Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 19, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
2 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Thursday. August 19, 1971------ Elementary education said important1 in child's training Elementary school education is the most important area of any education because it is in elementary schools that students acquire their basic learning tools and learning habits. In the Lethbridge s e p a rate school district, Maurice Landry is director of elementary education, a job which he defines as "helping teachers to teach in whatever ways I can." He does no evaluation of teach- ers except at their own request and for them alone, and writes no reports. Mr. Landry has a bachelor of education degree and a bachelor of arts degree, and is currently work- ing towards a master's degree specializing further in elementary education. He has worked closely with ele- mentary education throughout his school career, including five years in Rimbey, Alta. as principal of an elementary school and three years in St. Paul, Alta. as supervisor elementary education for the school district administration. Active in all aspects of educa- tion, Mr. Landry spent two years as president of the Alberta Teach- ers' Association early childhood education council. He is now vice chairman of the Lethbridge Head Start committee, a group which oversees a 35-stu- dent project designed to give five- year old children an opportunity to catch up on whatever pre-edu- cation training they lack due to family backgrounds different than those of the majority of children their age. Mr. Landry is also an ATA pro- fessional development consultant in the area of early childhood educa- tion, and spends much of his spare time working with teachers in southwestern Alberta, helping them to become better elementary-grade educationists. "I suppose my major job is simply to keep the communica- tions lines open for the Mr. Landry said. "I work as a colleague with the teachers, rather than as someone apart from He says all education must cen- tre itself on what the students need most in a modern, rapidly-chang- ing world. "We're teaching children, not subjects, and consequently I can recognize good teaching without necessarily being an expert myself in the subject area being taught. think that should be the "first concern of any teacher they're teaching kids, not subjects, with Library books Got a few library books kicking around the house which might be- long to some school or other? The school, or school board of- fices would welcome them back no strings or names attached. Many times students will take home books for research or enter- tainment, shelve (or bury) them somewhere and entirely forget their existence. Sometimes not always the school has a record of the student who last borrowed the book. How- ever, a student can also often argue, quite innocently, that he in- deed does not have the book, and a mistake must have been made. The books must all he replaced by the school district before new books can be purchased to enlarge and improve the central library collection, unless students or par- ents finding them take time to re- turn them. the goal of helping them to learn how to think, not simply recite back a group of unuseable facts." He says a good teacher should encourage students to ask what- ever questions come to their minds, whenever the questions come to their minds. "Let's give the kids the com- munications skills they'll need when they get older. "We can do a lot better than we've been doing there are too many people in this country, even, who are operating at the practical illiteracy level. "There's no point at all to filling the kids with a bunch of facts about a bunch of subjects which will be meaningless to their lives in the world they're growing up to live in. "Show them how to find the facts they need, and how to use the facts. Don't make them memorize the capital of Afghanistan, show them how to find it if they need it, in an atlas. That's what the atlas is for." He said the skill of reading is the most important area of elementary learning, because all other learn- ing follows from it. "But reading is too complex a skill to allow us to easily pinpoint why a kid doesn't manage to learn how to read. It isn't right to say he just didn't try. "There's more research being done on reading skills today than in any other area of education. "With all this, if a child doesn't see his parents reading at home, New public schools' oral French program is power' result Introduction of an elementary school oral French program in Lehbridge public schools this fall is a good example of the way "par- ent power" can work in city edu- cation. Following a request from a group of parents last year, the pub- lic school board conducted a large- scale survey lo find out what par- ental attitiudes toward their chil- dren taking French were in each school "neighborhood." And trustees discovered that the parents' delegation to hte board meeting was correct: parents over- whelmingly wanted their children to learn French before junior high school. More than 90 per cent of the re- plies were in favor, so a commit- tee of teachers, administrators and University of Lethbridge personnel investigated the numerous elemen- tarv-Ievcl French programs avail- able. The committee chose "Ici on Parle Francais" Here we speak French as most suitable, and the district's Grade 6 students will be Lhe first to use the program as Lhey begin working with it this fall. Next year Grade 5 students will also take the program, and the fol- lowing year it will be opened to Grade 4 students. By the end of the 1977 school year, each Grade G stu- dent will have had tliree years of instruction in French an excel- lent start toward more formalized training in Canada's language dur- ing junior high school years. The primary objectives of the new program, already being studied by some other Al- bepta school children, are in the areas of development of a mini- mum efficiency in French, includ- ing a fairly extensive vocabulary; A study of the culture from which the French language grew; am] a gradual introduction lo the skills of writing in a second language. Teachers in the eight schools in- volved will receive substantial as- sistance in preparing for their new task. The school district has arranged for pro-school instruction by Dr. DonH Petliei-bridge of the U of L. Miss Doris Kiirr, one of tho authors of the Ice on Parle Francais pro- gram will be in Lelhbridgc Sept. 2.T lo 25 lo provide an in-service workshop for the teachers. In addition, the teachers will be meeting weekly during the school year to receive assistance in pre- paring lessons. They will be interacting not only with eacli oilier, but also with the instructor of the meetings. Mrs. Anne Lloyd, an experienced French teacher. The board has also sent, at its expense. Mrs. Morwcn Smith of Se- nator Buchanan Elementary School lo Toronto for a one-week workshop conducted by the publishers of the French program. or it there are few books in the home, or if he doesn't get en- couragement lo read. Ihen he will find it extremely difficult to learn well." He says the first thing a parent should do with a child having read- ing problems is to have the child's hearing and vision checked. But that's not enough: the edu- cation system must also change its habits toward reading. "Language arts should be ex- tended into every subject area, in a completely integrated program. There's reading to be done in every subject area but it can be misused if it isn't reading to learn how to use reading and to under- stand the subject. "For example, in science we're teaching the kids to discover basic principles for themselves, rather than simply learn the theory in books. So today there's no point in sending the kids home with their science text to read chapter seven not science, it's just a rather poor reading course." The teacher, he said, is the key. "The teacher, as the adult in the classroom, is the guide. But the teacher is no longer the fount of all Mr. Landry said he tries in his job to visit schools for the majority of every day, working willi teach- ers all the time. He enters the classroom only when invited but is regularly in- vited. He will try to show teachers new or more effective teaching methodologies, or find various re- sources or supplies to help in some project or study, or "anything else the teacher asks for that will make education better." But education must concentrate on the individual studenl nol on the group. "Every child has his own unique best way of learning, and it's up to the teacher who can adjust to many leaching formats to find out each student's way of learning, then teach that way. "Students all have their own rates of learning, as well, yet we hurry them through at the same levels each year in every course, and try to shove them through the schools as fast as we can, without giving them the opportunity to learn at their best rate. "All we end up doing is pulling out a bunch of loo often ill-pre- pared people, who enter a job market without jobs." Mr. Landry said lie is impressed by the wide co-operation among all education related groups and agencies in Lethbridge a situa- tion he .says is not common in many other cities. "Here the public and separate school systems co operate with each other, the University of Loth- bridge co operates with us both and we all work together with the single thought in mind that it is our responsibility to find the best way to educate all children."