3 obstacles to change in education

The president of the Canadian Education Association notes 3 factors that stand in the way of change in education: aging, structure and mentality.

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The president of the Canadian Education Association, Mr. Ron Canuel, identifies 3 factors that would stand in the way of change in education: aging, structure and mentality.

Ron Canuel is Chairman and CEO ofCanadian Education Association (ACE). In his lecture at the last IPad and digital education summit, he partially described his pan-Canadian vision: “ ICT in education: the shift that lasts more than 35 years! ". He also demonstrated his point by showing in full, unbeknownst to people in the audience, the slides of a lecture presented 35 years ago. Change in education exists, he believes, but it is happening at a very, very slow pace!

He also demonstrated his point by showing in full, unbeknownst to people in the audience, the slides of a lecture presented 35 years ago.

So what is standing in the way of change?

First, Ron Canuel associates some of the causes of this phenomenon with the aging of the Canadian population. The generation baby boomers is gradually reaching retirement age and will soon form the majority of the country's population. Even though many of them are devoted "grandpas" and "grandmas", education is not their main interest. They are aging and want their health to be taken care of. They are retired. Also, they want beautiful roads to travel comfortably with their recreational vehicles during their last years of working life. And they are the ones who vote in the elections, recalls Mr. Canuel.

He identifies two other causes that stand in the way of changes in education: the structure of our systems and the mentality of staff.


The structure of our education systems

The public school system is still strongly marked by the Taylorism. Friedrich Winslow Taylor, an American engineer, made at the end of the 19e century the promotion of the scientific organization of work within companies with the aim of increasing profitability.

Some intellectuals have adopted this approach to managing populations. It was also introduced in schools where it was necessary, on the one hand, to integrate the flow of immigrant children into the culture of their new country, and on the other hand to prepare them for their role as workers in the many factories that made the wealth of the United States.

Putting children on production lines, this is how the school system that still prevails today was born: pupils in rows of onions, bells to mark the start of work and moments of break, pupils under the domination of a "master", a sort of "supervisor" whose evaluation allows the advancement of the worker, and so on. However, several studies and observations show thatclassroom layout makes a huge difference in student learning.


The staff mentality

Across Canada, many teachers regard the Internet as plumbing, explains Ron Canuel. Indeed, a majority uses IT in their personal life, but have difficulty in designing its educational application. In addition, the university training of future teachers still leaves little room for the pedagogical use of digital technologies. While at 87, Michelangelo said Ancora imparere - "I'm still learning", too many teachers consider their training to be over when they leave university.


Ron Canuel's conclusion: two qualities are essential for a successful migration to the use of information technologies in our classes: wisdom and courage.



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About the Author

Ninon Louise Lepage
Ninon Louise LePage is a pedagogue and museologist who recently came out of premature retirement to be reborn as an educational designation. She has taught at the Université du Québec à Montréal and the Université de Sherbrooke in science education, in addition to working at the Canadian Heritage Information Network as a museology consultant. She also writes for our French friends at Ludomag. She also invites all interested to contact her so that she can talk about you, your students, your school and your particular experiences in digital and computer education.

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