Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's a Canadian Affair in Trafalgar Square - 1 July 2011

Attracting well over 50,000 Londoners and visitors from around the globe, the celebration of Canada's 144th birthday presents a unique opportunity to enjoy the best of Canadian music, sport, art, culture, tourism, business, food and drink in the heart of London.

Be there! Trafalgar Square - for Canada Day in London 2011 - 1 July 2011 - 10:30 - 22:00

We hope you will be able to attend and share photos on the Classroom Canada facebook page.

For any Canadian teachers out there who would love to be living and teaching in London next year for Canada Day, go ahead and send your cover letter and resume to: apply[at]

Classroom Canada is still accepting applications for teaching positions beginning October 2011.

For resources on Teaching in London

Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Canadians Abroad: A new report

There was talk yesterday afternoon on CBC's "All Points West" with host Jo-Ann Roberts about Canadians living abroad - that means you, teachers!

It appears you are among the 2.8 million Canadians living abroad - wow! No wonder there are Canada Day celebrations in London! I thought it was interesting that one of the report's recommendations was to create a stronger network between all Canadians living abroad and their home country of Canada, which was what I had been highlighting last week as well with the various Canadian networks out there.

Anyway, I found an interesting summation of the story and report online and wanted to repeat it here for our readers. If you give it a read, tell me, what do you think about your status living abroad?

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 06/27/11 -- Canada can do a lot more to turn its 2.8 million Canadians abroad into an asset for the country. This is one of the key messages from the capstone report Canadians Abroad: Canada's Global Asset released today by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada, 

The report calls for a more proactive and coordinated approach by the federal and provincial governments recommending key policy actions such as: the creation of a dedicated agency overseeing Canadians abroad, the establishment of a special Parliamentary Committee on Canadians Abroad, and the formation of a global, cross-sector non-governmental organization to link national and regional Canadian networks overseas. 

Commenting on the report, Mr. Yuen Pau Woo, President and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada said, "Given the large and growing population of Canadian citizens living abroad, there is a need for coordinated and forward-looking policies that treat overseas citizens as assets for the country, while putting in place measures to mitigate the risks of a global citizenry." He added, "In the same way that we celebrate Canada as a country of immigrants, we should also embrace the fact that Canada is a country of emigrants." 

Kenny Zhang, Senior Project Manager with the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada noted, "There is opportunity to balance out discussions that have primarily framed Canadians abroad as a liability, as disloyal, and as citizens of convenience. Clearly there are challenges we need to keep in mind, but there's a lot more we can do to make Canadians abroad our global asset." 

The report is the culmination of a three-year research project that produced the estimate of 2.8 million Canadians citizens living overseas that is now widely cited in the press and by other researchers. The project's key findings and policy recommendations are:
--  Canada's 9% population of citizens living abroad is higher than the  United States (1.7%), equal to Britain (9%), less than New Zealand     (21.9%).  --  Between 1996 and 2006, naturalized Canadians (i.e. Canadians born     abroad) made up the fastest segment of Canadians abroad with an exit     rate of 4.5% in contrast to citizens-born in Canada at 1.33%. While     China and India showed a low exit rate during this period, anecdotal     evidence suggests exit rates among Chinese immigrants are increasing.  --  Naturalized Canadians abroad faced greater economic disincentives to     return to Canada.  --  The largest jurisdiction of Canadians abroad is located in the United     States (1.06 million) with the second highest located in Hong Kong SAR     (300,000), and thirdly in the United Kingdom (73,000).  --  A 2010 National Opinion Poll that found 51% and 66% of Canadians     residents believed that citizens living abroad should be entitled to     voting and citizenship rights, respectively, as Canadians born and     living in Canada. However, ad-hoc government policies on voting rights     (no voting rights after 5 years abroad) and citizenship (restricting     citizenship by descent to one generation born abroad) discourage     attachment of Canadians abroad.  --  In a survey of Canadians living in Hong Kong, 66% of respondents noted     having immediate and or extended family members residing or studying in     Canada. Three in five respondents intended to return to Canada.  --  Policy recommendations include: creating a dedicated agency overseeing     Canadians abroad; creating a special Parliamentary Committee on     Canadians Abroad; providing staff and funds for Canadian posts abroad     for active outreach to Canadians overseas; creation of a global, cross-     sector non-governmental organization to link national and regional     Canadian networks overseas; and the modernization of bilateral double     taxation and social security agreements.  

The full report Canadians Abroad: Canada's Global Asset can be accessed at:

The Canadians Abroad Project is a policy research consortium initiated by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada with the generous support of the Royal Bank of Canada Foundation, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Western Economic Diversification Canada, the Government of British Columbia, and the Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation.


The Asia Pacific Foundation is an independent resource for Canadians on contemporary Asia and Canada-Asia relations. As a national not-for-profit organization established by an Act of the Federal Parliament in 1984, the Foundation brings together people and knowledge to provide the most current and comprehensive research, analysis and information on Asia and on Canada's transpacific relations. It promotes dialogue on economic, security, political and social issues, helping to inform public policy, the Canadian public and Canada's Asia practitioners. The Foundation is funded principally through an endowment from the Government of Canada and by corporate and individual donors.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Canadians in London: meet them online!

Last week I spoke about Network Canada, a great networking organizations for Canadians living in London. I thought I'd take time today to highlight a few other networks that are hip and happening online and update a popular blog post written by Victoria Westcott, from a few years ago.

Social media has completely changed the way we move to other countries. Now you can network online with others who have "been there and done that" and people of like minds who are also going through the same steps that you are.

So to help, here are our favourites for networking with other Canadian in the UK:

  1. Canuck Abroad - Here's an online forum for Canadians scattered across the globe. The UK discussion group is quite active & any question you have about moving to London has probably already been asked & answered in there.
  2. Network Canada - this is a non-profit group for Canadians living in London. They're also the authors of Living in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians. They hold monthly social events which are quite popular.
  3. Classroom Canada on Facebook - I have to post this one of course! Here's a place to ask questions, meet other teachers, look at teacher photos and get an idea of what we're all about. We also have a private members facebook group for our selected teachers to meet each other & share ideas/resources.
  4. TES Community Forum - The Times Educational Supplement (TES) is a newspaper and website. The Overseas Trained Teacher forum is very active and a great place to discuss issues with teaching in the UK as a foreign trained teacher. A quick note: I find quite a few of the comments to be very negative against teaching in London and the UK in general, so try to take everything said with an open mind. Some people use online forums as venting grounds.
  5. Canadians in London Facebook Group - Today this group has over 1,100 members. It's a meeting place for Canadians looking for other Canadians to hang out with. I've also seen postings for flats to rent. I know most of our teachers have joined the group.
Have we missed any websites that you'd like to share? Please post them in the comments section below.

For resources on Teaching in London

Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Canadians & Americans in the UK blog

Thursday, June 23, 2011

How to meet other Canadians in London, UK

With Canada Day fast approaching, you may find yourself wanting to meet and hang out with other fellow Canadians to celebrate what should be a "long weekend." Have no fear, Network Canada is here!

Well, Network Canada has actually been around since 1999 and they have been growing ever since.

So, what is it?

Basically it is a professional and social group for Canadians living in London. Throughout the year, Network Canada organizes events such as their annual Thanksgiving Day Ball and May Martini Mixer. They also organize casual events such as their monthly London Vandoos, which are socials that happen on the 22nd of every month. Canadians of all backgrounds attend, including some of our teachers of course.

In addition to networking and socializing opportunities, they offer a wide range of resources to assist with the transition of moving to and from the UK. Join for 20 pounds and receive the Living in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians for free. It's a terrific resource and one we recommend that you read inside and out as it helps you understand everything you need to know about moving to London, UK.

So what to do on Canada Day?

Check out their website and event calendar for more information about upcoming Canada Day events such as their fifth annual Canada Cruz - "the Ultimate Canuck Party Ride" along the Thames and their July 1 "Canada Day London" Trafalgar Square gathering.

Get out there, don your red and white and enjoy July 1 with fellow Canadians!

Leave your comment below if you know of other fun events going on next week.

For resources on Teaching in London

Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Canadians & Americans in the UK blog

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Celebrate Canada Day at the Maple Leaf Pub!

Just wanted to spread the word about a Canada Day gathering happening at the Maple Leaf Pub in Covent Garden. Wish I could be there, but hope you can! Read all about it below:

WHEN: 01 July · 19:00 - 23:30
WHERE: Maple Leaf Pub, Covent Garden

Fellow Canadians, your chance to gather and run amok on the streets of London once more is upon us!

We all know the Maple Leaf is a popular Canuck destination, but doesn't have a lot of actual Canadian music! This year marks a change in that!

Canadian bands Doodlebug & The Six Million Dollar Band can be found playing around London every weekend. However, this Canada Day Weekend they'll be rocking you out with Hits from The Who, Kings of Leon, Bowie, The Police, Stevie Wonder, The Strokes, Lenny Kravitz, The Killers, Paul Weller, The Jam, The Beatles, Journey, U2, Elvis and even the Guess Who and TRAGICALLY HIP!!!!!!!!!!!!

Canadian Music will be on from 7pm and the band will be on from 9pm.

All for only £2 on the door!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Update on the fabulous Teachers TV website

Just a quick update regarding Teachers TV - that great online resource full of free videos, lesson plans and teacherly advice. As we all know, Teachers TV ceased to exist on April 29, 2011.

The Department for Education (DfE), however, has made all Teachers TV programmes available to distributors on a non-exclusive basis. Any distributor who provides Teachers TV programmes will be required to stream them for free at the point of use.

Currently, there are five distributors/websites that stream the Teachers TV programmes and videos. Link to these sites are below:

1. Phoenix TTV Limited -

Teachers Media is the new professional development service for everyone working in UK education, brought to you by the team behind Teachers TV. This site contains a free library of over 3500 high-quality videos to help you and your team develop your professional skills, and support teaching and learning in your school and classroom.

Promethean Planet is the world's largest interactive whiteboard community and it will host all of Teachers TV videos in its resource library (date available yet to be determined).

3. Axis 12 Limited -

This site contains loads of teacher resources, including the 3,500 Teachers TV videos.

4. Teach Pro Limited -

SchoolsWorld offers everyone in education the chance to learn from the
best in the business – starting with the full 3,500 videos from Teachers TV.

5. TSL Education Ltd -

TES Connect also hosts the 3,500 Teachers TV videos in their resource library.

As other distributors of the Teachers TV videos become available, details will be included on the Department for Education website.

Happy viewing!

For resources on Teaching in London

Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Canadians & Americans in the UK blog

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Work Hard. Be Nice.

This week I've been sharing some points from a great book entitled, Work Hard. Be Nice.

I'll finish with my final points below.

7. Willingness to change.

One point I really appreciated about the way Mike and Dave approached their school and teaching was their determination to always seek "good results" and being willing to change their strategies when they were not working.

According to the author, Jay Mathews, the most important characteristic of KIPP schools is not their size or their cost or the age of the teachers or the motivation of the parents. It is their willingness to change, and quickly, when students don't improve. It was this quality they embodied as school administrators and the quality they encouraged in their teachers.

8. The administration.

Before Mike and Dave became school administrators themselves, they often found that it was precisely the rigid, traditional attitude from school administrators that prevented them from exploring new ideas, changing routines and demanding excellence from their students.

Some of the more humourous moments of the book are when the author describes some of Mike and Dave's bold antics for making school administrators accountable for their demands.

Sometimes it worked for them to simply "suck up" to school district administrators (for example, bringing them breakfast in the morning to get them in a good mood before they asked for what they wanted).

If that didn't work, they sometimes relied on what they called their "advocacy-in-democracy" lesson which involved asking students to call the administrators directly to get what they wanted!

9. KIPP is not without criticism from educational experts.

The author, Jay Mathews, does not go through the entire book praising everything about the KIPP program, and he does have an interesting chapter on outside criticism that KIPP does face.

Some critics have referred to KIPP as
: Kids in Prison Program (referring to their 9.5 hour school days). Yet, Mr. Mathews also points out that kids were still voluntarily calling their teachers asking for help with homework in the evenings!

What I feel is that no school or educational philosophy will every be without some criticism. This school and the philosophy obviously works for many children who might otherwise not have a chance to succeed in a more traditional educational setting. Is that a bad thing?

10. Work hard. Be Nice.

(What a simple way to approach one's profession!)

Beyond this very simple idea which became the slogan for KIPP, the philosophy they embodied included other simple ideas:

There are no shortcuts. (Rafe Esquith's signature slogan)

Assign yourself. (i.e. take responsibility for your actions)
If there is a problem, we look for a solution.
If there is a better way, we find it.
If a teammate needs help, we give it.
If we need help, we ask.

In the end, I think what I admired most about the teachers profiled in this book was their very simple "can-do" spirit.

There was nothing better for them than trying out something that might help kids learn. And if it didn't work, they would try something else.
They were just two educators, and they believed that good teaching can make a big difference and that all children will learn if they receive the time and encouragement and love they deserve.

Hopefully all of us out there share that same general attitude and view of our profession!

Have a great rest of your week everyone! And let me know if there are other inspirational books out there that you would recommend to me - or others who read this post. Leave your comments below.

Resources for Teaching in London

Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Work Hard. Be Nice.

Yesterday I started discussing a book I just finished: Work Hard. Be Nice. Below are a few more interesting points I got from the book and I just wanted to share:

4. Fun & Learning.

"If you focus on finding the balance between having fun and keeping the focus on learning, that should take you very far." - Mike Feinberg

Mike and Dave wanted their school to be fun, but only because learning was fun. They soon realized there was a fine line between entertainment and engagement, but stayed true to their belief that: "It's going to be fun if we work hard for you, and you work hard for us."

Additionally, they felt that each lesson should be a conversation. Teachers dominating the lesson was bad. Students should be responding regularly to the teacher and the teacher to them. They felt it was crucial to keep talking and moving and doing things as a group.

5. Giving students a choice (sort of). Mike and Dave (the founders of KIPP) soon realized one strategy that seemed to work for most of their students was if they presented themselves as very strict teachers who enforced the idea that the kids had a choice:

they could learn because they liked it, or they could learn even though they didn't like it.

Again, Harriet Ball's advice and belief that "all children WILL learn."

Each child had to find a way to stay focused on learning, obey the rules, and develop the spirit of consideration for other students that the KIPP teachers felt would benefit them for the rest of their lives.

There was no denying that KIPP teachers had high expectations for their students, but perhaps it was these high expectations that should students they had the potential to succeed?

The Commitment to Excellence.

Before the school year began, the KIPP teachers personally visited every student and their parents at their home to explain the high expectations that would be expected of them. After discussing the KIPP program with the student and his/her parents, everyone was asked to sign the "Commitment to Excellence."

They all (parent, student, teacher) had to agree upon the four principles for success, what they called "The Four Factors" which included: more time for instruction, high-quality teaching, parental support and administrative support. The commitment they signed was a contract of sorts that each was expected to uphold for the entire year.

How's that for parental involvement???

Tomorrow I'll discuss my final thoughts from the book, so stay tuned!

Resources for Teaching in London

Classroom Canada website
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Monday, June 6, 2011

Work Hard. Be Nice.

I just finished reading an excellent and inspirational book called Work Hard. Be Nice: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America by Jay Mathews.

The book explores the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) and follows the founders Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin through their journey creating a school that generally - and wholeheartedly - believes that with proper mentors, student incentives and unrestrained enthusiasm on the part of the teachers, some of the country's poorest children could surpass the expectations of most inner-city public schools.
I'm not sure if any of you out there have read it (if you have, leave a comment below with your thoughts), but it is an insightful and enlightening book and definitely worth a read.

I have to admit, however, at times I found
myself feeling a bit cynical as I read, knowing, as I do today as a mother of two, that the hours that these two young men put into their jobs (and the hours they expect from the teachers they hire) would be very challenging - if not unrealistic - for someone like myself.

Still, their dedication to their students and their profession is to be admired!

Over the course of this week, I'd like to share some points that I picked up from the book. As always, leave a comment below to add your own thoughts to this discussion/list!

1. Harriet Ball was one of their inspired mentors. The most prominent idea they got from her (in addition to endless math chants and ideas for decorating one's classroom) is that: All children WILL learn (as opposed to "can" which was too passive).

Harriet Ball particularly felt strongly about using the word will. She would say, "All of us will learn. I will learn from the kids. They will learn from me. Ain't no 'can.'"

This belief was the foundation upon which the KIPP schools were built. What a terrific attitude for ANY teacher to have...

2. Another inspired mentor teacher, Rafe Esquith, got Mike and Dave to not see problems anymore, only opportunities.

(Wow - what a great way to approach work, life and the world, eh?)

Rafe also inspired them to think beyond the classroom walls and see the potential of using the world as their classroom. He encouraged them to provide field trips as incentives for the students - and not just field trips to museums and parks - these were field trips to Washington, DC and the Grand Canyon!

3. The beginning of KIPP: Mike and Dave were actually inspired to think about creating their own school after attending a talk by Rafe Esquith. From their endless late-night discussions with each other, they began formulating their own school idea:

KIPP - Knowledge Is Power Program.

Some of the unique aspects of their program included long school days, required summer school, every-other-week Saturday classes, two hours of homework a night, and frequent contact with teachers who gave students their cell phone numbers and the permission to contact them in the evening if they had questions about their homework.

And with that last point, I'll leave you the chance to offer comments below.

Tomorrow I'll discuss more from the book, so stay tuned!

Resources for Teaching in London

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Dear Math...

Just wanted to share some funnies I came across recently. Happy Thursday everyone!

Resources for Teaching in London

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