Sunday, December 3, 2017

I'm Starting a Newsletter

Don't worry, I don't want to clog up your inbox. Every time I publish a literacy activity pack, I email the site coordinators at certain centres where I know there are literacy teachers who rely on those resources quite a bit. Rather than trusting myself always to remember who likes to get which alerts, I thought it would be nice to have a monthly roundup, a simple summary of the topics I've written about on the blog during the prior month. I could also list any resources or activity packs that I published on the website for all to freely enjoy. If I've tweeted about anything I think would be of interest or value to others, I might include a little recap of that. What do you think?

If you would like to receive such a monthly summary, please click the link at the top of the sidebar. >

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Update on the pan-Canadian experiment:

I'm going to give the initiators of the pan-Canadian experiment in pseudo-pedagogy that is called Portfolio Based Language Assessment the benefit of the doubt and assume that they meant well in the beginning. By now, however, they realize that you cannot build a good house without first checking the soil on which you plan to build the foundation. If one doesn't have the time and money to first do lengthy, solid, peer-reviewed research and action research, then one should not undertake an initiative of this magnitude. As database designers and coders say, "Have no late errors." Measure twice, cut once. Follow best practices for bringing large change to large groups. Do your homework, ALL of it.

Some people are speaking truth to power. Some are speaking out about the disastrous impact this is having in many classrooms across Canada. They are doing things such as circulating petitions, contacting their MPs, exposing the weaknesses in presentations, and are attempting to quantify and qualify the impact of this experiment on teachers and learners via a national research project.


  1. Dear Kelly
    Maybe, somehow, there could be a candid open discussion about the pain that PBLA has caused like a victim impact statement. All managers and SPO should be held accountable if there is no evidence that they tried to protect their employees. Everyone should get an extra 520 hours of pay each year to cover at least 10 extra hours of work and it should be retroactive. The funder must be held accountable. This is a big ugly mess and it is abusive to women who are the main practioners of ESL. Sad, very, seriously sad.

    Does you local MP and MPP care? Mine do. Having coffee with them again soon to show them that Immigration Canada doesn't seem to care.

    1. Dear Dec. 4 Anonymous,
      I have wondered if this would even have gotten off the ground in a male dominated profession. I’m glad your MP and MPP are listening. —K

  2. "I think it is obvious that whoever developed PBLA including the Language Companion, did not spend a great deal of time in the classroom. PBLA needed to be developed by teachers for teachers. It is a complete dismissal of what teachers already know and understand about the classroom. It assumes that they weren't getting it right in the first place. This is not the foundation upon which a program should be developed. Teachers know that learners need feedback. Teachers were using the CLB document. They recognize this is a valuable tool. But do a survey and ask teachers how they feel about PBLA. They know their students. They know their needs and they know how to teach. They also know what is useful and what is a waste of time, when it comes to PBLA.
    -Teacher who believes in teachers"

    -Teacher who believes in teachers

  3. Hi

    Has anyone seen any improvements in workload? Are people just suffering is silence?

    Please let me know if things have gotten any better and where so that teachers and students can move there.

    Hanging on but just by a thread
    Ontario and tired

    1. Feb 15 Anonymous,
      I suspect many are suffering in silence, while at other agencies, things might be getting a bit better due to fudging. I have heard of interesting news about at least two department heads: one has openly stated that s/he will NOT audit teachers' students' binders due to the stress that PBLA causes teachers. Another has come up with interesting work-arounds that IRCC may or may not one day chastise them for.
      Many times students arrive at our school with empty binders. Other times the artifacts reflect that PBLA is not being implemented as intended (spelling tests counted as artifacts and so forth). One school in my city--one that should be a cohort ahead of me--has failed to implement due to teachers being completely up in arms and lost / unable to do it. So they have been given an extension. I just feel blessed that my employer has common sense. They give us regular PA days when we can do our PBLA-specific prep, for one. They let us structure our classes as we need to in order to make PBLA "do-able." For a while that meant splitting our classes into S/L and R/W specific. We are revisiting that decision now after seeing an increase in students who cannot read or write.
      As for the PA days, this time is taken from students' classroom hours. That's not fair to students, is it? Wonder what's happening with Kyle's petition. I know Yuliya's research is about to be presented at a few rather large educational conferences. That's good news. --K

  4. Please see:

    ? "Consequently, there is no fixed way to integrate PBLA into the teaching/learning cycle. "


    ? "This section contains suggestions for teachers to consider as they begin to implement PBLA. But they are only suggestions!"

    If there is "no fixed way" and these are "only suggestions" then why is the service provider organization implementing PBLA in a way that is onerous and abusive? What has happened to teacher autonomy and professional judgement? Could it be that authorities are abusing the "power" that they believe CLB, PBLA and CIC/IRCC has handed them? Would CLB, PBLA and CIC/IRCC please speak up because people are being overworked and you, CLB, PBLA and CIC/IRCC ("The Funders who want it)are being blamed and painted as the abuser. CLB, PBLA and CIC/IRCC and their representatives-please speak up. Do you really want us to work beyond our paid time to implement PBLA? Teachers need to know so that they can make life choices. Choices to stay or go. Honesty and transparency from CLB, PBLA and CIC/IRCC would be appreciated.


Thank you for participating in this forum. Anonymous commenting is available, but is not intended to shield those taking pot shots at those of us challenging PBLA. If you are here to do that, please use your name.