This month, we offer a grab-bag of educational issues and developments, ranging widely from philosophy and ballroom dancing for elementary students to a list of 52 inspirational quotes for teachers. Plus, Australia is often described as Canada with good weather, so we take a look at what’s getting attention down under, which includes interesting material about cellphone use in schools. [by Jim Lang, M.Ed. PhD, Associate Faculty Department of Social Justice Education, Philosophy of Education, OISE/University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario]

  • Why philosophy belongs in elementary schoolsWhen clear, rational thinking among adults seems to be in short supply, it may be time to avert a dystopian future by formally teaching students how to think, the younger the better. Writing for the CEA’s EdCanNetwork, Amy Leask claims that children can benefit from exposure to philosophy, which, …may not be part of the regular elementary curriculum in most Canadian provinces, but that doesn’t mean it can’t play a supporting role. This ancient practice yields incredible benefits for young learners, including numerous applications to 21st century learning.” 
  • 2018 Digital Learning SymposiumNext month, April 18-20, CanElearn is sponsoring a digital learning symposium in Richmond, BC. Its focus is on: “…innovative learning models reflecting new curriculum in online learning environments.” These will be explored via discussions and presentations on, “Exemplary practices; District, School, and Classroom Streams; Structured Dialogue and Networking; and, Latest Research in Online Learning.”
  • Teaching with CashWriting for Canadian Teacher Magazine, Maria Campbell touts strategies for using cash as a teaching resource. Among the subjects it supports: history; technology and business; law; science and technology; and art.
  • Ballroom dancing for elementary students?According to Rachel Beach, writing for the “Teach” website, Over the past few years, ballroom dance has garnered attention as an extremely useful yet entertaining educational tool that levels the social playing field and carries extremely important life lessons.” Students are said to learn discipline, etiquette, respect and communication, as well as life skills involving body language, confidence and patience.
  • Teacher Magazine from AustraliaWhat’s getting attention down under? A range of hot topics, courtesy of Teacher Magazine: Brisbane finalist for the Global Teacher Prize Awards, Sarah Mathews, focuses on numeracy, saying it’s “everyone’s business;” comparing different strategies on cellphone use in schools; and a video game challenge based on coding and problem-solving skills, among other neat stuff.
  • 52 Of Our Favorite Inspirational Quotes For TeachersFinally, on a lighter note, browse 52 inspirational quotes for teachers, mostly from non-teachers (an occasional groan is understood.) Among these timeless quotes, “Teaching is the greatest act of optimism.” (Colleen Wilcox); “Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” (Anonymous); “Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.” (Jacques Barzun); and, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.” (John Dewey).”

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