Thursday, March 31, 2011

Last post from Massey College / Upcoming hiatus

The view from my Massey College suite, in more verdant times this past fall.
This will be the last post I'll write from my perch at Massey College, as pictured above. The past few weeks has been a flurry of activity as we wrap the academic term and prepare for the last Canadian Journalism Fellowship activity, a two-week stint in Finland and Denmark (to which I'm adding a week split between London, U.K. and St. Petersburg). This past Monday the selection committee met to shortlist the applications received from Canadian journalists for the 2011-12 edition of the program. After the committee meeting its members were joined by various funders of the program (including the Fisher family, who funded my fellowship) and this year's fellows. We had an opportunity to speak to the assembled crowd for five minutes or so, reflecting on the past seven months, the courses we'd taken and the experience as a whole.
I will be forever indebted to this college-- the past seven months have been exactly the personal and professional refresher and readjuster that I was seeking when I applied for the program. I doubt any words I could say or type would ever truly explain this experience and the impact that it will have on my career in time. 
The seven months have just flown by and though very excited for the travel that lies ahead, I am moving out of the college before leaving for our European adventures. Will split my time between various locations upon returning to this continent and I'm due back at work on May 2, just in time to cast my vote and then cover the results as they come in that evening.
I am particularly delighted the fellows will be visiting an elementary school in Finland, so I can see first-hand what the school culture looks and feels like in that most-revered of countries (at least when it comes to their educational system). I'm going to be particularly curious to see what elements look and feel the same as some of the classrooms I've been fortunate enough to observe in this country.
Sadly for this space, it means an extended hiatus. So the issues that I've been touching on -- particularly with the grants scheduled imminently for release -- won't be updated in this space until at least April 24 if not beyond then and into early May.
Please come back after that date so we can continue the conversation.


banderblogger said...

Just one comment about your upcoming visit to Finland. A few weeks ago I was speaking to an American academic who studied international education practices as a way of providing viable options for changing the American Education system to be more effective. She said to me that she and her colleagues had switched their focus from Finland to Canada. Why?
They found that because the Finnish school population (like that of the country) is so homogeneous that its methods were not really applicable to North American Schools. And they are not talking just about race either. The researchers found that partly due to the countries thorough social service system and the relatively equally spread wealth, that for the most part, students come from very similar homes. This means that the Finnish system doesn't need to wrestle with many of the problems we do in North America where a public system deals with students coming from homes and both ends of the economic spectrum and everything in between.

Education Reporter said...

Thanks banderblogger.
I've returned from my travels and we did notice the point you raise above about homogeneity and ethnic diversity, in addition to a few other interesting little nuggets of information that help place results in context.
I'm collating my thoughts from our school visit (and also need to confirm some of the information with our Finnish contacts) before writing a post on the experience here.

In the meantime, regular blogging should resume within a few days.