A libertarian inclined blog for teachers and learners of all ages. Comments, emails and links to other educational stuff welcome.

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Category archive: Canada

Wednesday April 16 2008

The usual assumption, which I have tended to some extent to accept (in the absence of knowing any evidence about it), is that home-schooling is fine when done by well-educated parents, but perhaps rather less fine when done by less well-educated parents.  But now read this, from the Fraser Institute:

TORONTO, ON—Home schooling appears to improve the academic performance of children from families with low levels of education, according to a report on home schooling released today by independent research organization The Fraser Institute.

“The evidence is particularly interesting for students who traditionally fall through the cracks in the public system,” said Claudia Hepburn, co-author of Home Schooling: From the Extreme to the Mainstream, 2nd edition and Director of Education Policy with The Fraser Institute.

“Poorly educated parents who choose to teach their children at home produce better academic results for their children than public schools do. One study we reviewed found that students taught at home by mothers who never finished high school scored a full 55 percentage points higher than public school students from families with comparable education levels.”

Thanks to Carlotta for the link.  I’m sure that the home-schooling fraternity/sorority has known that for years, but if true it can stand any amount of repetition, don’t you think?  It would, however, be interesting to know if this was so true before the internet.  My guess is: yes.

Friday April 11 2008

I’ve been out all day and I’m about to go out again, but luckily for me Snuffy has been at a wedding, and picked up some interesting news about Canada:

The bride was educated at Oxford and is now a teacher. The wedding was filled with similar sorts. One British woman I met was teaching in Canada with her husband who was completing a PhD at the University of Toronto, with plans to return here to do a PGCE and join the rest of us in the profession. As she had taught in both countries, I asked her to compare the education systems. A look of horror appeared across her face. Out tumbled story after story about Canadian teachers she has known who have tried to teach in England and have not survived. She and her husband are secretly terrified about returning. The pupils in Canada are not rude. They aren’t badly behaved. They are cheeky at times, naughty in some cases. They are, as one would expect children to be. As she cradles her cute baby, she leans over to me and whispers that truthfully they would like to stay in Canada. But it’s too late. They are bracing themselves for the return.

Someone should give this woman a book deal.

Wednesday February 27 2008

This is very odd.  The headline at the top says:

Local union/board officials say Fraser Institute ranking helpful for education

But the first sentence of the story immediately below this headline goes:

Local education administrators and union officials are saying that the Fraser Institute Report ranking Ontario’s schools is less than helpful.

It’s all about how a Free Market Institute (the Fraser Institute) is judging the quality of schools, in accordance with a restricted notion of what school quality consists of.  Test results basically.

I think that free market institutes should be saying not: This is how we judge schools; but rather: How can schools be re-arranged to the point where people can judge schools for themselves?  (See the previous posting.)

Friday January 04 2008

I have long been a fan of classical violinist Pinchas Zukerman, ever since the days of his regular collaborations with the young Barenboim and the alas eternally young Jacqueline du Pré.  He remains a formidable and formidably busy musician, who now also teaches a lot.  Nevertheless, when glancing through this Zukerman bio, linked to recently by Jessica Duchen, I didn’t expect to encounter this:

In addition to his position with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Mr. Zukerman chairs the Pinchas Zukerman Performance Program at the Manhattan School of Music. To maintain close relationships with his students while fulfilling the travel demands of his concert engagements, Mr. Zukerman has pioneered the use of distance-learning technology in the arts. Through the use of the school’s videoconferencing system, his students are able to receive regular string instruction.

imageHere is the best link I was able quickly to find concerning how Zukerman does this.  Interestingly, he was already deep into video-conference for music teaching over a decade ago

I found the picture I have used here, of Zukerman distance teaching in 2002, by scrolling down here.  (He’s the one on the telly.)

See also this, by another violinist who more recently tried doing the same thing, and was very enthusiastic about it.