If you’re a reader who is unfamiliar with the current labour strife between public school teachers and the Ontario provincial government, click here for a great breakdown from People for Education.
I appeared alongside Zoe Branigan-Pipe, Stephen Hurley, Earl Manners, Misha Abarbanel, and George Thomas on TVO’s The Agenda last night to talk about “The Role of the Teacher” (aka Are Teachers Gonna Start Extra Curriculars in Ontario Again Or What?). It was an honour to be a part of and I enjoyed myself. But there’s one thing I wish we had discussed in greater depth.
Why has the loss of extra-curricular activities left this supposed chasm in our schools? Why do so many students, educators, parents, and other stakeholders see the loss of ECs as a reason to cry foul with deep, passionate tones?
Correct me if I am wrong, but ECs seem to be beloved for the following reasons:
- Students and teachers can pursue personal passions.
- They tend to be growth-oriented.
- They are often project-based.
- Collaboration is valued highly.
- Losses and failure are celebrated as learning opportunities.
- There are often concrete goals to pursue.
- They tend to include mixed age/grade groups.
- There is much more movement, less sedentary work.
- Paper-pen tasks are rarely seen.
- There is very little rote memorization.
- The process is seen as more important than the destination.
- There are no standardized, high stakes evaluations.
- No one gets graded.
- Assessment is feedback and improvement based.
- The development of mastery is understood to be a long process.
- Students and teachers have autonomy for the direction of the activity.
So is this a conversation about our beloved ECs or a discussion about what’s missing from learning in curriculum proper?