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    Why we are weaning our students from electronic noise

    We’ve decided to… ban… all electronic devices from both the course lectures and the discussion sections… thinking thrives on silence or on dialogue with other human voices, when electronic noise has faded. We hope to help wean our students from that noise. Our new policy is a small step, but we’re convinced that it’s in the right direction.

  • On campus, it’s good to be bothered by a diversity of ideas

    … consider the advice U.S. President Barack Obama… “There will be times when you shouldn’t compromise your core values, your integrity and you will have the responsibility to speak up in the face of injustice. But listen. Engage. If the other side has a point, learn from them. If they’re wrong, rebut them. Teach them. Beat them on the battlefield of ideas… you will have to deal with ignorance, hatred, racism, foolishness, trifling folks … at every stage of your life.”

  • What’s So Great about University Rankings?

    The rankings seem arbitrary… with universities rising and falling for reasons that are unclear even to academics… who study the rating systems… criteria are biased toward western values and ignore student satisfaction, safety, diversity and economic and social justice… if university leaders become obsessed with rankings, then they become obsessed with branding… with how many articles our academics are getting in top-ranked journals, which is a bit of a racket itself… attention is taken away from issues that need a lot of focus.

  • Panel to review federal funding for university-based scientific research

    The federal government has named an expert panel to conduct an unprecedented and sweeping review of how it supports university-based scientific research… the panel could trigger anything from minor tweaks to a major rebuild of Ottawa’s science-funding apparatus, which this year is expected to funnel more than $3-billion to Canadian researchers and their labs.

  • Queen’s Park should save schools for deaf children

    … depriving deaf children of sign language results in linguistic and cognitive delays that extend into adulthood… The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires governments to facilitate learning of sign language by deaf students and promote the linguistic identity of the deaf community in schools. Instead of closing the provincial schools, the ministry of education should work to enhance the schools’ environment and enable deaf and hard of hearing students to thrive.

  • Arguments for a one-board school system strong, but falling on deaf ears

    The OSSTF proposal wouldn’t end publicly funded Catholic education. All existing school boards – public, Catholic and French language – would be merged. Combined boards could still oversee a Catholic education component… Full schools allow a greater variety of courses and stronger extracurricular programs, which translates to better education. Ending public funding for religious schools would be the best and fairest policy.

  • Why universal screening for autism is a good idea

    … research tells us that early intervention can result in significant improvements in social communication, cognitive function and play skills. It makes a huge difference that we identify these children early… screening tools that accurately identify toddlers at highest risk of ASD. These tools could easily be incorporated into screening at well-baby visits… Autism Canada recommends continuous developmental surveillance and autism-specific screening at 18 months, 24 months…

  • Finland’s social climbers: How they’re fighting inequality with education, and winning

    This is a rare example of a country where national policy has been used to build a better pathway out of poverty and into a productive life. In recent years, that policy, while still successful, has begun to feel the pressures of a more diverse population and a fast-changing economy… what if… instead of spending money to make life more tolerable for the poor, governments invested in transforming children of poverty into productive, non-dependent, tax-contributing people?

  • We need to overcome our national math phobia

    … this move to embed math skills more deeply in Ontarians needn’t become a question of the sciences versus the arts. Quite the opposite: just as with increased reading skills, increased math skills will allow more efficient learning of other key subjects… Math teaches us logic and proof. It teaches us to think abstractly, yet precisely… We are preparing the current generation of Canadians for careers in the fourth industrial revolution and a world economy that relies on knowledge as the driver of prosperity.

  • Most OSAP overpayments recovered

    Ontario has one of the most generous financial aid systems in the country… Many of the issues around OSAP identified in your article are addressed in recently announced changes to Ontario’s financial aid system. In fact, almost all of the overpayments are recovered, and the amount not repaid represents about 0.5 per cent of the total assistance provided by OSAP to students in need.