Many of you may have heard the story of the old mother mouse who one day decided to take her two recently-born babies outside for their first expedition out of her well-protected nest. Once in the grass, the mother mouse looked behind her and saw that they were being hunted by a very large cat. She quickly guided her two babies into a small crack in a fence, but to her horror the cat was following and she and her young ones were cornered, with the cat moving in for the kill. Suddenly the mother mouse ran forward toward the cat on her hind legs and in the loudest voice she could manage said: “RUFF, RUFF, RUFF.” The startled cat turned and fled. The mother mouse returned to her terrified babies and said: “Now do you see the benefits of a second language?”
How often most of us have heard others say, “Experience is the best teacher.” But is it? Experience is certainly one way to learn, and for many it is a sure teacher. This is because experience is often painful, and we generally do not want to repeat what is painful. However, some people never seem to learn! They continue to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. You probably know someone like that.
The fads that determine our schools’ educational approaches are often ideologically driven—and do more harm than good to our children!
In an article in The Province (June 12, 2014) entitled “The Guys Crisis: Boys are falling badly behind the girls at school,” author Paul Luke states, “By high school, girls’ grade point average outshines that of boys. In Canada, women make up almost 60 percent of university students.” He explains the phenomenon by suggesting that for too long the needs of girls were overlooked in school and now that things are more equitable, girls outshine boys in learning. But is this really the case?
Recently Dr. Jim Dueck, author and former Assistant Deputy Minister of Education for the province of Alberta, and former head of Accountability and Student Assessment, performed a revealing analysis on current practices in student assessment. The results were not only remarkable but very disturbing, exposing what might well be an institutional suppression of the performance of male students.