Saturday, June 2, 2012

In news from "Vancouver"

When Koreans (or Americans too) ask me where I'm from, I say "Vancouver."  Except "Vancouver," is actually my code-word for "Edmonton."  It's just easier than explaining.  Anyway,  although this is a secret code, I'm sharing it with you today because there is an interesting news story from my hometown.

Suspended Teacher in a fight for High Standards

The gist of it is that there is a new policy in Edmonton high schools that student's final grades are based only on the work that they have completed.  If they don't do something, there is no "0," or make-up required.  Apparently it's related to the self-esteem movement. 

Anyway, I applaud the teacher for standing up against this crap.  As an extreme example, I guess a student could do absolutely nothing all semester long, and skip all the tests, but hand in some easy assignment worth 5% of the final grade, ace it and get an A+ in the class.  Ridiculous.  And it's not like high school in Canada is hard.  For real.  You can choose how hard you want it to be!  When I was a student there were 4 different tracks of classes that you could choose:

1. IB Math for those who want to be taking University-level classes by the end of high school. 

2. Math for those who want to attend university.

3. Math for those who might want to enter a community college or trade school involving science/engineering of some sort.

4. Math for those who never plan on setting foot in a classroom ever again after high school.

It's a slippery slope, let's just say that.  Kind of reminds me of working at a Korean University where students expect to get an A/A+ just because they've been physically present at most of the classes, even if they've done absolutely no homework or performed well on the tests.  And, I have to make my classes almost ridiculously easy (including giving the exact questions that are on the test beforehand) or the majority of my students would fail. 

3 comments:

sdell7 said...

It is definitely a slippery slope. It's worrying to note that many of the outstanding and remarkable students in Korean High Schools often drop out in the first year in American Universities for this very reason. They are not use to being expected to do projects, answer questions outside the realm of what is printed in the textbooks or to manage study time outside of the confines of school self-study classes or private study academies. Let's hope the Canadian education system continues to expect more of their students in order to remain a world class education system.

Kertrats said...

I saw this story as well. The policy is completely ridiculous, and in no way prepares someone for university or "the real world." I encountered a bit of this when I taught high school back in Canada, but I left for Korea before it got to these levels of ludicrousness.

By the way, it's nice to talk to someone else from "Vancouver." In my case, the code is even more involved. I tell someone I'm from "Vancouver," which is code for "Edmonton," which in turn is another code for Grande Prairie! Have you heard of it/been there? If so, I'm sure you're one of about three in all of Korea!

Jackie Bolen said...

Oh yeah...Grande Prairie! I know all about it. I've actually been there once, for a provincial badminton tourney.