Monthly Archives: May 2016

Spring Rep Assembly Highlights

Hi Folks,

Kevin and I attended the BCTF Spring Rep Assembly on the weekend, and I thought I would pass on a few of the more notable items.

We spent the majority of Friday going over the budget for next year.  Fortunately we are in a surplus situation which will allow us to rebuild some of our funds (particularly the Collective Bargaining Defence Fund).  Although we have a projected surplus, I would not characterize is as being in good financial straights.  A continued round of cuts to education mean fewer teachers, and our salaries have not kept pace with inflation.  Though we are able to restore some services this year, we are not back to where we have been in the past.

We have agreed to restore the second Zone Meeting this year – this allows all the committee chairs to get training and meet with their colleagues in the other North Island locals.  We have also committed to a Public Education Conference, which brings in parents and teachers to work together in defense of public education, and a provincial Social Justice conference.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the BCTF, each member will receive a membership card (something we have not done since the late 80’s).

The union mentorship grant (which we traditionally use to take the VP or other to the Federation Leadership Institute) has been increased to $3500 from $1000.  This will allow our local to invest in training of activists that we would not otherwise be able to do.  The grant has not seen an increase since 2002.

Next year, all 5 issues of Teacher Magazine will be printed for all members up from the 2 issues that had full circulation this year.

We passed a motion to donate $10,000 to the Red Cross for assistance to the Fort McMurray fire relief fund.

There was much discussion about the curriculum change for next year, with a motion being defeated that we withdraw completely from the process until the government commits to all the resources needed.  Although there are compelling reasons for us to consider this move, the prevailing sentiment is that we need to honour the work of our colleagues that have been on the design teams, and stay at the table (so to speak) to make the necessary changes from within.  I do believe at some point in the near future that we will be debating this again as there does not appear to be much appetite from the government to provide the resources (people as well as materials) to make the curriculum change truly successful.

There was a wonderful send off for Jim Iker on Friday evening, with a variety of speakers there to “roast” him.

We had a visit from Rob Fleming (NDP Education Critic) on Saturday; though he spoke well, there were only a few salient points I found useful:

– the BCLibs have increased the contingency fund from $500 Million to $1 Billion
– NDP are willing to look at the funding formula and fix it
– NDP are willing to review funding to the elite private schools (not religious ones)

All for now,


Shawn Gough
Vancouver Island North Teachers’ Association
Local President

Summer Pro-D Opportunity – ‘Children Aren’t Made Of China’

PLAY IS THE WAY® proudly presents


Children Aren’t Made Of China

2016 BC Summer Open Workshop Dates

VICTORIA – Monday August 22, 2016

KAMLOOPS – Wednesday August 24, 2016

ABBOTSFORD – Friday September 2, 2016

PRINCE GEORGE – Friday September 30, 2016

PLAY IS THE WAY® is a practical methodology for developing the personal and social competencies as described in the core competencies of the British Columbia curriculum.

It is a philosophy of behavior education and student self-regulation that fosters independent, self-motivated, empathetic, life-long learners by using:

  • A unique program of physically interactive games (that both require and develop personal and social competencies).
  • 5 guiding concepts (that are embedded through classroom activities and serve as a moral compass to help children do what they believe is right as opposed to doing what they are told).
  • A specific and empowering self-reflective language (that helps children to master their behavior in preparation for a responsible life in free society).
— THE WORKSHOP: Children Aren’t Made Of China —
In the light of ever increasing rates of depression in children and the alarming rates of suicide, bullying and self harm, it appears self-evident that the focus (for the past 40 years) on self-esteem as the keystone of child development, has failed to deliver the hordes of higher achieving, happy children it promised.

The energy of too many teachers is drained by the constant demand of encouraging children to feel good.  Students become reliant on unwarranted praise that will supposedly raise their self-esteem.

Teachers must be freed from the “self-esteem first and at all costs” scenario, to focus on the development of personal and social competencies.  When we teach children the skills to do good, they will undoubtedly feel good.

  • Dates:  All dates listed on our website
  • Venues:  To Be Advised
  • Time:  9:00am – 3:00pm
  • Cost:  $175 per participant (plus GST) Each participant will receive a copy of Children Aren’t Made Of China by PITW founder, Wilson McCaskill, certificate of participation and 10% discount off any resources purchased.
  • Presenter:  Sean Smith – PLAY IS THE WAY® Canada

To register please complete the registration form our website

— PLAY IS THE WAY®:  Where It All Began —
Responding to the constant demand from Australian primary schools for a sustainable whole school approach to social and emotional development, Wilson McCaskill took his popular and effective games based program Play Is The Way®(formerly known as The Game Factory) out of his home state of Western Australia and invited schools across the country to try it and assess its effectiveness.

I have been delighted to continually and consistently report on the effectiveness of The Game Factory program as an ongoing means of improving positive social behavior across entire school populations.  In addition, I have found that levels of social phobia and separation anxiety have been very low in schools employing this program.  Overall the program has been found to be an excellent and sustainable means of increasing classroom cohesion and consequently overall student well being.” 

Dr Helen Street – Social Psychologist, 2004

The results spoke for themselves and Play Is The Way® is now the valued and consistent education practice of many schools in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

The theoretical underpinning of the Play Is The Way® methodology can be found in educational research which highlights the central role of social skills and values in determining educational outcomes.

Our constant objective is to give research practical application.  Play Is The Way® is a hands-on way to teach and learn personal and social competencies.

“Personal and social competency is the set of abilities that relate to students’ identity in the world, both as individuals and as members of their community and society.  Personal and social competency encompasses the abilities students need to thrive as individuals, to understand and care about themselves and others, and to find and achieve their purposes in the world.”

British Columbia Curriculum

Play Is The Way® methodology is the result of extensive practical experience with children in a wide range of schools and teaching environments.  This experience confirms that effective life and learning behavior is best discovered, learnt and embedded by “doing.”

See PITW evaluations/research on our website

A game isn’t “just a game.”  Play Is The Way® games engage children’s emotions and call for mastery and control of those emotions to achieve success.  By being challenging, the games develop self-motivation and perseverance.  They help children to identify the reasons for failure and foster optimism and resilience.

Games are the most effective, engaging and enjoyable way for children to learn the core competencies of:


Connect and engage with others (to share and develop ideas).  Students engage in informal and structured conversations where they listen, contribute, develop understanding and relationships, learn to consider diverse perspectives, and build consensus.

Source: British Columbia Curriculum


Critical thinking competency encompasses a set of abilities that students use to examine their own thinking, and that of others, about information that they receive through observations, experience, and various forms of communication.

Source: British Columbia Curriculum


Social responsibility involves the ability and disposition to consider the interdependence of people with each other and the natural environment; to contribute positively to one’s family, community, society, and the environment; to resolve problems peacefully; to empathize with others and appreciate their perspectives; and to create and maintain healthy relationships.

Source: British Columbia Curriculum

These competencies help children become self-motivated, self-regulating, independent life long learners.

See the benefits of PITW games on our website

  • Attending this workshop allows you to experience Play Is The Way® from the point-of-view of the teacher and the student.  We show you the games in action, demonstrating simple behavior education techniques and explain how they can be used in a practical classroom setting.
  • You will want to feel confident about using Play Is The Way® and be secure in the knowledge that it will benefit you and your students.  The best way for that to happen is to get hands-on with the process.
  • Seeing how each of the 5 key concepts relates to the games and life and learning makes it possible for you to address personal and social development in all learning areas.
  • Discovering the effectiveness of the Play Is The Way® self-reflective language will encourage you to make it a regular and consistent feature of your interactions with students and their interactions with each other.
  • The workshops are free of power-point or video presentations and you don’t need to be fit or sporty to attend.
  • You will leave with lots of ideas and enthusiastic about guiding the behavior education of your students.
  • You will receive the acclaimed book, Children Aren’t Made Of China, by Play Is The Way® founder Wilson McCaskill and benefit from a 10% discount on all Play Is The Way® resources in appreciation of your attendance.

Above all, Play Is The Way® workshops are enjoyable.  You can relax and have fun while learning valuable behavior education techniques.  

Click here to register for a workshop

For further information please visit our website

or contact us:

School District #85 Curriculum Implementation Day May 24th

Location: North Island Secondary School, Port McNeill

Time: 9:00 AM

This day is broken into two parts:

  1. Morning session with grade/subject groupings;
  2. Afternoon session with school staffs.
Morning Session Groups:
  • Grades K-3  – Room 110
  • Grades 4-7  – Room 108
  • Grades 8-9 in subject areas – self-selected:
    • Humanities  – Room 106
    • Math/Science  – Room 104
    • PE/Outdoor Ed  – Room 102
    • Shop/Foods  – Room 101
    • Art/Music/Drama  – Room 100
The morning session is designed around the following questions:
  • What do we already have in place that will continue to work with the new curriculum?
  • What unique teaching strategies/devices/plans can we share with each other?
  • What resources do we already have (personal or institutional) that can be repurposed?
  • What planning format(s) should we use? (suggestions provided)
Afternoon Session Groups:
  • ABES  – Room 102
  • AJES  – Room 101
  • CES  – Room 100
  • EVES  – Room 108
  • ELC  – Room 106
  • FRES  – Room 104
  • NISS  – Learning Commons
  • PHSS  – Drama Room
  • SEJSS  – Room 111
  • SES  – Room 110

The afternoon session is a time for school staffs to collaborate together on a direction for the New Year.

Questions to focus on will be:
  • What structures do staff members need in place to support the new curriculum and how do we get there? (i.e.: collaboration time, grade group meetings, assessment planning)
  • What resources are available at the school and how can they be repurposed for the new curriculum?
  • Is there an opportunity/appetite for sharing students to take advantage of staff strengths?
  • Is there an overarching direction the staff want to see the school take in implementing the new curriculum?
Please note that the above questions are a guide only, and are just intended to give shape to the discussions.
This is a collaborative day designed to put forward suggestions and possible directions, and should not be taken as an official position of any staff until thoroughly discussed and democratically decided upon.

Shape of the Day

9:00 – 9:15 Opening address/welcome
9:15 – 10:00 Keynote (TBD) in Drama Room
10:00 – 10:15 Nutrition Break (A Wing)
10:15 – 12:00 Break out session 1 (grade and subject groupings)
12:00 – 1:00 Lunch (on your own)
1:00 – 3:00 Break out session 2 (school groupings)

Click Here For PDF for printing

Click Here for Resources – Curriculum Support

BC Teachers’ Institute on Parliamentary Democracy Fall October 18-22, 2016

British Columbia Teachers’ Institute On Parliamentary Democracy 2016 Fall Institute October 18-22, 2016

Click Here for more information and to apply

Click Below for PDF Brochure

Teachers institute parliment_001_small