Molly Hurd’s perspectives on education have been developed out of her wide variety of teaching experiences in northern Quebec, rural Nova Scotia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Britain. She was also a teacher and head teacher at Halifax Independent School for twenty years. She believes passionately that keeping children’s natural love of learning alive throughout their school years is one of the very best things a school can do for its students. She is the author of “Best School in the World: How students, teachers and parents have created a model that can transform Canada’s public schools” published by Formac Publishing in 2017.
Why this blog?
After 4 years working on my book, the writing lifestyle became second nature to me. I have always had a deep interest in how education works, and the forces that shape it. In particular I am interested in looking at ways of ensuring that all children get the education they need, and that they all emerge at the end of it with a love of learning that will last them the rest of their lives. I can’t seem to stop researching, and trying to make sense of the trends in education that so often seem to be working against this goal. Writing about it helps me clarify my thoughts about what is going on in the education world, against the backdrop of huge upheaval in my home province of Nova Scotia. This blog is a place to share some of what I have learned.
As I write this in February 2018, I am lucky enough to be spending 4 months among the “dreaming spires” in Oxford, UK. Yesterday, I realized where this description came from. I was sitting in the Bodleian Library in the Lower Reading Room (which is actually quite high up) writing away, when a sudden fit of distraction hit me. I started daydreaming, looking around at the portraits of all the medieval worthies (men only) who surrounded me, and then out the windows at the magnificent spires of the rest of the library. I felt one with the generations of students who have undoubtedly gazed upon those spires, perhaps dreaming about anything other than their studies, but perhaps also following their own muse, and loving to learn too.
Being in Britain is allowing me a unique opportunity to reignite my interest in their education system – one in which I taught a long time ago, and one which I feel holds a lot of lessons for Nova Scotia – mostly along the lines of what not to do. So I have made it my goal in these four months to learn everything I can about this example of the “commodification” of education, and find out how it got that way.
But first, a new crisis in Nova Scotia education has got me, and many others, thinking and writing. The Glaze report, “Raise the Bar” was researched and written in 2 months, after a few weeks of “consultation”. I was shocked to find that during my holiday in the month of January, the report was received by the government, released to the public after a few short weeks, and then 11 of its most contentious recommendations accepted the next day. The outcry from teachers and parents has been deafening; in return the government’s response has been to double down on its message, “dividing and distracting” the electorate by accusing teachers of holding to the status quo, and not having the best interests of the students at heart. So first, I decided to write a blog post every day until the legislature goes back on Feb. 27, in the hopes that someone in the government might listen and put a stop to this madness!
If you have a query or an idea for a research direction, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org