Creating Schools: Part II

“To deny the past and to refuse to recognize its implications, is to distort the present; to distort the present is to take risks with the future that are blatantly irresponsible.” — Manitoba Indian Brotherhood (1971)

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Birtle Indian Residential School, 1908 via mhm.mb.ca

The previous post related to public education focused primarily on the historical development of schooling in Canada from the perspective of inclusion. The argument made was that over the past 400 years, schools in Canada (or the various settler colonies that have existed since Champlain) have slowly become more inclusive and have focused their purpose to something beyond creating Jesuit priests.

But this inclusive evolution, which saw the development of public schools following the Act of Union and further organization with the anointing of responsibility of schools to the provinces through Confederation, meant something very different for indigenous children. School for Indigenous children was used as a weapon — a weapon of apartheid and genocide that historian and educator Brian Titley described in 1986 as “The destruction of the children’s link to their ancestral culture and their asimilation into the dominat society…” (p. 75).

Through Mission Schools, Day Schools, Industrial Schools, Residential Schools, the Sixties Scoop, Indigenous children have been targeted by Canada and Canadians through education — a tool that political scientist Karen Murray describes as “a vector of violence to control Indigenous peoples and their lands.” (2017, p. 747). Simply put, education, from the establishment of Mission schools in Red River (Think St. John’s of SJR in Winnipeg) to the closure of Gordon Indian Residential School 1996 (Edmond, 2016), schools and education were an intentional mechanism to remove Indnigemous people from the land and Canadian society based on what historian Sean Carelton refers to as “settler anxiety” (2017, p. 57). 

Carelton’s assertions is that settler anxiety is at its foundation the root cause for residential schools and state-wide control (p. 58). Early Mission schools on Vancouver Island at the mid 19th century saw schools as a means for moral education and to pacify hostile indgenous groups.  With the collapse of the relationship created by the Royal Proclamation through Confederation and the Indian Act, schooling of indiegnous children became the purview of the federal government and it used this weapon as a means to remove children from land to make way for settlers, to crush the spirit of any resistance, and relegate entire peoples to the margins of history.

University of Saskatchewan scholar Marie Battiste expertly expresses what this anxiety has meant to Indiegnous people in Canada. Her book Decolonizing Education serves as an antidote to those in society who ask Indigenous people in Canada to simply “get over it.” She invites Canadians to imagine:

Consider that for more than a century, Indinegous students have been part of a forced assimilation plan — their heritage and knowledge rejected and suppressed, and ignored by the education system. Imagine the consequence of a powerful ideology that positions one group as superior and gives away First Nations peoples’ lands and resources and invites churches and other administrative agents to inhabit their homeland , while negating their very existence and finally removing them from the Canadian landscape to the lands no one wants. Imagine how uncertain a person is whose success is only achieved by a complete makeover of themselves, by their need to learn English and the polished rules and habits that go with that identify. They are thrust into a society that does not want them to show too much success or too much Indian identity, losing their connections to their land, family, and community when they have to move away as there is no work in their homeland. Assimilation. (p. 23).

And further to this, historian John Milloy, in his groundbreaking history, A National Crime, reveals through state and church records the sinister methods by which these acts of assimilation were carried out: “…the system’s history is marked by the persistent neglect and abuse of children and through them of Aboriginal communities in general.” (p. xxxvii). Canada and the Department of Indian Affairs, according to Milloy, created a “fiction of care” that would destroy the way of life of generations of Indigenous people 

This thought exercise is paramount to making sense of the relationship Canada has with Indigenous people and how this is manifested in Canadian schools today. Since, Nicholas Davin’s report in 1879, which saw him chronicle the achievement of American industrial schools, we have been on a quest to develop a system of schooling that would civilize Indiegnous youth and move them aside in the name of progress. The initial Industrial schools of the late 19th century, located in Battleford, Qu’Appelle, and High River, were disasters in all sense of the word. (Titley, 1986). Not only were the economics ill conceived, but attendance was not mandatory and the Department of Indian Affairs became frustrated.

By the early 20th century, however, and the appointment of Duncan Campbell Scott as Deputy Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, Residential Schools were clearly a vehicle for apartheid. In 1920, Scott had the Indian Act amended so as to force all Indian Children from ages five to 17  to attend residential school — a marked change in the intentionality of the Canadian government and partner churches.

Famously, Scott would utter the following vitriolic words that now haunt the legacy and the present colonial experience:

…Our object is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic and there is no Indian question, and no Indian department, that is the whole object of this bill. (Haig-Brown, 2013, p. 31).

And the implications of our collective experience, that is our history Indiegnous and Settler, manifests itself in schools, education, and the rearing of children in 2019. Canada is still experimenting with providing Indigenus children with different parents, many school divisions relegate “difficult children to off-campus programs, and we still manage to alienate many of our learners by secondary school.

And when we speak of achievement, higher expectations, and improved results, we need to imagine the possibilities of a public school system that is inclusive and committed to reconciliation. That is an environment where learners feel that they belong, where their language is heard and sene. Where their teachers look like them. And where their experience, culture and heritage is honoured and see as a strength. It is through this sense of belonging, as Martin Brokenhead (2002) argues, belonging is the first step towards a learner developing independence, mastery, and generosity — all quadrants of the Circle of Courage. The cultural and generational genocide that was committed through schooling for Indigenous children stares us in the face as educators. If we truly want all learners to have the means to a decent life, schools need to focus on allowing all learners the space to develop that sense of belonging that many settlers take for granted. When learners feel that they are part of a community and able to contribute to it, the learning natural follows.

Publics schools in Canada have a long way to go to not only ease the anxiety of settlers who fear that somehow the school experience is worse than when they were in school, but also to ensure that Indigenous children and families feel that they belong. In 2019, educators are doing outstanding work in this manner: indigenizing their classrooms, welcoming elders in their learning communities, and making the language visible. Schools are teaching Ojibwae, national anthems can be heard in Cree, and more and more teachers identify as Indigenous. But this type of learning, the learning required to make amends for the damage of 150 years of genocide, will not magically reveal itself in tests scores. Rather, our success will manifest itself in the wellbeing and well-becoming of our learners and communities. 

We will know that we have made gains when all learners feel that they belong in our schools.  

 

References

Ansloos, J. (2017). The medicine of peace: Indigenous youth decolonizing healing and resisting violence. Winnipeg: Fernwood Publishing.

Battiste, M. (2013). Decolonizing Education: Nourishing the Learning Spirit. Saskatoon: Purich

Brendtro, L., Brokenleg, M., & Van Bockern, S. (2002). Reclaiming youth at risk: Our hope for the future. Bloomington, In.: Solution Tree.

Carleton, S. (2017). Settler Anxiety and State Support for Missionary Schooling in Colonial British Columbia, 1849–1871.Historical Studies in Education / Revue d’histoire de l’éducation 29,  57–76. 

Edmond, J. (2016). Indian residential schools — A chronology. Law Now, Vol 40 (4).

Haig-Brown, C. (2013). Resistance and renewal: Surviving the Indian Residential School. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press.

Manitoba Indian Brotherhood. (1971). Wahbung: Our tomorrows. Retrieved on October 24th, from: https://manitobachiefs.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Wahbung-Our-Tomorrows-Searchable.pdf

Milloy, J.S. (2017) with a forward by Mary Jane Logan McCallum, A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School, 2nd edition. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press. 

Murray, K. (2017). The violence within: Canadian modern statehood and the pan-territorial residential school system ideal. Canadian Journal of Political Science, Vol 50, No. 3, pp 747-772.

Regan, P. (2010). Unsettling the settler within: Indian residential schools, truth telling, and reconciliation in Canada. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Titley, E. B. (1986). A narrow vision: Duncan Campbell Scott and the administration of Indian affairs in Canada. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

 

Creating Schools: Part I

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Normal School, Winnipeg 1906. Archives of Manitoba via mhs.mb.ca

The notion of public schools in Canada is relatively novel. By the turn of the 19th century, there were only 40 schools serving 160 000 French Canadians and a handful of schools designed by the Anglican Church to serve the English population through the British colonies (Axelrod, 1997, pp. 5-7). And most of the schools were in no way or form created to serve large swaths of the population. In fact since the substantive arrival of Europeans to this continent in the early 17th century, school had been a means to offer moral instruction to a handful of privileged young boys. Schooling was soulcrafting for a select and lucky few

But prior to the calculated rollout of the Indian Residential school system, schools in Canada, particularly in Upper and Lower Canada following the Constitutional Act of 1791, merely sought to educate young men to become priests, be they Anglican or Catholic. At the beginning of the 19th century, survival, not schooling, was on the minds of settlers who were coming up from the United States or from Europe. Life in rural Upper or Lower Canada was harsh and farm work demanded the whole family unit. There was an intense vulnerability to this life — a simple accident with an axe could lead to a painful and drawn out death.

But by 1840, with the political merger of French and English through Lafontaine and Baldwin’s reform movement, there was a greater demand for some form of public schooling. The rebellions a few years earlier, led by Mackenzie and Papineau, also called into question the need for a more just and democratic society that needed educated citizens — or at least fewer rebellions (Axelrod, 1997, p. 25).

And as today, the purposes for schooling differed. Historian and educator Ken Osborne argues that by mid century, “Conservatives saw schools as a force for social stability, a way of accepting their place in the world,” and Liberals envisioned school “as a basic human right, a way of preparing people for peaceful change and progress.” (1999, p. 7).

Not much has changed in current discourse. We can often get trapped in the polarizing debate between the conception of education as a pipeline into industry or as citizenship education, or as a nation-building project. The continuity of this historical exchange informs us that everyone has a stake in education, that we care deeply about it, and that we want the best for kids.

But what did change by Confederation in 1867 and the responsibility of public schools being handed to the provinces, was that through “industrialism, nationalism, and democracy,” Canada began to develop a public education system that slowly began to include more and more people (Osborne, 1999, p. 7.) 

As more girls and boys were being schooled in basic literacy and religious instruction, Canada also began its genocidal practice of tearing indigenous children away from families — ushering in decades of oppression and marginalization that is still ever present in 2019. While the second article in this series will focus exclusively on the design and impact of the Indian Residential School system, it is problematic to separate it from a discussion on public schooling in this country. As indigenous leader Kevin Lamoureux argues, education was used as a weapon against the original nations of our country (2019).

But for settlers and newcomers to Canada, Confederation marked a specific time in our shared human experience where schooling and education moved from something only enjoyed by the aristocracy. Sections 92 and 93 of the British North American Act designated public education as purely provincial matter, enshrining ignoring language rights. Canadian public schooling was and is one of the only western countries that does not have a nationally regulated system — and yet somehow all provinces seem to teach very similar curricula.

Back in 1867, however, schooling was a haphazard experiment, even following the superintendency of Egerton Ryerson, who sought to develop a cohesive system of education through Canada West following the Act of Union in 1841. No two schools taught the same, teachers were ill prepared, deprofessionalized and poorly paid, and the students were subjected to religious teachings, rote memorization, and forms of direct instruction that would today seem oppressive. (Baldwin, 2008, p.77).

But what was clear was that schools, schooling, and education were no longer tightly controlled by the various churches. Ryerson and other advocates managed to snatch control and place it within the provinces and locally elected school boards. This ensured, according to political scientist Jennifer Wallner, that school systems were more responsive to the local community, that they were democratically run, and that far off administrations were not trying to manage schooling from afar (2014, p. 128).

And as the 19th century came to an end, more and more young people were included in schools. In 1867, for example, Canada had a public school enrolment of 682 000 learners; by 1915, this jumped to over 1.5 million. (Wisenthal, 2014).

As schools were becoming an option for more learners, so too did the debate over its purpose grow in intensity. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution and the coming of the First World War, the debate about the purposes of education began to take shape; arguments linking it to the pipeline into factories, arguments suggesting for citizenship making, and others around nation building, assimilation, and insidious systems of apartheid and genocide.

Schooling by the first decade of the 20th century was responding to the urbanization and industrialization of the country. For boys, the curriculum focused heavily on manual training and for girls it’s purpose was to imbue skills related to the home (Axelrod, 1997, p. 108). But, schools “were obliged to teach more students than ever…,” and “they were expected to enrich students’ minds, perfect their bodies, and attend to their health.”  (p. 126).

Over a century later, we can celebrate that more students than ever attend our schools, that we have incredibly diverse classrooms where all are or should be included, and where the schools assume a community and societal role greater than in 1914. Schools in Manitoba and Canada have become places where educators work with families to mitigate the effects of poverty and colonialism and where outcomes, within the curriculum and beyond, are met to ensure everyone has the basic means for a decent life.

References

Axelrod, P. (1997). The promise of schooling: Education in Canada, 1800-1914. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Baldwin, D. (2008). Teachers, students, and pedagogy: Selected readings and documents in the History of Canadian education. Markham, Ontario: Fitzhenry and Whiteside.

Lamoureux, K. (2019, October). The Circle of Courage. Talk presented at the Seven Oaks School Division Admistrator’s Conference, Hecla Island, Manitona

Manitoba Education and Training (2019). A comprehensive review of Manitoba’s Kindergarten to Grade 12 education system. Retrieved September 26th, 2019 from https://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/educationreview/docs/public-discussion-paper.pdf

Manitoba students a year behind other provinces, finds OECD | CBC News. (2016, December 6). Retrieved September 27, 2019, from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/student-assessment-pisa-oecd-manitoba-1.3883344.

Osborne, K. (1999). Education: A guide to the Canadian school debate — Or, who wants what’s done why? Montreal: McGill Institute Books.

Wallner, J. (2014). Learning to school: Federalism and public schooling in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Wisenthal, M. (2015, July 2). Historical Statistics of Canada, Statistics Canada. Retrieved September 30, 2019, from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-516-x/sectionw/4147445-eng.htm.

 

Project-based Learning Theory Course 2019

In January of 2019, I will be facilitating a theory course on Project-based learning at the University of Winnipeg as part of the Post Baccalaureate programme. This will be followed by the PBL Applied course in Spring 2019. The description is below:

pbde-winter-2019_pdf

I have had several people contact me regarding how the course will unfold, so I thought I would post this note as a means to clarify some of the details.

Online Format

This is an online course that is live. We will meet on Tuesdays (beginning January 8th, 2018) from 5:30 pm until 8:30 pm CST via Zoom. While each session will be recorded, members of the group are responsible for attending every Tuesday night. This is not an online course that is static. The advantage of this format is that it provides greater access for more participants while still bringing people together for rich and authentic conversations about how and why we learn. (It also means no winter travel on sketchy roads in the dark.)

Each week, we will engage in readings, guests speakers, virtual field trips, and project work. Participants will be asked to design a project that they can reflect upon throughout the course. Participants will be asked to think, read, listen, write, and speak about the theoretical underpinnings of PBL and about their own practice.

We will use Edmodo as a means for housing our online discussions and course documentation.

Rationale for course

As project-based learning schools become more and more part of the pedagogical mainstream in North America, the need for teacher education in is this area is paramount. While project-based learning can be a powerful platform for authentic learning, transformation, and growth, the danger is that project work is merely activities, teacher-led, or not rigorous. With several PBL schools in Winnipeg, and a desire at all levels, including higher education, to pursue meaningful and educative experiences for learners, a theoretical course on PBL is essential.

This course is designed to offer practitioners a foundational understanding of the evolution of PBL, while examining what we deem an educative experience.  Learners will look at a variety of critical issues related to the success of PBL and how PBL manifests itself in various contexts.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, learners will:

  • Have explored a variety of different theoretical models of project-based learning
  • Will have entered into dialogical discourse as to what is meant by an experience
  • Be able to articulate the foundations of project-based learning
  • Have conducted an inquiry project whereby they pose a research question, offer an argument, and provide evidence for their rationale
  • Articulate how they would theoretically employ project-based learning principles into their own practice
  • Describe the process of introducing learners to projects and guide learners to propose and carry out these projects
  • Be able to discuss a variety of assessment practices and tools used in project-based learning.

Assigned Readings

Boss, S., Larmer, J. & Mergendoller, J. (2015). Setting the standard for project-based learning: A proven approach to classroom instruction. Alexandria: ASCD.

Roberts, J. (2012). Beyond Learning by doing: theoretical currents in experiential education. New York: Routledge.

Related Readings/Bibliography

Bassey, M. (2010). Education for the rest of the world: An illustration of John Dewey’s principles of continuity and interaction. Educational Studies, 36(1), 13-20.

Dewey, J. (1933). Dewey outlines utopian schools. Retrieved from: http://www.yorku.ca/rsheese2/3410/utopia.htm

Dewey, J. (1938). Education and experience. New York: The MacMillan Company.

Dewey, J. (2008). Democracy and education. Project Gutenberg eBook, retrieved from: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/852/852-h/852-h.htm

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: The Seabury Press.

Glass, R. (2001). On Paulo Freire’s philosophy of praxis and foundations for liberation education. Educational Researcher, 30(2), 15-25.

Hassan, S. (2013) Guiding high school students through applied internship projects in college environments: A MET School story. Education Canada Retrieved from: http://www.cea-ace.ca/education-canada/article/guiding-high-school-students-through-applied-internship-projects-college-en

Illich, I. (1971). Deschooling society. New York, NY: Harper & Row.

Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential learning : Experience as the source of learning and development. Engelwood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Larmer, J. & Mergendoller, J. (2010). Seven essentials for project-based learning. Educational Leadership, 68(1), 34-37.

Mezirow, J. (2000). Learning as transformation: Critical perspectives on a theory in progress. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Pearson, G. (2012). Success, but slowly, as MET School redefines learning. Education Canada, 52(5), 37.

Senge, P. (2012). Creating schools for the future, not the past for all students. Leader to leader, 65, 44-49.

Zull, J. (2002). The Art of changing the brain: Enriching the practice of teaching by exploring the biology of learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Ken Robinson: A Demonstration of Ecological Literacy

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Four of the five educators of the Maples Met School at Big Bang 2016 in Orlando. (Will, Michelle, Sara, & Matt. Sopear was holding down the fort in Winnipeg.)

In recent months, I have been tasked, along with four highly skilled educators, to open a second Big Picture Learning school within the Seven Oaks School Division. The Maples Met School housed within Maples Collegiate and has been heavily supported by colleagues at both Maples Collegiate and the original 7Oaks Met School.

Given the newness of our school, we were invited to travel to Orlando and participate in the annual Big Picture Learning conference commonly referred to as Big Bang. The conference offers critical sessions on the components which make Big Picture schools unique, namely sessions related to exhibitions, advisories, internships and the education of one student at a time. All these sessions occur within the foundation of the Big Picture: Relationships, relevance, and rigour.

Not only did Big Bang afford us with outstanding opportunities to make sense of our roles within the life of a student, but it also allowed our small staff to bond and connect with itself. Similarly, we were also able to make powerful connections with the other Met School just down the street. We had tremendous discussions in between sessions, at meals, and in long layovers at dreary airports about experience design, assessment, and how to ensure that our learning environment was both rigorous and vigorous. many of us are also heavily invested in sustainability and ecological literacy, and began discussing how our school might champion these notions.

As part of Big Bang 2016, we were also treated to a talk from Sir Ken Robinson. As most educators are aware, Robinson is famous for a couple of brilliant TED talks and equally compelling books related to learning, schools, and creativity. His most recent book might be one on all of our reading lists. I had seen Robinson a few years ago in Winnipeg and so I was really excited to hear what he had to say.

Robinson was clearly a fan of of Big Picture Learning schools as they focus on the passion of the learner and allow time and space for learners to take control of their own learning. Robinson received the annual Disruptor award from the founders of Big Picture, Dennis Littky and Elliot Washor, with grace and humour.

What was most interesting regarding Sir Ken’s remarks was his focus on the state of the planet and how high the stakes are for our learners. He spoke of the carrying capacity of Earth, how critical soil is in agriculture and how we have essentially destroyed much of it, and he paid special attention to the fact that we need to properly equip young people for the current and impending ecological crisis. Robinson spoke in systems and clearly understood how nature sustains all life on Earth.

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Ken Robinson’s aims for education.

I had never heard Ken Robinson speak this way. Granted, he was his usually charming and hilarious self, but there was a more serious and forceful tone to his message. In most contexts, the audience can be turned off by those who speak truth to power when it comes to our role in the destruction of our planet, but while Robinson didn’t seem to care, he also was sensitive enough to not alienate those who might be annoyed of offended by the truth.

Matt Henderson

This is my criteria of experience for an ecological literacy. It might help us create learning experiences which lead to sustainable communities.

For me, Ken Robinson spoke to our role as educators in terms of equipping our learners with the knowledge and learning experiences that will help them to gain an ecological literacy. It is incumbent on us to help them understand the world around them, to think in systems, to anticipate the consequences of human activity, and to take meaningful action in order to create sustainable communities. I believe this is our role as individual educators, and also as schools.

As we creep towards the beginning of a new academic year, how might we cultivate this ecological literacy within our learners? How can we design learning experiences which help give our learners a fighting chance?

Summer: A Time to Learn for All

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Smilkstein’s Diagram of a Neuron

In Canada, we are well into the period where we cut off the formal learning process within schools and learners are released into the wilds for a two-month holiday. This tradition harkens back to the days when young boys and girls were beckoned back to the fields, at a time when more than half of the country’s population lived in rural communities.

But in 2016, the research points quite clearly to the fact that this two-month hiatus can often be detrimental to learning in many areas and that it can stifle the educative experiences and processes which educators have worked tirelessly to design throughout the previous ten months. The research suggests that if we were to test learners in June and then re-test them in September, that the retention rates would be pretty pitiful. The curve of forgetting demonstrates this phenomena:

The Curve of Forgetting

The Curve of Forgetting

On a more positive note, the summer holidays allow many parents the opportunity to reconnect to some degree with their children, if they are privileged enough to be afforded vacation themselves. Those with limited means, who are marginalized, and/or who suffer from the effects of poverty often do not have the time or ability to rest — a fact barely mitigated by exceptional programs like CSI and other camps.

But for those of us who are lucky enough to have some time off in the summer (and teachers hit the jackpot), summer is a time to learn about and from our children. Today just happened to be one of those days, where my kids reminded me of the learning process and how the brain is designed to learn. My eight-year-old daughter, already a learned and avid cyclist, was in the process of coaching her five-year-old brother in the art of spinning. I was astounded by how patient my daughter was, but also at her innate ability to read the experience, temperament, and stages of learning my son was in.

It was almost as though my daughter had been reading about the stages of learning, as proposed by Rita Smilkstein. Smilkstein, a brain-based educator and scholar, has been able to succinctly explain how the brain learns and the stages involved. (Take a look at the Youtube video below, as someone has summed up these stages quite nicely.)

These stages include:

  • Motivation – Perhaps we watched someone else ride a bike, or we have to, or we have been shown, or we are really interested in learning.
  • Start to Practice – This is where we begin to practice, where trial and error take place, and we begin to ask questions.
  • Advanced Practice – This is perhaps where we seek out additional lessons, where we read about bike riding, and where we develop some confidence.
  • Skillfulness – This is where we have some success, where we experience enjoyment, and where we begin to share our ideas.
  • Refinement – At this stage, we see substantial improvement, where things become natural, where we might plateau and become creative.
  • Mastery – This is where we begin to teach, where we might receive some recognition for what we do and where we seek out higher challenges.

As Smilkstein argues, “we learn through these stages because this is the how the brain learns — by constructing knowledge through sequential stages.”

My daughter had demonstrated these stages of learning and read them well as she coached my son. My son was certainly motivated to learn how to ride a two-wheeler, but he needed practice, a chance to fail, and the opportunity to ask questions in order to have some success. This was an educative experience for me, as it reminded me of what actually happens in the brain and how neuroscience relates to theories of experience as espoused by the likes of John Dewey and Paulo Freire.

Not only does this mean that I can enjoy bike rides with both of my kids, but it also speaks to the need to understand that our learners are going through a process, that their brains are physically changing when they learn, and that the task of the educator is to design experiences whereby neural connections are nurtured, built, and strengthened. This experience also has forced me to reconsider the purpose of summer holidays and that perhaps this two-month period away from school creates a further gap between those who are privileged and those who are not. Do summer holidays inhibit learning for some and do they create an imbalance in educative opportunities? In other words, do they do more harm than good? If they answer is yes, perhaps we need to rethink the status quo.