Way back in the land before time, getting through phys ed was an often challenging and onerous chore for those of us claiming, without success, to have mysterious sweat allergies.

No. All were expected to chug around the infinite loop of dusty tracks, learn and play team sports that had zero value in later life (unless all your teammates moved onto your block and one had a regulation gym in their house). Then we’d have to go out in the hot sun, break rocks and sing gospel songs. At least that’s how I remember it..

Fortunately, times are much more enlightened now. Apparently acknowledging that a large part of physical conditioning is flexibility, the whole system of high school phys ed now has the flexibility of a limp noodle.

With the provincially-sanctioned ability to rack up phys ed credits outside of school, students can now multi-task their way to graduation without even breaking a sweat.

The provincial government has provided a handy list of activities students might do outside of school to qualify for phys ed credits. Each activity is rated on its safety risk and comes with a helpful guide to ensure one doesn’t expire while engaged in any of the activities.

 After all, who knows what dangers might lurk for those who want to fulfill their phys ed obligation by camping. Or, as the booklet calls it: Camping—Summer. This is the camping category “that involves spending one or more nights in a tent, primitive structure, a travel trailer or recreational vehicle with the purpose of getting away from civilization and enjoying nature.” So, no sitting in the RV in the driveway.

While it may sound like some sort of free pass, such is apparently not the case. The booklet gives this activity a safety risk factor of 2 on a scale of 1 to 4. Someone could, no doubt, roll off the bed as the RV rounds a corner.

Other activities have much greater risks involved. Up there in the 4 range are the obvious endeavours such as kickboxing and tackle rugby. Equally risky, according to the guide, are cheerleading, aerobics, yachting and geocaching. Perhaps that would be your full-contact geocaching.

Some parents might think that students shouldn’t be getting credit for successfully meeting such challenges as walking (yes, walking is one of the activities, explained as “the most popular form of exercise and contributes to cardio-respiratory fitness. It carries with it a risk factor of 1, as long as you look both ways before walking across the street).

Parents, however, might be mollified by the fact that among the activities are house and yardwork and lawn mowing (but no ride-em mowers allowed). Now, getting teens to do household chores can carry with it the promised reward of scholastic achievement. Next up, rolling out of bed before 11 am on a Saturday; risk factor 3.

 Indeed, why stop at phys ed? Why can’t students in other subjects be allowed to break free of overwhelming burden of having to learn under the watchful eye of someone actually trained to teach.

English Language Arts students could get credit for speaking in full sentences outside of school.

Science credits could be had for looking at the moon or demonstrating motion and mechanics by cutting grass with a ride-em mower. Geography: going from one place to another, extra credit if a hill is involved.

And for history, maybe credit could be granted for asking someone if it’s true there was a time when students couldn’t get phys ed credits for such things as skateboarding, tobogganing, sledding, bowling or tossing around a Frisbee.

But at least his COLA wasn’t an issue

Saskatoon police have been investigating why $220,000 in pension payments had been going into the bank account of a teacher who had been dead nearly seven years.

The payments were discovered after the man's son sent a letter to the Teachers' Superannuation Commission in March informing them his father had died in 2002.

Nobody had told the commission and the payments continued, directly deposited into an account set up in the 1990s.

Pressure of peers no match for teachers

Parents and teachers who fear their good work instilling academic discipline and motivation is ruined by a child's peer group can take heart: new research shows they have more influence on young people than they think.

A University of Sydney study has found that getting on well with parents and teachers has a strong positive influence on adolescents' academic outcomes - and a bigger influence than getting on with peers.

These findings provide new hope to parents and teachers who too often assume that they cannot compete with the power of the peer group.


See, there is gun control in the U.S.

In just one Louisiana school district at least 42 guns were found on public school campuses during the past five years, according to statistics from the parish’s school drug task force and school system.

No one was hurt in any of the incidents, and only one of the weapons was fired, said officials with the school system and the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, which handles inquiries for the drug task force.

June, 2009

Welcome to 1984, you dialogic teachers

Schools using the 'Orwellian language of performance management' are undermining teenagers' education by turning them into 'customers' rather than students, a landmark report says today. 

Teachers who are forced to use phrases such as 'performance indicator' and 'curriculum delivery' lack enthusiam for the job, the six-year investigation found.

Full story, Daily Mail Online

Teens want more sex ed, study finds

Teens are being sexually active but are not getting the information or services they need to be properly educated about sex, according to a report on sexual health released Tuesday. Planned Parenthood Toronto, York University, the University of Toronto, Wilfrid Laurier University and Toronto Public Health produced the survey. In one of the largest studies of its kind, 1,216 Toronto teens aged 13 to 18 of different racial backgrounds and sexual orientation were interviewed about their sexual experiences by other teens between December 2006 and August 2007. Interviewer David Anokye said teens want to hear about more than HIV/AIDS, pregnancy and birth control, which are covered in Ontario's sex ed curriculum. Full story cbc.ca

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