Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 17, 1970, Lethbridge, Alberta
6 THE LE7HHX1CGE H52ALD Monday, August 17.. 1970- e in new social studies program according TO r< Most Lethbridge students, par- ents and teachers seem to be in favor of the variety of innova- tions introduced into the public and separate school systems in the past few years, according to a special report the two school boards have received. Everyone in the city involved in education seems over- whelmingly in favor of the di- yided school year and the re- port recommends that the "two- semester" system approach should be continued for another three years, to the 1972-1973 school year. The Aug. 25 starting date is also popular, and experimentation in uon graded elementary schools and provision of two entry points (August and January) for Grade 1 students was suggested. The 150-page report was pre- pared by the University of Lett- bridge faculty of education cen- tre for educational research and services, under the general di- rection of Dr. Vern Dravland. It is based on question- naires distributed to a selected sample of students and parents, and to all teachers in the public and separate school districts. More than 60 per cent of the questionnaires 913 were re- turned completed. Many teachers complained they were not sufficiently involved in either planning of or implementa- tion of the divided school year, although they still approved of the system. Teachers, parents and students in favor of the Christmas division, and of having final ex- aminations for the fall semester in December, which they said helped to make more effective use than previously of the few days before the Christmas holi- days. Teachers were much in favor of the one or two days of prep- paration time allotted before school starts in the spring se- mester. However, in general teachers criticized their lack of adequate preparation time for classroom activities -through the year, with about 70 per cent recording their dissatisfaction. The report suggests all teach- ers be provided with planning time on school days, with a more uniform scheduling established to give everyone ample free time. The evaluation also suggests the daily starting time for ele- mentary schools that would make the most people happy would be 9 a.m., with a 60 minute lunch break and a p.m. closing time. Junior and senior high schools, t it says, should open at am v.-ith a 60-minute lunch break and a p.m. closing time. Lethbridue students seem- con- vinced of the importance of some form oi post-high school ertuca- abcui GO por cent of all slu- in public and separate sciioola arc'planning on complet- ing a Grade 12 matriculation pro- However, few were so far con- sidering the possibility of Decem- ber graduation, which would al- low them to enter university or college for the spring semester, or to enter the labor force at a time when jobs were more avail- able than they are for summer graduates. The 80 minute compressed classes allowed by the divided school year, which make it pos- sible for a student to complete a 'full course in half a year are popular: students, felt their grades had been improved, that they made more effective use of their school time, that they were not over-pressured by the more concentrated work load and that they still had sufficient free time. Teachers believe students make better use of their time, and that they themselves make better use of their time with the compressed 80 minute periods, but they did not think they were introducing any new methods or flexibility into their teaching ac- tivities. The report suggests that biol- ogy, industrial arts, physical edu- cation, sociology, business courses and home economics should be offered in 80 minute periods only. It also suggests several courses should be offered in both 40 and 80-minute periods, at least for the next two years: social studies, physics, chemistry, mathematics, psychology, drama, data process- ing, language arts, and science. A majority of teachers and many parents favored employing classroom aides but many of those who did not say they fa- vored them, said they did not know what to think. The report suggests more in- formation should be made avail- able to both teachers and par- ents to define the role and pur- pose of classroom aides. The new Alberta social studies program to be introduced this year in Grades 1 to 12 is de- signed to teach students to ques- tion everything around them, says Maurice Landry, director of elementary education for the Lethbridge separate school dis- trict. "The idea is that there are no real answers: the kids are sup- posed to develop their own un- derstanding of the problems they set themselves in class. "From this they learn how to think. Their method of enquiry is the important thing, not just the facts involved in the facts they can always find in books, once they learn how to use the books. "They'll come up with their own values from these Mr. Landry said. "These values might be different than their parents- values, but it should make for the start of a more open-minded so- ciety." Mr. Landry took a six-week summer course at the University of Alberta, designed to orient teachers and administrators with the new program. He .said it appears it won't be easy to introduce the program into city schools, since it will re- quire special resource materials which will take some gather. "But I think it will be a suc- cess when it is in the he said. "The teachers taking the orientation course are going out and they'll take these idea; ;o their students and teach them how to develop their own new ideas." About a third of the time in social studies under the new cur- riculum will be spent on "critical issues" pollution, abortion, war and "anything the kids them- selves pick out that concerns Mr, Landry said. Students, not teachers will choose topics, because it is the students who are learning to think, he said. Slower students and those who are less-interested in the subject matter will be helped by the oth- er students in the new type of program, since they will comple- ment each other in their class discussion sessions, Mr. Landry said. "But its not simple, because the teacher must become a resource person a question answer rather than being simply an im- parter of knowledge through the lecture system." Community uses schools Lethbridge residents have made heavy use of schools this year for things other than educa- tion, turning empty schools into distinct assets rather than vacant shells. In the first 4% months of 1970, some adults and children made special use of the city's 20 public and separate schools, for a total of hours under the community use of schools agree- ment implemented Jan. 1 this year. The agreement allows all city groups to make use of schools in non-school time, paying rentals set according to the type of orga- nization and acitivity. The adults and children attended various activi- ties which included dancing and dance clubs, YWCA sessions, reli- gious meetings, home and school meetings, keep-fit classes, drill groups, stamp club meetings and shows, sports tournaments, travel tour group meetings, music and drama practices and even as temporary churches. During the summer months and in numbers even higher than those mentioned schools are in use for the community summer program for the city's young people. A report from the city parks and recreation department, through whom all bookings for school facilities use are made, says few problems were encoun- tered, and those which did arise were organizational rather than involving behavior. The major problems seemed to be to convince groups which had had permission in the past to use the facilities that they would now have to obtain a City of Lcth- bridLto permit to do so. Under the agreement, nil non- school activities must bn cleared through the. city, to avoid sched- uling conflicts and other problems which sometimes arose in the past. There was only one case of "very minor accidental the report adds. The heaviest use was recorded by Hamilton Junior High School, which was occupied by adults and 849 children during the Jan. 1 to May 15 period 16 per. cent of all community use of schools during that time. Hamilton was in almost con- stant use throughout the period. Next-busiest was Assumption School, used by adults and children. Agnes Davidson Elementary School was also busy, with 911 adults and children making non-school use of its facilities. The city's three high schools the Lethbridge Collegiate Insti- tute, Winston Churchill High School and Catholic Central High School were not used nearly as regularly by non-school groups as were the elementary schools, since they have may activities of their own organized b y students for both afternoon and evening. hours. Under the community use of schools agreement, regular and extra-curricular needs of the schools are given first priority. The community use agreement will be continued, and reviewed annually for possible changes re- quired by different conditions. Community groups wishing to use the schools for almost an y purpose can receive permit appli- cation forms from City Hall or the parks and recreation offices, and the public and separate school boards encourage people to make as much use as possible of the school facilities. Rentals arc nominal, covering primarily the salaries of care- taking staff, who must be present under the agreement's terms.