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August 25, 2000

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Funding First Nations Concent

For the first time ever, courses on native studies will be offered at the grade 12 level in all B.C. schools. "Education on First Nations issues is critical because it will change how society thinks," says Dr. Mary Longman, an assistant professor specializing in integrating native content into the B.C. school curriculum. "Educators are going to play a pivotal role in that. The content has been subverted for so long, but hopefully (the courses) will help prevent the racism stemming from that ignorance."   Media Contacts:
Dr. Mary Longman (education) mlongman@uvic.ca

Safer Schools

Results of a five-year study on Community-Based Violence Prevention conducted by the director of the school of child and youth care Dr. Sibylle Artz and associate dean of education Dr. Ted Reiken, shows a more than 40 per cent drop in school-based violence. However, the ongoing success of school violence prevention depends on continued commitment to efforts that have worked thus far, says Artz.
"Where social issues are concerned, one size doesn't fit all," says Artz. "In schools and in communities a variety of approaches to stopping violence need to be used to keep classrooms and neighborhoods safe for everyone."
  Media Contacts:
Dr. Sibylle Artz (Child and Youth Care) (250)-721-6472 or Sartz@hsd.uvic.ca.

Opening the Doors to Diversity

Vancouver Island school districts have increasingly integrated children with disabilities into mainstream classrooms. Teachers are now striving to ensure that scarce educational resources remain available to students of all mental and physical capabilities.
"We want to provide the least restrictive environment possible for all students with exceptional needs," says Dr. Jillian Roberts (educational psychology and leadership studies). "Policies pertaining to inclusion allow schools to provide a normalizing environment for children with disabilities and allow other children to appreciate diversity. We need to strive for inclusion but there must be support for both the students and the teachers."
"Teachers need help in the form of additional assistance or aid to further develop these programs and to ensure that they do benefit all those involved," says Dr. Lily Dyson (education).
  Media Contacts:
Dr. Jillian Roberts (educational psychology and leadership studies) (250) 721-7817 or jjrobert@uvic.caDr. Lily Dyson (education) (250) 721-7816 or ldyson@uvic.ca

The Last Waltz?

Arts programs such as band, strings, and drama are facing constraints due to education budget cuts in B.C. "Despite the legal mandate to provide the arts in the B.C. school curriculum, the arts are often the first on the chopping block when money is tight," says Dr. Betty Hanley (education). "That typical shortsighted solution jeopardizes the education of many children."
"Unfortunately, while people say they value the arts, when push comes to shove, it's science and technology that have been deemed important. Elementary classroom teachers are expected to teach the arts when they have little or no background, resources, or assistance. Secondary arts teachers have to battle timetables and university entrance requirements," says Hanley. "The bottom line seems to be dollars and profits rather than education. The irony is that the arts are a huge industry in Canada and bring in many dollars to the economy."
  Media Contacts:
Dr. Betty Hanley (education) (250) 721-7835 or bhanley@uvic.ca

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