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Lizanne Foster
Teach high school, live in cohousing, practice yoga, study Integral theory, write...
Teach high school, live in cohousing, practice yoga, study Integral theory, write...
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Have you noticed lately how many toddlers are quite adept at navigating their iPads? Have you noticed how much screens are being used by harried parents to keep their children quiet for hours? Do you worry like I do about the consequences for society when millions of toddlers grow up to be teens who do not know how to hold a conversation , who do not have the words to express how they feel but who are quite skilled at sending emojis?

This scary future may already be here. Recently primary teachers have been voicing concerns about kindergarteners not being able to manage their emotions and not being able to “use their words”. Perhaps it’s because they may not have enough words from which to choose.

What are the societal consequences of having children “be quiet” all the time? Will we lose the power of words to weave stories that show us who we are?
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Portable Classrooms Catch 22
Portable Classrooms Catch 22
gongonvaal.wordpress.com

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Whose future is bright?
Whose future is bright?
gongonvaal.wordpress.com

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I wonder if citizens see the irony in the launching of a campaign focused on government services and programs just weeks after the Supreme Court of Canada rebuked the B.C. Liberals for cheating a generation of students out of critically important services and programs they needed for their education?

It takes a significant depth of cynicism to launch a $15 000 000 advertising campaign weeks after your government has been censured for actions that resulted in the removal of $4 billion in funding for education programs and services.

But what is particularly galling is Premier Clark’s professed “excitement” at having the opportunity to invest in education that the ruling supposedly gave her, the same opportunity she discarded when, as Minister of Education, she introduced the legislation that the Supreme Court found in violation of the constitutional rights of teachers.

Piles of discarded opportunities dot the landscape of the BC Liberal’s legacy.

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As for us teachers, we were in the invidious position of having to pay for both sides of the battle to restore our rights. We paid for our defence through our union dues, and we also paid for the government’s attack on those rights through our taxes.

Since 2002, we have lost significant amounts of salary whenever we engaged in several actions to alert the public about what the government was doing to our students. During the most bitter of these in 2014, some of us lost our homes as a result of five weeks of holding the line for public education in this province.
After the win, counting the losses
After the win, counting the losses
gongonvaal.wordpress.com

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The Ministry’s sudden promotion of coding in schools took us by surprise. We could not understand why or how coding zipped up the priority list of what is needed in schools ahead of seismic upgrades and repairs to leaky roofs. We had not seen it mentioned anywhere in the roll-out of BC’s new curriculum documents. And we tried hard to understand how we could teach coding without computers even while we were assured by the Minister that we didn’t need computers for the task.

But our confusion has now ended. We now see that computer coding is the key that will provide an open door for corporations to enter public school classrooms and access what they see as a most valuable commodity: our students, their future consumers.
Can you see the big picture?
Can you see the big picture?
gongonvaal.wordpress.com

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Splotched on the tapestry that is my relationship with my students, are apologies of all kinds. Regrets for lapses in judgement, feelings of remorse for slips of anger, anguish over my inability to keep all those gajillion balls floating in sequence throughout my teaching day.

I wish I didn’t have those splotches. I wish I could always be mindful of what I say and do and that I could always be attuned to my students’ energy.

But I know that would take superhuman effort of which I’m incapable.

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New research from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital reveals that reproductive stage, not simply chronological age, may contribute to changes in memory and brain function for women.
- image:A functional MRI scan shows the network of brain regions that support memory. The decline in estradiol, a sex steroid hormone that declines during menopause, alters brain activity in this network.
- Many women report forgetfulness and changes in memory as they transition to menopause. But studies that target participants who are 65 and older do not account for cognitive changes that may take place decades earlier in a woman’s life. (read more: http://scitechdaily.com/memory-changes-may-occur-in-women-decades-earlier-than-previously-thought/)
- By studying women ages 45 to 55, investigators at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have found that reproductive stage, not simply chronological age, may contribute to changes in memory and brain function. Their findings are published in The Journal of Neuroscience. (read below)
- Study: Impact of Sex and Menopausal Status on Episodic Memory Circuitry in Early Midlife
Abstract: This paper focuses on a wall-resolved Large Eddy Simulation (LES) of an isothermal round submerged air jet impinging on a heated flat plate, at a Reynolds number of 23 000 (based on the nozzle diameter and the bulk velocity at the nozzle outlet) and for a nozzle to plate distance of two jet diameters. This specific configuration is known to lead to a non-monotonic variation of the temporal-mean Nusselt number as a function of the jet center distance, with the presence of two distinct peaks located on the jet axis and close to two nozzle diameters from the jet axis. The objectives are here twofold: first, validate the LES results against experimental data available in the literature and second to explore this validated numerical database by the use of high order statistics such as skewness and probability density functions of the temporal distribution of temperature and pressure to identify flow features at the origin of the second Nusselt peak. Skewness (Sk) of the pressure temporal distribution reveals the rebound of the primary vortices located near the location of the secondary peak and allows to identify the initiation of the unsteady separation linked to the local minimum in the mean heat transfer distribution. In the region of mean heat transfer enhancement, joint velocity-temperature analyses highlight that the most probable event is a cold fluid flux towards the plate produced by the passage of the vortical structures. In parallel, heat transfer distributions, analyzed using similar statistical tools, allow to connect the above mentioned events to the heat transfer on the plate. Thanks to such advanced analyses, the origin of the double peak is confirmed and connected to the flow dynamics. (source: http://www.jneurosci.org/content/36/39/10163.abstract)





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It’s disingenuous for the BC Liberal government to couch its new curriculum within a framework of flexibility while simultaneously removing billions from the education budget thereby causing ever more restrictions on what is possible in classrooms.

It’s especially galling that the Minister does not acknowledge that teachers have been transforming education for decades, continuously responding to “the demands of a changing world” without much support for this Herculean task from the Ministry.

So it’s nice to finally be given official permission to do what we’ve always done – adjust the curriculum to suit the needs of our students – but unless there are dollars on the table to support all the rhetoric about change, please spare us the hyperbole about flexibility.

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SUGGESTED SCHOOL SAFETY SUPPLY LIST

Water testing kit to check if your child’s school is one of the 92% likely to have lead in drinking water

Hazmat suit to protect against asbestos contamination

Reflective vests for long walks to school in the absence of schools buses or public transport

Mask to protect against breathing in mould spores

Mice/Rat traps (humane ones)

Buckets to catch water falling through leaky roofs

Personal fans/heaters to keep cool/warm in schools with aging heating/cooling systems

Safety whistle to blow after earthquake so that recovery crews can locate survivors
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