Ghiz argues in favour of more support to help teachers improve in classroom
The issue of professional development days for teachers seemed like an unusual topic for Premier Robert Ghiz in remarks Monday before a joint meeting of P.E.I. Rotary clubs, where business leaders and politicians filled the seats. Even more surprising was his strong argument that Island teachers need more PD days to improve their ability to teach students.
Well, it was the state of the province address and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results released early last month, which showed P.E.I. in last place in Canada on test results for math, reading and science, have generated a lot of comment, criticism and proposed solutions.
It is a very polarizing issue. Many people think teachers have enough PD days now, perhaps too many.
Parents concerned about poor test results, which they believe put their children behind the rest of the country, think students should be spending more time in the classroom, not less. Fewer teaching days mean their children will fall farther behind.
Then there is the other side of the argument which believes teachers need more PD days to become better instructors. How many times have we heard the comment, since the PISA test scores were released, that teachers need more resources to help their students. Well, isn’t a PD day a key resource?
Premier Ghiz remarked that he first thought there are enough PD days. Then, upon doing research he discovered that a province like Quebec, which has many more PD days than P.E.I. and only 180 teaching days (compared to P.E.I.’s 181), led all of Canada in PISA tests and was among the top level in G-7 countries.
It should also be noted that Alberta, which scored high in PISA, has more than 195 teaching days and obviously fewer PD days. Strong arguments can be made for both options.
It’s been suggested that perhaps PD days should be held on Saturdays or in the summer which won’t interrupt classroom time. That would mean rewriting contracts and paying teachers more money for going to work in their time off.
Premier Ghiz said the province is following a number of recommendations from a study conducted in 2006 after previous PISA results yielded similarly poor scores. Those include adding three more PD days, adopting common assessments and implementing early interventions.
It is crucial for teachers and school administrators to receive the training and get the resources they need to help students achieve better outcomes.
Athletes mourn Rogers’ death
Funeral services will be held today for P.E.I.’s godmother of physiotherapy. Janet Rogers was a pioneer in the medical field, especially in sports physio. Many athletes are indebted for her tireless work and attention for well over 30 years, dealing with sprains, pulls and fractures and other sports-related injuries.
There were not many games she missed with the Charlottetown Abbies, or UPEI hockey, basketball and soccer teams, home and away, for more than a generation.
She required physiotherapy treatment herself while still a teenager and after earning degrees in her field, began working with young polio patients as staff physiotherapist at the Charlottetown Rehab Centre from 1959 to1966 and then director of physiotherapy services from 1966 to 1981.
Her nephew talked her into helping him with a sports injury in the early 1980s and the rest is history as she turned her passion for sports and a burning desire to help the injured into a rewarding legacy. She was a regular at many winter and summer
Canada Games teams as part of the Island contingent.
The longtime board member of Sport P.E.I. understood injuries and understood athletes and helped many of them stay in sports. She will be missed.