Category Archives: Pedagogy

What teachers (especially men) can do to fight misogyny

Dalhousie University is in the news again, to the dismay of its administrators. Following the scandal earlier this year in which male dentistry students made comments on social media that joked about rape and generally debased women, a more recent report told of how male students in a university residence shared explicit images of female students without their consent. A few days later, the Chronicle-Herald reported on threatening misogynist graffiti near the student union building, apparently targeting two women who have fought actively against sexism on campus.

The university has rightly faced intense scrutiny regarding its reaction to these incidents. In the dentistry case many raised questions about the restorative justice process that was used, and in the photo-sharing case, the parent of the student who reported the incident said Dalhousie was “more concerned with their reputation than with the welfare of those who have been victimized.” That student says she has been ostracized by her peers.

From the Children’s School Book “My Little Pictionary” by Marion Monroe, Scott, Foresman & Co, 1962. Source
From the Children’s School Book “My Little Pictionary” by Marion Monroe, Scott, Foresman & Co, 1962. Source

Obviously, however, misogyny and gender-based violence are problems that go far beyond behaviour at one university. (For an in-depth look at behaviour at another university, check out this series by journalism students at St. Thomas University in Fredericton.) How it is that the young men involved in these incidents think it’s at all appropriate to do these things in the first place? Continue reading What teachers (especially men) can do to fight misogyny

Be wary of quick fixes for Nova Scotia’s education system

With recent standardized assessment scores from Nova Scotian schools causing alarm, and education minister Karen Casey about to release her action plan to reform the P-12 education system, there are a few things that are important to remember.

Youth in Whitney Pier, Cape Breton's Boys and Girls' Club. Photo: Grade 8 students from the Whitney Pier Youth Club
Youth in Whitney Pier, Cape Breton’s Boys and Girls’ Club. Photo: Grade 8 students from the Whitney Pier Youth Club

First, there has not been any serious analysis that attempts to explain why test scores are down. Some commentators have said or implied that modern teaching methods are to blame. The idea here is that we need to get “back to basics,” that schools these days are full of warm fuzzies but not reading, writing and ‘rithmetic. Drill the kids on their times tables, just like in old times, and all will be well.  Continue reading Be wary of quick fixes for Nova Scotia’s education system

Are we teaching students to be good writers?

Last week Scott MacMillan, assistant professor of Management at Mount Saint Vincent University, and Bill Barker, professor of English at King’s College, presented to teachers at my school on the subject of teaching students how to be good writers.

Photo: Jonathan Kim via https://www.flickr.com/photos/jkim1/452830868/

They raised lots of interesting points, some I agreed with and some I thought didn’t completely take into account the reality of high school teachers. Continue reading Are we teaching students to be good writers?

On teaching Aboriginal history to non-Aboriginal students

Last week I gave a webinar presentation called “Aboriginal history is everyone’s history” for Canada’s History, a society that promotes Canadian history education. The goal of the webinar was to highlight the idea that all Canadians, not just Aboriginal people, have the responsibility of teaching and learning about the history of Aboriginal people in Canada.

Here in Nova Scotia, many non-Native students choose to take Mi’kmaq Studies 10 to get their high school Canadian Studies credit. How can non-Indigenous teachers teach this course to these students in a way that is respectful and culturally appropriate?

You can see a recording of the webinar here. Below is a transcript of the presentation, edited for easy reading.

Continue reading On teaching Aboriginal history to non-Aboriginal students