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December 1999

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Corporate Gifts Support Field Trips

Corporate sponsors have stepped up to cover the costs of field trips to the Mountsberg Raptor Centre. School children visiting the Centre are guided by staff of the Canadian Peregrine Foundation, whose work appeared in the March issue of Professionally Speaking.

The foundation also offers seminars by staff biologists and falcon handlers in schools too far from the Mountsberg Raptor Centre for a day visit.

There are now 11 Toronto area schools waiting to take part in the program. The foundation has also lined up a number of sponsors, says foundation spokesman Bill Green, to cover the cost of foundation visits to classes in Caledon and Burlington area schools.

For more information, contact Bill Green at the Canadian Peregrine Foundation, 112 Merton St., Suite 300, Toronto ON M4S 2Z8. Tel. (416) 481-1233 or fax (416) 481-5872.

Interest in Teaching on Rise in U.S.

The number of U.S. students interested in teaching careers is on the rise, according to an annual survey by UCLA’s Co-operative Institutional Research Program. In 1998, 6.3 per cent of freshmen university students thought they would likely end up teaching in elementary schools, and 4.0 per cent thought they would be secondary school teachers.

The UCLA survey is based on the responses of more than 275,000 freshmen students entering 469 two and four-year colleges and universities in the United States to questions about their career interests. Students were asked to choose their probable field of study from a list of more than 40 possibilities.

The survey has been done every year since 1966. Interest in teaching hit an all-time low in the U.S. in 1983 when only five per cent of freshmen students intended to become teachers.

A copy of the survey is available in the College library.

Media Literacy: Prime-Time Teaching

"I am just a TV. You are the smart one.
You’ve got the remote control.
You have choices.
You can change the channel if you don’t like what you’re watching.
You can flick me on and off...
I sure wish I was as smart as you!"

This is from the script of a commercial from Concerned Children’s Advertisers and Shaw Communications, part of a comprehensive curriculum resource entitled TV&ME. The materials are being offered free of charge to educators and parents across Canada as part of an effort to help children understand what they watch in the media.

New curriculum initiatives across Canada are mandating media literacy as part of their language curriculum. TV&ME is an example of a tool designed in conjunction with specific provincial guidelines to address media literacy, critical viewing and healthy life coping skills.

"Television need not be a passive medium, designed to program the brains of young children, but rather, it can be a tool to learn about the world, to develop communication skills, to impact social and intellectual development in positive ways," says Ontario teacher Linda Millar of Concerned Children’s Advertisers.

For more information about TV& ME, contact Concerned Children’s Advertisers, (416) 484-0871, Ministry of Education.

Scottish Teachers May Be Barred for Incompetence

An independent review of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) has recommended that teachers fired for incompetence should be barred from teaching. At present, only teachers found guilty of misconduct can have their licence removed by the GTCS.

The recommendation came as part of a review of the General Teaching Council ordered by the Scottish education minister. It effectively gives the council the same supervisory powers over qualified teachers that it currently has over those still in teachers’ colleges or in their two-year probationary period.

The recommendation is expected to be made part of the proposed Improvements in Scottish Education bill currently part of a public consultation and scheduled to be presented to Scottish parliament later this year.

New Study Guides Online

Students have a handy new source of study guides, and they’re online and free. The SparkNotes cover a range of literary works commonly studied at the high school and university level. SparkNotes’ claim to fame is that they are written exclusively by Harvard University students and graduates. The sponsors of the new study guides, TheSpark.com Inc., expect them to challenge more popular U.S. guides such as Cliff Notes, which have to be purchased.

The online guides are fully interactive. Readers can click on links to the context in which the work was created, character descriptions, chapter-by-chapter plot reviews and potential exam questions.

For more information, visit the SparkNotes web site at www.sparknotes.com

History Award to Be Made Permanent

The Canadian War Museum in Ottawa has announced that the $6,000 in bursaries it offered last year for the best history essays will become an annual event. The award, named for World War II veteran Barnett Danson, is open to all graduating high school and CEGEP students who are entering university studies.

Applicants must write a 1,500-word essay on a designated Canadian history topic. First prize is $3,000, second prize $2,000 and third prize is $1,000.

"With rising university tuition costs and the lack of substantial cash awards, we felt the time was right for a bursary aimed at assisting Canada’s future historians," says Alain Gauthier of the museum’s Education and Outreach Department.

The bursaries were first offered last year for the best essays on Canada’s participation during the South African War of 1899-1902. There were 85 submissions from across the country. The three winners, however, were all from Ontario.

This year the topic will be "Wolfe or Montcalm: Who Was the Better General?" Entries must be accompanied by a reference letter from a history teacher at the applicant’s school and a transcript of the applicant’s academic record. The deadline is March 31, 2000 and the winner is announced at the end of June. Winning entries will be posted on the museum’s web site.

For more information about the museum and its educational programs, about the winners of the 1998 bursaries and about this year’s contest, see the museum web site www.warmuseum.ca  or call (819) 776-8606 or toll-free 1-800-555-5621.

 Soccer Module Is Free

Soccer registrations continue to increase at a dramatic rate, and Ontario accounts for almost half of the more than 600,000 annual registrations with the Canadian Soccer Association.

The low cost of participation is one reason for the sport’s popularity. Acceptance by girls – almost one-third of Canadian players are female – is also a factor. That’s just about the highest female-to-male ratio in the world.

The Toronto Lynx, Ontario’s professional soccer team in the North American A-League, has re-launched its school program that includes a revised teaching module in English and French. The module teaches the history of soccer, its growth over the years, the rules and a brand new section that deals with how to play the game.

Educators can also request soccer clinics and presentations conducted by the Lynx professional players, all at no charge. Late next spring, schools will have the opportunity to see a pro game with Canada’s top players.

For more information, or to order your soccer teaching module, call the Lynx at (416) 251-4625.

Summer Institutes

The 1999 Summer Institutes were organized by the Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF), with financial support from the Ministry of Education, to help teachers cope with implementing the new curriculum were a resounding success.

The sessions, offered for the first time this summer, were 20 hours in length and covered a wide variety of curriculum-related topics for elementary and secondary teachers. Participation was voluntary and at no cost to teachers.

About 4,400 teachers took part throughout July and August. Another 2,200 teachers had to be turned away. The OTF is hoping to continue the institutes on an annual basis.

PS Calendar
To list your conference or event here, please e-mail the College library with the information at library@oct.ca; fax (416) 961-8822; or phone (416) 961-8800 ext. 679.

For more complete PS Calendar listings, visit the College web site at http://www.oct.ca/english/library/events.htm .