Tag Archives: cbc

Be That One Person

You can change a life trajectory.

It is a powerful message, and it’s one I have heard often throughout the last month.

Richard Wagamese, storyteller and Canada Reads Peoples’ Choice author, spoke to educators in Thunder Bay about the one person who rescued him from a desperate life path.  It’s a remarkable story that began with a simple kindness to a homeless native teenager in southern Ontario.

It ended with Richard reminding us that we have the power to be the one person who makes a difference in the life of another.  As educators, we have no idea where our influence and impact will end.

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Richard Wagamese, speaking to educators at the NAN Education Conference in Thunder Bay, March 30/31, 2016


Recently, I have been studying the impact of childhood trauma on long term life outcomes, including school success.  The CBC Ideas 3-part Podcast, All In the Family, examines the ACE Study – Adverse Childhood Events.

trama podcast
CBC Ideas Podcast: All in the Family Part 2: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/all-in-the-family-part-2-1.3532422

With traumatized kids, “executive function” becomes derailed.  In other words, their control over their behaviour is damaged.

A “code of conduct” is about punishment for behaviour without addressing the root cause.

How does a Code of Conduct negatively impact our most vulnerable kids, and amplify their inability to cope?

“Traumatized kids have a “fragmented” executive function”.

“The single greatest predictor of academic success that exists is the emotional stability of the home, it’s not the classroom.  And if you really wanted to do education reform, you would start with the home, darn it, you wouldn’t start with the classroom, because it is the greatest predictor.”

(John Medina, CBC Ideas Podcast, All in the Family, Part 2: 34: 01)

At #uLead15, Pasi Sahlberg talked about the “invisible factors” that impact school success.

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Pasi Sahlberg, uLead 15 slides: http://pasisahlberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/uLead-Talk-2015.pdf
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Pasi Sahlberg, uLead 15 slides: http://pasisahlberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/uLead-Talk-2015.pdf


At #uLead16, he spoke about the importance of small data – understanding individual children and the causes of what we observe.

And about equity – the idea that genetics and geography should not impact your life chances because the school system is an equalizer, not a separator/filter.

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The Globe and Mail, April 23, 2016 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/how-finland-is-fighting-inequality-with-education-andwinning/article29716845/


We cannot continue to believe that test scores matter, that sorting children is what schools are for, that code of conduct thinking is best for kids.  These stances perpetuate inequity.

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Pasi Sahlberg, uLead 16 slides: http://pasisahlberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/uLead-Talk-2016.pdf


And here is the thing:

“Resilience studies show that if just one person is looking out for a vulnerable child, that can mitigate trauma.”

(CBC Ideas Podcast, All in the Family, Part 3: 35:35)

One person, can change a trajectory.

Teaching is the most important job in the world because every single day we are handed the opportunity to change the trajectory of a child’s life.

Just by caring.


Pasi Sahlberg – presentation slides uLead16

Pasi Sahlberg – presentation slides uLead15

A substantial resource list is available on the CBC Podcast site here: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/all-in-the-family-part-2-1.3532422

Digital Literacy: What Are We Avoiding?

The original blog post begins below the solid line. I have added a number of updates here at the top of the page. You will need to read the original post first to understand the significance of the updates.

Thank you for taking the time to engage in this post.


Update November 2015: Here is the link to the July 14 CBC Ontario Today podcast: Is Porn Messing with the Teenaged Brian?

MediaSmarts Resource: Talking to your kids about pornography

Update December 2015: Here is the latest video from the #DearDaddy campaign.  Please protect our girls!



This is a blog post I have been trying to write for over a month.

It is a sensitive subject, but it is a subject we need to talk about.  By avoiding finishing and publishing this post, I am modelling the very behaviour that I want to draw attention to: avoiding this topic.

Over the last few years as a school leader, I have been appalled at some of the examples of how young men treat the young women at school.  It puzzled me, because I really thought that equality for women had really become the norm.  But more and more, incidents involving the public disrespecting of young women came to my attention.

It wasn’t until I listened to this podcast that I began to have a better understanding of what I might be witnessing:

keyboard in the dark faungg’s photo via Compfight

Generation Porn (caution: explicit material)

“Thirty years ago, a peek at a Playboy centrefold was a rite of passage for teenage boys. Today kids as young as ten can view pornography on smart phones. Hassan Ghedi Santur explores the long-term consequences of this burgeoning exposure to pornography.”


Porn is more accessible than it has ever been before.

Porn is no longer just the images from Penthouse and Playboy.  It is violent, degrading, and geared (by the industry) to “tap into the core, basic engines of male sexual arousal”.

cell phone in dark

cc radiant guy via Compfight cc

What do we know?

1) We know that young boys are accessing it.  Anyone with a cell phone can watch porn.

2) There is some research to suggest that porn is dopamine producing and therefore addictive.  Thousands of young men claim to be suffering from or recovering from “porn addiction“, which can lead to depression, anxiety, and sexual disfunction.

3) According to sociologist Gail Dines:  “If you are 11 or 12, you have no repertoire of sexual behaviour to draw on.  So when you go into You Porn or Porn Hub and you see this violent dehumanizing debasing pornography, you can’t say, “You know what, I’ve been with women and they don’t like this, and this isn’t what I want to do.”  You’ve got nothing to draw upon.  This becomes the only thing you have ever seen to define who you are sexually.  That, is great business practice because the earlier you shape the sexual template of a boy, the longer you’ve got him for life”

We do good work in Ontario schools, teaching students to be critical thinkers and to look at how our thinking is influenced by media.

Are we doing a good job of teaching our young people about the real concerns around accessing violent, degrading pornography on a regular basis?