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.
While our society claims to be making progress toward a more peaceful spirit, the popularity of “Ultimate Fighting” and similar bloody sports gives evidence to the contrary.
More than 18,000 spectators packed the Air Canada Centre in Toronto for the much-anticipated evening. As match after match progressed, the excitement, the energy, and the injuries intensified. The Toronto Star closed its live-tweeting of Ultimate Fighting Championship #206 by describing every fight as “memorably violent.” Should we be concerned about a society that has come to accept, and even glorify, such brutality?
Once a banned sport in Canada, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) was legalized by Ontario in August 2010. In 2013, Bill S-209 placed MMA alongside boxing as the only exceptions to the criminal code banning prize fighting. Even prior to nationwide legalization, its popularity in Canada flourished as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events took place in several provinces. The first UFC event hosted in Toronto resulted in 42,000 tickets sold on the first day. Per capita, Canadians consume UFC through various media more than any other nation (“Kids Getting Involved in Mixed Martial Arts,” Toronto Star, September 21, 2013).
For those unfamiliar with the so-called sport, you may be picturing something similar to the wrestling or judo bouts conducted during the Olympics. However, few Olympic matches have the ability to draw an audience to their feet in the same manner as a UFC bout. Why? The Olympics are far less brutal. In the lead-up to a UFC event, the Ottawa Citizen published a guide in the form of a Q & A for those unfamiliar with the sport. Their answer to the question “How do I know when it’s over?” paints a stark picture:
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.