The essential goal in the Canadian school is to educate students so that they have learned to learn. That means that students become increasingly capable at using their developing academic and intellectual talents to analyze, synthesize and problem solve. Certainly facts are important, but the ability to use knowledge and skills to deal with new school and life challenges is essential. In effect, Canadian education teaches students to think and to apply their learning in effective ways to novel situations. It is this fundamental ability that makes our students so successful in post-secondary schools and in their adult life.
There are, of course, other features of Canadian education worth acknowledging. Learning often takes place co-operatively and in inquiry-based programming. That means that the teacher provides students with information and specific skills, and then challenges them to further develop their own learning through related and increasingly demanding activities. Simply memorizing factual information, in absence of context, does not facilitate higher order thinking.
The Ontario curriculum is recognized world wide by universities as an excellent foundation for students entering post secondary education.
Parent involvement in student learning is also very important. Parents are expected to talk to their sons and daughters on a daily basis about school. Where parents do not understand what the school is trying to accomplish or have a concern, they are always welcome to call or to visit the school. It is often said that Canadian schools, do not just accept students – they enroll families! Student learning is always most effective when the home-school partnership is strong.
Finally, Canadian education is about the whole child. Students are not simply empty vessels to be filled with facts and figures. They are unique individuals who are learning and developing every day as they move from childhood to adulthood. Canadian schools are concerned about each student’s physical, emotional and social development as well as their performance as learners. Teachers engage their students in a caring and supportive way – not as friends but as adults concerned about their total development.
We look forward to meeting you in the Near Future!
Shannon Tipping (Canadian Elementary Principal)
Janice Hughes (Canadian Middle-High School Principal)