Date: Sun, 7 Jul 2002.
Subject: "No more teachers, no more books"
Hi Shane (Mr. Schick),
I'd just like to comment on your June 25th article article "No more teachers,
no more books".
About technology in elementary schools, I was shocked doing my B.Ed.
program in French at the University of Ottawa and working as a Grade 2
and 5 practice teacher for the 1996-1997 school year that the software
being used in the elementary French schools of Ontario was over a
It became clear to me that the whole issue of technology in the classroom was
just NOT A PRIORITY. Students would go to the computer room and "pass time"
at this, that, and the other with the teacher absent, though I was there. What did
they learn during those periods? Zip.
I was especially shocked and horrified as I was the prime mover of H.U.G.O.
(Helpful User Group of Ottawa), an Ottawa PC club, and I was already a great
believer in the BENEFITS OF TECHNOLOGY and the Net in particular. Sadly, I
only had "one" university prof mention in an offhanded manner that he used
e-mail. None of my University profs even bothered to demonstrate that they
were connnected let alone familar with the Net. They seem to have their
heads in the proverbial fish bowl. [Knock? Knock? Anybody home? (Ha! Ha!)]
I was shocked and horrified to learn that the priorty of the elementary education
system was SECURITY (making sure the students are safe) and "especially"
DISCIPLINE (The students had to be kept in their place.), NOT learning, nor
the "quality" of the learning experience from the student/parent perspective.
Such an unbalanced emphasis makes the classroom little more than a
concentration camp which, in my view, is very HARMFUL and DETRIMENTAL
to the creative learning experience as the teacher tends to reign like a
Japanese Shogan, a "control freak" , arbitrarily overriding students requests
at will just to let them know who is boss. This type of behavior, I saw, was
actively promoted by other teacher-tyrants. Let's face it: teachers ARE
When it comes to technology, I suspect that teachers have an unconscious
disdain for it and the Net as it would mean GREATER FREEDOM for the students
and result in the undermining of their naïve sense of classroom OMNIPOTENCE.
I'm all for GREATER USE OF TECHNOLOGY in the classroom as it will no doubt
mean GREATER FREEDOM for the students to learn MORE, BETTER, FASTER.
Three cheers for MORE TECHNOLOGY in the classroom: HIP, HIP, HURRAH!
Needless to say I have a strong disdain for elementary school teachers whom
I see today as "abusive" individuals that are somewhat of a danger to some
students in the classroom who find themselves on their bad side.
Now, I can understand that for some students, grade school can really be a
hell of sorts for them especially if the parents of these students do NOT visit
the teacher on a regular basis to make sure that their child is NOT overly
being "dumped on" by the teacher.
I feel the more that OUTSIDERS visit a classroom and the more a classroom
has OUTSIDE CONTACT, the healthier the classroom environment will be.
Otherwise, the CLOSED ENVIRONMENT of the classroom can lead to a
dislike of school and school work by kids who unavoidably become
rambunctious and difficult to handle.
Incidentally, my Grade 2 teacher had FIVE students put on ritalin and she
admitted to me that she did NOT like noise.
She arbitrarily put an end to my practicum saying I could never be a teacher
in her opinion. My Grade 5 student teacher did the same thing.
And in both cases, I had the parents visiting me and the students loving me.
Plus, I had FIVE UNIVERSITY DEGREES going into the B.Ed. program and I'm
a father of three children myself.
Because of that, the University refused me my degree. So I took it to small
claims court to get my money back, only to be told that the matter should
go to a higher court. I ask Judge Houle to refund my money and he refused.
So how do I feel about the System? Simply put, it is CROOKED. <grin>
Why? Because it is a CLOSED SYSTEM.
I strongly believe technology and the Net can open it up, democratize it,
and make it accountable to the overburden taxpayer.
Once that is achieved, taxes should start to come down.
Trn 2 K+ Web-kits 4 NetPOWer.
President/Party Leader of the Égaltié Party of Canada
P.S.: By the sound of things, you had an "outstanding" Grade 4 teacher.
Given the high salaries of our elementary school teachers, they should
all be of THAT CALIBRE. Sadly, given my experience, I learned that
elementary school teachers tend to be "backward" and "brutal" and
if you think that you are NOT going to be like them, there is NO room
for you in the System. (Somebody should have told me that I had to
MIMIC LIKE A MONKEY the teacher I was with when practice teaching
OR ELSE. The System is brutal, nay, barbaric.)