Archive for ‘Podcasts’

January 23, 2018

Quebec’s new history text fails in portrayal of Muslims

This textbook, Reflections, does not seem likely to build understanding and empathy, but rather, reinforce intolerant and divisive views.

By Robert Green, Published Jan 19, 2018 by the Montreal Gazette

CBC Homerun interview:

In responding to the heinous shooting in a Quebec City mosque last January, Premier Philippe Couillard made a series of comments that seemed to be coming from the heart. “Spoken words matter. Written words matter,” he said, “they can of course express an idea, but they can hurt. They can hurt very much. We should all be cognizant of that.”

This is particularly true with respect to the words we use with our young people. Such words can reproduce existing attitudes that harm, divide and exclude, or they can give young people the tools to build understanding and empathy. As a teacher, I am acutely aware of the heavy responsibility I have regarding the words I use with my students.

This is particularly true with respect to the words we use with our young people. Such words can reproduce existing attitudes that harm, divide and exclude, or they can give young people the tools to build understanding and empathy. As a teacher, I am acutely aware of the heavy responsibility I have regarding the words I use with my students.

While there are numerous problems with the textbook, it seems fitting, with the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 29 mosque shooting approaching, to focus here on the way Muslims are depicted.

As historian and literary theorist Edward Said identified long ago in his classic book Orientalism, Islamophobic stereotypes tend to be centred around associations with terrorism and misogyny. Sadly, rather than helping students to deconstruct these stereotypes that have been so harmful to Quebec citizens of Muslim faith, the textbook reinforces them.

On Page 301, we find a section titled The Threat of Terrorism that sends the message that terrorism is exclusively associated with Muslims. The only examples given are an Islamist terrorist organization and a Muslim country. Meanwhile, Marc Lépine’s massacre of 14 women at École Polytechnique is not mentioned in this section. Where it is mentioned on Page 323, the act is described as “premeditated” and “politically motivated,” however the word “terrorism” appears nowhere. And not only are the FLQ not described as terrorists, the words with which they are described are euphemistic. On Page 258 we learn of Pierre Laporte being “found dead.” The perpetrators of this crime are then described not as murderers or terrorists, but as “abductors.”

On Pages 321 and 322, we find an extremely one-sided presentation of the so-called debate on “religious neutrality.” We learn that some believe that certain religious accommodations are “contrary to the values of Quebec society,” but nowhere do we learn about those who believe that inclusion and respect for religious freedom and human rights are Quebec values, enshrined in Quebec’s own human rights charter.

No mention is made of the extent to which these debates played on ignorant stereotypes about Muslim women, nor of the dramatic rise in xenophobic hate crimes targeting Muslims, and particularly Muslim women, provoked by this public debate. Once again, an opportunity to deconstruct ignorant stereotypes and promote an inclusive vision of society is missed, and instead harmful stereotypes about a vulnerable minority are reinforced.

Problematic depictions of the Muslim community are only the tip of the iceberg. Quebec’s new history program depicts black Quebecers, members of Quebec’s various immigrant communities, anglophones and Indigenous people in problematic ways.

There is an urgent need for the government to immediately go back to the drawing board to produce a history curriculum that is reflective of the sorts of values articulated by our premier and other political leaders in the days following the Quebec City massacre. If, as the premier said, “words can hurt, words can be knives slashing at people’s consciousness,” then we must be particularly vigilant about the words we are exposing our young people to.

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June 10, 2017

Podcast: CBC Homerun asks if students should be paid $1000 to graduate

Millionaire businessman Mitch Garber has proposed to lower dropout rates in Quebec by paying graduates $1000. CBC Homerun host Sue Smith discusses this proposal with Westmount High teacher Robert Green.

While education professionals are ignored there is no shortage of hair-brained reforms being proposed by millionaires and celebrities.

May 6, 2017

CBC Daybreak on the call for a new inclusive History curriculum in Quebec

Members of ComECH-Quebec at May 2nd press conference.

Kativik School Board’s Robert Watt and ComECH-Quebec Chairperson Robert Green discuss the problem’s with Quebec’s recent History curriculum reform and the online petition calling for a new inclusive curriculum with CBC Daybreak’s Mike Finnerty:

 

Liberal MNA David Birnbaum attempts to defend the curriculum reform:

News release from Kativik School Board: The new History of Quebec and Canada curriculum is unacceptable

News release from ComECH-Quebec: Reforming the Reform: A Call for a New Inclusive History Curriculum

March 15, 2017

Podcast: Fundamental Problems Remain Following Latest Tweak to Quebec’s History Curriculum

Teacher Robert Green discusses the fundamental problems that remain with the Couillard Government’s latest tweak to the Secondary 3 and 4 history curriculum with CBC Radio Noon:

…and with CBC Home Run:

January 21, 2017

Podcast: Financial Literacy at the Expense of Political Literacy?

CJAD’s Leslie Roberts speaks with teacher Robert Green about the Quebec government’s proposal to introduce a financial literacy course at the expense of the Contemporary World course. Click here to download the podcast.

June 18, 2016

Quebec’s History Program Chaos

By Robert Green

This was an eventful week for Quebec’s History program. Thursday the Gazette published two excellent articles by Marian Scott about the reactions to the Education Minister’s flip-flop on his previous commitment to put the controversial new History curriculum on hold, and the decision of the English School Boards to implement this curriculum:

English school boards criticized for adopting Quebec history curriculum

Quebec lags in diversity education, comparison of history programs shows

I spoke with CJAD’s Tommy Shnurmacher about the History reform:

Later Thursday the CBC broke the story of the leaked essay question on the provincial History exam and the Ministry’s decision to not count the question:

Quebec students launch petition after history exam leak

I spoke with CBC Homerun’s Sue Smith about the history exam leak:

Friday the Gazette’s editorial board weighed in on the decision of the English School Boards to go ahead with the implementation of new History curriculum:

English school boards are failing history

June 4, 2016

CBC on Quebec’s Controversial New History Reform

An interview and an article from June 3rd:

https://images.thetrumpet.com/53875b37!h.300,id.10734,m.fill,w.540The Interview:
Robert Green speaks with CBC’s Sue Smith about the Couillard government backtracking on its commitment to postpone the implementation of its controversial reform of the province’s History curriculum. Stream the interview below or click here to download the mp3.

The Article:

Read Ben Shiller’s excellent article: English school boards to use controversial history course next year.

May 21, 2016

CJAD Teachers Panel Discusses Recent Liberal Proposals for Education

Teachers Katharine Hogan and Robert Green discuss the many changes to Quebec’s education system that have been proposed in the last week with CJAD’s James Mennie. From the May 17, 2016 Tommy Shnurmacher Show. Stream the interview below or click here to download the mp3.

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January 28, 2016

Why are university students lacking basic literacy skills? CJAD’s Teachers Panel discusses declining academic standards in Quebec’s public schools

Teachers Robert Green and Catharine Hogan discuss the declining academic standards in Quebec’s schools with CJAD’s Tommy Schnurmacher

January 7, 2016

Discussing the details of the Common Front salary deal for Quebec’s public sector workers

Robert Green discusses the details of the Common Front salary deal with CKUT’s Dan Parker and Stefan Christoff:

Click here to download

November 22, 2015

CKUT’s ‘In the Motherhood’ explores what the Couillard Government’s attacks on public education mean for students, teachers and parents

In the Motherhood host Trixie Dumont discusses the Couillard government’s attacks on public education with teachers Fernand Deschamps, Robert Green and Chantal Kers and parent Stacey Dumont.

November 3, 2015

Robert Green speaks with CBC’s Sue Smith about recent developments in negotiations with Quebec’s teachers

(the last 30 seconds of the interview unfortunately get cut off)

October 8, 2015

Robert Green discusses a range of issues facing Quebec’s teachers with CKUT’s Dan Parker and Stefan Christoff

Interview from the October 7th edition of CKUT’s The Wednesday morning after.

Click here to download

September 13, 2015

Podcast: WHS teachers Robert Green and Scott Macleod explain why teachers need the support of parents in their current conflict with the Couillard government

WHS teachers Robert Green and Scott Macleod explain why teachers need the support of parents in their current conflict with the Couillard government on CKUT’s The Tuesday Morning After.

Click here to download mp3

 

June 15, 2015

CJAD Teachers Panel discusses pressure tactics, class size limits and cuts to librarians and school maintenance

Teachers Catharine Hogan and Robert Green discuss pressure tactics, class size limits and cuts to librarians and school maintenance with Tommy Shnurmacher.

Click here to download mp3