Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 24, 1970, Lethbridge, Alberta
-THE LETHBRIDGE HEKAID TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 34, 197O Education in Spain By ROBERT A. KIMMTTT The educational leaders of beautiful Barcelona welcomed us -warmly and guided us through a well planned tour of schools. During our five -days in Barcelona and Terragooa we visited two universities, a state high school, a private high school, two rural elemen- tary schools. Aroimd the university, there was an air of deep and serious scholarship. The students showed up as a select group privileged to work in a finely established U n i v e r sity. The state run high school with sec- tions for girls and boys was peopled by a carefree gay crowd of youngsters such as you find in Canada. As we en- tered classroom after class- room you noted an especially relaxed atmosphere. The private- high school run by an order of Spanish priests was a beautiful and elegant in- stitution for boys from Barce- lona and a wide district around. We were told that this school is easily available to car pable boys from rather poor homes in rural Spain. The rural elementary schools had much in common with elemen- tary schools everywhere. The youngsters were a delight. Perhaps the highlight of my visit was to see the Labour Uni- versity in rural Terragona. Here is a top. flight school of technology mostly for the sons of tradesmen. It is a new cam- pus one hundred yards from the Mediterranean with spa- cious residences, playing fields, many smallish buildings and one large building where each floor is an open area about the size of a small city block. Here are millions of dollars worth of machinery of all types. The university is state endowed but also financed by labor unions and individual workers. In spite of an alleged tight dictatorship in Spain a visitor is not conscious of any tension in the land or any frustration. Spain like most other countries certainly is moving aihead with lightning speed in education. More flexibility at Westminster Westminster School open space Why dropouts' High school dropouts are not unm otivated young people nor do they necessarily lack the in- telligence to finish Grade 12 or 13, contrary to much public opinion. This is a conclusion of a recently completed study by the Calgary Family Service Bureau, reported in School Pro- gress magazine. Bert executive director of the bu- reau, launched the survey be- cause he became concerned aboxit the stereotyped opinions of students who drop out, which label them as "no good, un- motivated people." His interviews disclosed that two-thirds of the dropouts were taking other courses or special training elsewhere. Boredom causes many students to quit school, he found. Another cause is the fact that many older students who have left school and come back tx> try again, just can't i'ace it "they feel left out, isolated and says Marcuse, Poverty is also blamed for poor academic performance, he points out, but adds: "It is not true that children from de- prived areas are not motivat- They may have different valueSj but they are not un- aware the value of educa- Development laboratories The San Diego Board of Edu- cation has engaged Education- al Development Laboratories to upgrade the reading skills of children from poor homes. EDL, a spin-off of the McGraw, Hill Book Company expects to pick up 1.4 million dollars on the contract. This fall, the school board of Gary, Ind. will hand over the all-black Banncker Elementary School to a private company. Behavioral Research Labora- tories, Palo Alto, Calif, will undertake to raise the educa- tional level of BOO students and the city of Gary will pay the company per pupil. The company has put the entire staff of the school on Its pay- roll and given the city the usual money-back clause in the contract. Washington, D.C. s c h o o 1 board voted to enroll the whole system on a trial basis. The contract will be handled by the Metropolitan Research Center. The wil be di- rected by Kenneth B. Clark. The capital lias some of the lowest stands <5s in the United States. The Office of Equal Oppor- tunity expects to spend G.I5 mil- lion dollars during this year on similar contracts. There are 6 companies and 21 school dis- tricts involved throughout the United States (Time Magazine, Aug. 24, 1970) tion. They just don't have the expectation of being able ta go to university." University is still not avail- able to most lower income stu- dents, even less so in Canada than the U.S., says Marcuse. "B ut economically deprived children often know that if they finish Grade 11 or 12, they will have to contribute to their fam- ily's upkeep, or their he adds. "They have to accept the fact that education is still for the privileged people in our so- ciety." Marcuse stresses that understanding the problems of youngsters from poor homes is essential if they are to have equal opportunities with more fortunate children, "but most middle-class people including many teachers have a fan- tastic ignorance of the culture of poverty. Statement (Concluded From Front Page) of personnel new to the school, and in the training of future teachers. (vi) Maximum utilization of community and regional re- sources in enriching the in- structional program. (vii) Utilization of m u 11 i- van'ant instructional materials and equipment. C. Instructional materials and equipment: (i) The school media centre will perform the task of en- riching and supporting the edu- cational program of the school by: (a) Assisting in the develop- ment of rending skills, literary taste, and discrimination in the choice of reading materials. (b) Instructing in the use of print and1 non-print materials. (c) Assisting students in thp use of multi-media and multi- sensory materials and equip- ment. (d) Guiding students in creative use of leisure time. By BARBARA JENSEN In the fall of 1963, the teach- ers of Westminster School faced a new ajul exciting chal- lenge. The project began with. the formation of teaching teams, each comprised of from three to five teachers. The ma- jor objective of the project was to reorganize the teachers to belter meet the needs of the children as individuals. As the teachers worked to- gether through the next two years, several tilings became evident. The actual formation of the teaching teams proved to be only the first link in a chain of closely related innova- tions. Teachers found they were limited by the rigidity: of the traditional classroom, its meth- ods and cxrricutum. They be- gan to develop new teaching methods and more flexible ways of grouping their stu- dents, and, in doing so, found that three types of space were required: areas for large groups, for small groups and for independent study. Some provision for these kinds of space was made when plans were drawn to rennovate the school, originally designed for use by junior high school students. Renovations were completed during the past summer and present facilities include three open areas and six self-contained classrooms as well as an ait room, science room, media centre, and gym. Each of the Uiree grade levels was assigned to one of the three open areas. As all students could not be accom- modated within the open areas, each teaching team also makes use of adjacent classrooms. Students whose homeroom is a self-contained classroom take part in the same program as those who begin the day in an open area. Although similar programs are being carried on through- out the school, the three teach- ing teams are able to make independent decisions as to teach ing strategies, subject specialties, and grouping ol students. A team may decide to designate one or two teach- ers from the team as special- ists for subjects such as sci- ence or music, yet all may work together to teach the lan- uage arts or arithmetic. Grouping, also is very flex- ible. Large groups, which may include from 70 to 130 students are, course, scheduled in the open areas, single class groups or smaller discussion groups may be schedtiled for open areas, separate class- rooms or a room with special facilities, such us the science room or media centre. The new media centre is also ideal for independent study. Enlarged by knocking cut a wall between two regular class- rooms, it is now very spacious and well-equipped with books, filmstrips, records and maga- zines. Lessons in library sci- ence are offered regularly by the full-time librarian. This knowledge about the organiza- tion of a library enables the student to carry out inde- pendent study projects, making use of all available materials. One of the major require- ments for open area schools is space that is rot only varied but flexible. Areas should adapt easily lo a variety of in- struction, class sizes, and to constant movement. Move-able dividers, lightweight tobies and chairs, and of course, carpets, are essential if an open area is to be able to operate smooth- ly. As Westminster School has- been placed on a five year budgeting program, all areas are not completely equipped at the present time. The effective- ness of the open areas is ol course, diminished by the lack of carpets and other suitable furnishings. Effective open areas are one more step towards providing a flexible learn ing environment -.hat. esTi better meet the needs of each individual student. Teachers find themselves ob- serving each other, and this improving their own teachir.g techniques. Opportunities for observing st udents are increased, and teachers then meet together to share ideas, and to discuss problems. Groupings of chil- dren are becoming much more flexible and the variety of per- sonal contacts are increased for both student and teacher. With coniiiTuuig to existing facilities, we are convinced that open areas can provide an extremely exciting learning atmosphere for everyone involved. Education in Ireland ROBERT A. KIMMITT Our trip to Ireland was a holiday for Mrs. Kimmilt and I but we kept our eyes and ears open concerning educa- tion. I visited the department of education in Dublin where I was assigned a senior secre- tary for two hours. She was ail executive assistant to the min- ister. I learned from her that southern Ireland still has a highly centralized education system with courses of study, curriculum guides and exam- inations sent out from Ihibun. In this respect they have lots of company all over Europe and in most of Canada some states in the U.S. I went to the government school book establishment and picked up piles of free courses of study and for about a pound a. complete set of high school leaving e x a m i n a lions. The exams are the type that vte used until about 15 years ago. All over this beautiful island we saw well-dressed, rosy cliceiied youngsters trundling' down narrow paved foirylike country lanes on tbeir way to schooi and back. All students get eight or nine years of edu- cation and an increasing num- ber are attending high schools. We visited one large experi- mental comprehensive b i g li school. The principal took most of his morning to show Mrs. Kimmitt and I through school. Tt reminded me of a boauliful c-im- prehonsivo school we sa-.v in Finland. It li.is in com- mon with oir- high whonls in Lethbridge students all ranges of interest nnd abil- ity can line up before an edu- cational smorgaMwrd. In Ireland as elsewhere there is n booming interest in educational clmnge.