Today's Lesson

In our experience we have met 2 types of parents; parents looking for the best school (‘best’ based on a set of criteria predetermined well before they speak to us). And - the other type of parent.  Parents who are determined to find the best school for their child.


If you are the first type of parent, best of luck to you on your search. We are confident you will find an amazing school (as many do exist) and your child may (or may not) bask in their glow of excellence. Unfortunately, excellence does not breed through osmosis. We believe that one rather, should approach selecting their child’s school with a grain of realism. 


Which brings me to the most important question you can ask yourself to launch your search: “What is the best school for my child?”


At Wolff Educational Services we conduct needs assessments that breaks this criteria into 3 selection houses. They are the Social, Emotional and Academic Houses of your child’s success and achievement at school. We have broken these houses into realistic criteria based on actual achievement data (the learning skills) and are written in academic language (reflective of curriculum expectations). Once the assessment is completed, it is simply a matter of matching the results (your child's area of strength and need) with the schools that offer programming in these areas. The equation breeds student success and achievement. Its flawless in its design.


Parents, education today is comprised of these 3 houses working together in unity and harmony. Students must demonstrate learning in all 3 of these areas in order to be successful. The way the curriculum is taught and learned is not inherent of 20th century practices anymore. 21st century classrooms are much more layered in there design and learning platforms are reflective of differentiated instruction, individualized for your child to demonstrate learning and skills. 


Before you begin your school search, know what it is your are looking for. Know what your child's strengths and areas of need are in each area (house) of the learning platforms and how they relate to both the classroom and school. Understand what the classroom does and can do, map the landscape as you would any foreign environment. 


And if you feel like you need an education in all things education before you try and map out a route for your child - call us! We can help - however, we will only find the best school for your child….not necessarily what you think is the best school.


Until Our Next Lesson……


Today's Lesson - Critical Literacy: Do you Believe Everything You Read?

There is a new buzzword in education: Critical Literacy.  Isn’t it ironic that my colleagues and I questioned the validity, impact and importance of this new policy we were expected to inject into our practice…

Teachers do this innately – we question. We analyze and we interpret. We essentially practice Critical Literacy in all facets of our life - so why shouldn’t we be teaching this to our students?

This importance and severity of this issue did not become apparent to me until I began writing a blog.  I quickly learned that anyone with WIFI became an “expert” on what they were writing about.  I breathed a sigh of relief in knowing that future generations will not be as gullible. They will know that Critical Literacy matters and it will become their most valuable weapon when wading through the waters of social media.  Growing up without critical literacy in the information age is much like growing up without a skill during the industrial revolution.

“Students today experience a constant stream of ideas and information – online, in print and through electronic games and mass media.  They need skills to determine where to direct their attention and how to interpret messages and use them appropriately.” (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2004).

Critical Literacy is about the reader as a consumer. It is about being inundated with information, ideas and opinions and not just accepting it at, “face value.” The critical reader is always thinking about how the text relates to broader issues like: fairness, equity and social justice. Although some texts state multiple opinions and perspectives, it is the critical reader who must determine this and decide if there is bias and whose voices are present or absent.

 Critical literacy looks beyond the literal meaning of text. We must constantly check in with our children to see if they are thinking about what they’ve read in a critical way.  With so much information bombarding us 24/7, we need to set a high standard for what and more importantly, how, our children read.  As parents, we need to teach them not to believe everything they read or see.  

As we monitor their reading, here are some questions to help develop Critical Literacy skills:

What is the purpose of their reading? (Information? Enjoyment? To form an opinion?)
Why was this written? To inform? To make money? To influence our opinion?
Who is the author?
Whose perspective is it?
Is the text fair? Is there bias? What has been left out? Who (person or group?) has been left out?
Do you need to check information with another source?
Can you believe what you’re reading? How do you know?
Who is the target audience?
Did the author intentionally omit information? Why?

Practice “Critical Literacy” with your kids…you might also improve your literacy skills. 

Until our next lesson…