June 1, 2016
I guess even back in the 1970s but certainly in the 1980s, there began a movement of parents, teachers and school board members in North America who believed students needed to get back to the basics when it came to “reading, writing and arithmetic”.
This meant learning how to read through rote learning as opposed to sounding out the words, an emphasis in adding and subtracting instead of the abstract New Math and taking the creative out of writing with learning how to spell being more important once again.
With the domination of technology over our lives today, most people, who grew up or are growing up with it now, do not really have to know how to hand write, can use a calculator to add and subtract as well as make change, and have spell check at their finger tips so no need to know how to spell.
Some would say that things have gone from bad to worse. Others thrive in the new technology world.
Worrying about the 3R’s has taken a backseat to all of this but the following story is an example of how generally more conservative people associated with the school system wanted to go back to the days of the one room school house when it came to “reading, writing and arithmetic”:
December 7, 1982
3R’s in Gbg. schools: School Board Report
by Tanya Lester
Details for a student evaluation policy, with heavy emphasis on the three R’s, was part of a report presented by Louis Marchand, Gravelbourg Elementary School principal, at last Monday’s school board meeting.
A sheet outlining the student evaluation policy, which includes a list of passing qualifications for Grade 1 through Grade 7 students, was circulated to parents upon receipt of the students’ last report cards.
The policy states that pupils in Grades 1,2, and 3 must obtain a 75 per cent, 65 per cent, and 60 per cent average respectively in language arts, mathematics, and phonics in order to be promoted to the next grade. One board member stated that these grade averages were fair as students must perform well in the lower grades in order to continue to do so in future grades.
In grades 4 to 7, the policy requires a student who fails two of language arts, designated written French and mathematics to repeat his or her grade. A student who fails one of these subjects or one of social studies, science, health, or oral French must obtain an overall average of 55 per cent in order to be promoted.
But a student who fails one of language arts, designated written French or mathematics as well as one of social studies, science, health, or oral French must score an overall 60 per cent average to pass.
Mr. Marchand pointed out that 50 per cent of each student’s mark will be based on formal exams and testing while 50 per cent will be based on homework, seat work, effort, participation and quizzes. He said himself and other teachers in the division had met and arrived at this policy.
Later in the meeting, a board member mentioned the written student evaluation policy would now mean parents could easily be alerted concerning areas their children are having difficulty in. The policy paper can be used as a guideline to better detect a student’s problem subject areas when report cards are received throughout the year. The school board voted in favour of adapting the policy.
Doug Bell, the Gravelbourg High School physical education teacher, reported to the board that the Girl’s Senior Volleyball Team placed between sixth and tenth place in the Provincial Finals in Leader, Saskatchewan. It was the first time a Gravelbourg High School girls volleyball team had ever advanced to the Finals.
Mr. Bell said the Boys Senior Volleyball Team had placed fifth in the Provincials in Meadowlark, Saskatchewan. As well, he noted that both the boys and girls teams from College Mathieu competed in the Provincials and had both placed fifth to his knowledge.
One board member asked Mr. Bell if parents were concerned about the amount of time their children played volleyball in in relation to the small number of team members. Mr. Bell said he kept in good contact with the parents and stressed, to the volleyball players, the importance of maintaining good academic standings as well.
Mr. Bell also told the board that in the event Gravelbourg wins its bid to host the 1984 Badlands Winter Games, it would be likely that the high school and College gymnasiums would be used for the basketball, volleyball, badminton, and gymnastics events.
In another sport recreation area, Mr. Marchand suggested that a slab of ice be set up on the school grounds for students to use during the noon hours. It was mentioned that a skating rink in past years had sometimes meant delayed drying of the track in the spring due to the water left from flooding the rink. The board felt students should be willing to maintenance the rink if it is put up. However, the matter was to be referred to the maintenance staff to input on the suggestion.
In other areas, the board and principals discussed the possibility of working with the Lioness Club to bring in films concerning the hazards of drugs to be shown to students from grades 1 through grade 12. Parents have been contacting the board with concerns of increased drug use among students.
The board passed a motion to pay a $20.00 fee for teacher Dennis Fournier who is joining the Saskatchewan Drama Association. The Association is a branch of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Association which intends to lobby the provincial government for more inclusion of drama in the school cirriculum.
It was brought to the board’s attention that a provincial government advisory committee has been struck to recommend changes in the school cirriculum. Henri Lepage, the board’s secretary-treasurer, indicated that he had received a phone call alerting him to the fact the committee may advise the government to legislate policy for the hiring of a superintendant for each division.
It was also noted that Mr. Lepage and other educators involved in the area’s Joint Services Program for students with special needs had met with Gordon Currie, Minister of Education. Mr. Lepage said Mr. Currie had not been aware of the program and had been “receptive” to their suggestions concerning the program.
Tanya works as a psychic counsellor (tea leaf reading, tarot, psychic channel, mediumship and gypsy card reader) and a housesitter. Find out more by going to her extensive web site at teareading.wordpress.com Also, he pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org Her cell phone number is 250-538-0086. Other of her blog posts can be accessed by going to writingsmall.wordpress.com and tealeaf56.wordpress.com She has authored four books: Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader (for purchase from the author and from amazon.com), Women Rights/Writes, Friends I Never Knew and Dreams and Tricksters.