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Education must begin to play a robust role as public policy

The UNESCO World report, available online at www.unesco.org, states: The founding principles of UNESCO enshrined in its Constitution (1945) are based on the conviction that education is fundamental to addressing the ignorance and the mistrust that are the source of human conflict. Since prejudice is based, among other things, on what we do not know or false preconceptions, facilitating cultural openness through the development of intercultural competencies in schools and out of school is key to fostering intercultural dialogue and winning the fight against a ‘clash of ignorances’.  It is quite amazing to learn that these founding principles go back to 1945 and yet the world...

Posted: Feb 3, 2018

At the end of the day, business clichés are lazy language

Those pointless little phrases you use at work might be sending exactly the wrong message (for instance, that you’re too lazy to come up with something better).Here, I explain why it’s time to ditch those business clichés.Look up “business buzzwords” or “business clichés” and you’ll find article after article about these irritating, overused phrases.In fact, new ones come out each year documenting the latest crop that’s flourishing in workplaces across the world.In a world drowning in buzzwords, tweets, and hashtags, spouting mindless clichés in the workplace may seem harmless.But using too many professional platitudes could be more problematic than you thought.Not only...

Posted: Nov 1, 2017

Free online textbooks for Ontario students

Ontario is investing in free online textbooks and educational resources for students to make college and university more affordable and accessible.Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Digital Government, made the announcement at eCampus Ontario, alongside partners in digital education.Ontario is partnering with eCampusOntario to develop and provide free and low-cost digital textbooks to students. The Ontario Open Textbooks Initiative will focus on Ontario-specific content in areas where the most significant impact and cost savings for students can be realized, including high-enrolment first-year courses, French language...

Posted: Jul 1, 2017

Mother tongue helps adult learners of English

In a study with post-secondary students, I conducted paper surveys with 90 English as a Second Language (ESL) students and interviewed 19 English for Academic Purposes (EAP) students. My in-depth interviews were with ten Chinese students whose mother tongues are Cantonese or Mandarin, one Spanish, one Japanese, three Bengali (Bangla), one Korean, one Arabic, one Urdu and one Punjabi-speaking student. Among them there was one pediatrician, one nurse, one engineer and one university professor, all trained practitioners in their own countries but not working in their fields here in Canada at the time.Two teachers created a space for mother tongues in their classrooms by allowing students...

Posted: Jul 1, 2017

Our mother tongue is an equity pillar

My life’s work as a teacher, principal, school superintendent and then as vice-president of a college has been in the area of equity and speaking out for the rights of marginalized and minority students.I inherited this work by default of birth, having been born on the “wrong side of the colour bar” in apartheid South Africa and having lost family members in the fight against apartheid.The life-and-death struggles with legalized racism in the first 21 years of my life solidified my quest for equity. In the 40-plus years since leaving South Africa and living, working and studying in Canada, I have found that while Canada is indeed one of the most tolerant countries in the world,...

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