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Deputy Head of School Blog

A Fresh Perspective on Education

Truth, A Hint of Hubris and the IB Evaluation

The ancient Roman historian, Tacitus, said that, "Truth is confirmed by inspection and delay; falsehood by haste and uncertainty." The accuracy of this statement was confirmed to the fullest extent in purpose and spirit during Mulgrave's IB evaluation visit that took place in the early days of October this school year. The truth is: Mulgrave is an outstanding school.


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Pluralism, Canada and Mulgrave

Canada, as a country, turns 149 years old tomorrow, inching ever closer to its auspicious sesquicentennial anniversary in 2017. I have lived in Canada all of my life and yet I am only now beginning to understand its complexity and the subtlety of its formation. It isn't perfect and those who are wont to throw stones at glass houses will find fault easily enough. It remains nevertheless a shining light in a world increasingly darkened with intolerance, distrust and xenophobia.

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The Continuum Teacher - How Teaching IB Engenders a Different Mindset

In his most recent blog post, Mr. MacIntyre illustrates how teaching in an IB continuum school, such as Mulgrave, is different than teaching in other types of schools - how it engenders a different mindset. He cites that through interdependence among colleagues, programmes and grades, Mulgrave teachers lift the learning of students and effectively abate the prevailing 'secondary achievement dip' that plagues many education systems around the world.

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The little boy stood on the downslope of the wetted sands staring out at the vast, oblique ocean. He waited for the next wave to crash the shore, planning his escape from its watery grasp at the last possible moment in a game of cat-and-mouse.

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Yale or Jail - Rethinking the University Admissions Game

On Tuesday of next week, Mulgrave is offering an Open Door session, 'You May be Wrong About University Admission – An Important Talk'. The focus will be on the latest thinking re-evaluating traditional views on what are the 'best' universities. The session will also highlight the concept of 'best-fit', the alignment of a student's interests, passions, and learning style and their university programme of choice. Malcom Gladwell details the long-term personal and economic benefits of 'best-fit' university choice in his latest book, David and Goliath, offering compelling counter examples to the idea that enrolling in an elite university is always the most productive pathway.

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The Fraser Institute released its annual BC Elementary Schools Report Card this week. Mulgrave was ranked number one for the third successive year. Although we are rated as the best in BC, we continue to find the process of ranking schools to be troubling, especially given the Fraser Institute's conceptually flawed and ill-conceived methodology.

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"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." - T. S. Eliot

I have always been fond of T.S. Eliot's quote. It speaks of finding something meaningful in our work, of finding something purposeful. It reminds me that our pursuits are often a journey, and in those journeys we find what we value, and we come to value what we find.

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In my previous post, I detailed the findings from the latest Pan-Canadian Assessment Program (PCAP) tests written by a broad cross-section of Grade 8 students. The results generally continue an upward trend in girls' achievement and illustrate the growing achievement gap between girls and boys in reading and writing.

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On November 28, 2011, the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) released the 2010 results of the Pan-Canadian Assessment Program (PCAP). The PCAP is administered to 13- and 16-year olds and is designed to assess students' "abilities to use their learning skills to solve real-life situations" (www.cmec.ca). The assessments in science, math and reading incorporate cultural, linguistic and geographic differences that exist within Canada and test the commonly agreed-upon curriculum for all jurisdictions. The most recent round of PCAP tests was administered to 32,000 Grade 8 students from 1,600 schools across the country.

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