Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 18, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
6 'THE LflHBRIDOE HESAID Friday, Early childhood education stressed by separate schools director Children should be involved in foruui] learning at age four or five, says Mnnrice l.andry, director of elementary education in the Lcth- bridge separate school system. However, the atmosphere should he casual enough to allow the young- sters lo learn ahout tilings in their own way and at Ihcir own pace, "Kids Irani hest by discovery. They learn by doing rather than by being said Mr. Landry. Mr. Landry said he would like lo see more attention paid to the fact that children are individuals with a wide variety of interests and abilities. ''There is this idea thai all six- year-olds learn in the same way, and this continues right through high school and into society. There is something wrong with that kind of thinking." Children are different but they are being taught in the same way, he said. This results in the extreme c h i I d r e n, either the extremely bright or the extremely slow, get- ting left out of the educational mainstream. The slow children can't keep up with the average students while the bright youngsters are bored be- cause they have met the chal- lenges and now have to wait for the others to catch up. The 39-year-old director, who is responsible for approximately students in five elementary schools said he would like to see the con- cept of grades scrapped. "I'd like to do away completely with grades. It's going to happen eventually he said. There is already a nmve in this unusual person to keep trying after direction in the scpariilu school sys- lie fails something." lem. SI. Paul's School will .start a non-graded scheme in language arts this fall while all subjects will be non-graded at St. Mary's School this year. Grading also leads lo competi- tion which can create a sense of failure, even in a student who does well. Mr. Lamlry said it isn't fair to pit a student with an I.Q. of IflO against a student with an I.Q. of ISO, or to Dirow a "rich kid" who's been able lo travel against a youngster who lias never been out of his neighborhood. "I believe in competition with yourself that you should always be trying to do better than you did last time but I am strongly op- posed to forcing young children into competition with each he said. Parents can unwittingly contri- bute to the problem by pressuring their child to lead their class. If they don't, the parent regards sec- ond or third place as a failure. Mr. Lamlry saict he is optimistic that the quality education will con- tinue to improve. "I've been in this field for 15 years and the quality of the teach ing has come a long way in that he said. However, there is slill lots of room for improvement One new avenue worth exploring is making use of the wide variety of talents available in the commu- nity. would like lo draw on pco- of to ple in the community lo come in and rap with the he said. "I also hope we can get into the business of voluntary aides and ad' "Most people who con'.innally fail visory committees made up of par will give he said. "It takes an ents, teachers and students." Mr. Landry said a mnjor evil grading is that it is related failure. For Grade 12 .slndcnls Local evaluation still sought The Lcthbridge public school board plans lo continue its fight to regain the right of complete local evaluation of Grade 12 examina- tions. The board has drafted a resolu- tion to be presented to the annual convention of the Alherta .School Trustees' Association to he held in November urging the provincial government to change its position on the issue. Until last fall, Lethbridge schools had been able lo give their own grades to Grade 12 students as part of the divided school year ex- periment. However, Education Minister Lou llyndman moved in to throttle the machinery and announced that schools could only have a SO per cent say in six of Die Grade 12 .subjects. The public hoard prolcsled arid won a minor skirmish Die gov- ernment extended Die 50 per rent to include all 10 Grade 12 sub- jects. 'Hie main argument in favor ol complete locnl evaluation has been that schools evaluate their own students all through their aca- demic career up until I hey reach Grade 12 when apparently ihey are suddenly no longer able lo handle the responsibility. The board has argued that il (he Speech pathologist available Tile services of iwo fully-certi- fied speech pathologisls will be available to students in Lcthbridge public schools again this year. Hill Lingard and Ann Johansen worked with more than 3HO stu- dents with speech and hearing problems last year in addition to special workshops to help teachers spot children wilh such disabilities. service will he expanded in Die school year. .Special attention will be paid to students entering Grade 1 anct to (hose in all special education class- es in the city. Another special service which will again be available to public school students is the home-bound teacher. Mary Oordt attends to the schol- astic needs of students from Grades 1 to 12 who arc unable to attend classes for an extended period due to accident or illness. In Hie past year, Mrs. Oordt regularly visited more than 70 stu- dents at home and in hospital and her efforts have made the differ- ence between passing and failure for many students. Mrs. Oordt has worked with chil- dren in all age groups suffering from such diseases as pneumonia, mononucleosis, cancer, unrespon- sive infections, operations, acci- dents and psychological problems. She moves from hospital room to home, teaching Grade 1 reading in one place and switching to Grade 12 mathematics in another. .She receives referrals from par- ents, doctors and school personnel. Mrs. Oordt maintains an office at Lake-view Elementary School and can he reached at Mr. Lindgard and Mrs. Johansen can be contacted at the public school hoard office, H27-152I. DR. GEORGE BEVAN Director of Curriculum and Instruction Public School District schools arc competent enough to determine a mark for a Grade 3 student, or a Grade 10 student, they must also be able to evaluate a Grade 12 student. .Since it is the teacher who works with the .students day in and day out, they should know better than anyone how much the student lias accomplished during the year. Teachers can lake into considera- tion the effort a student has put forth as well as all the oilier vari- ables which someone in Kdmonlon can't be expected lo understand when sitting down to mark exam number The hoard maintains that the de- partmental examination c a nnot take the human side of learning into account and, in facl, local evaluation is more accurate. It is hoped that the weight of (be provincial school tnislces associa- tion can be brought lo hear on the government in an cffori lo bring aboul a change in NIC present regu- lations. The Worth Commission lie-port on Kducalional Planning has rec- ommended an end for all Grade 12 examinations. Federal funds for teachers' aides? The I.ethhridgc public school board hopes it will be blessed again this year with a federal govern- ment grant to allow the hiring of teacher aides. Last year, the district received from the government's Initiatives Program and put it to line in hiring -14 teacher aides lo work from March through June. The response lo the aides was outstanding. They perform the many small daily I asks which in the past had to he done by the teacher. By having an aide, Hie teacher was free lo devote more lime lo leachini; and less lo files ami sorting hoots. Teacher aides are not qualified teachers and, therefore, arc nol in- volved in Die actual iiiKlruclion of sludenls. 'Ilie school dislricl says il defin- itely plans lo seek the lodc-iai granl again Ibis year.