Institute of Physics - which happened to be just opposite us on Portland Place. ...

New research on phonics.

Somewhere I wrote that sounding out individual letters slows down reading, that children should be taught by "clusters" of letters as in "Glass Analysis" and "Words Their Way". Now there's research to back it up: ...