Monthly Archives: May 2013

Have something you’d like to tell us? Please do!

Have you ever noticed the Comments and Suggestions link in the yellow Library Catalog box on our homepage? No? Well here’s your chance! If you ever have feedback you’d like to give us, about anything, give that link a click and send it in. We love to hear what you have to say and are always looking to improve our services to suit your needs.

While you’re there, check out the link right below it for new books and movies available to you! Keep your eyes to the right hand side! 🙂



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Library Survey–We Asked, You Answered!

During the months of January and February we were fortunate enough to get the opportunity to survey the entire campus about what YOU liked or wished were different in the library. The results were so helpful, and it was amazing to hear your voices!

Not sure what to expect for changes and improvements in the coming year? Well, look no further than here. You can take a look at all the feedback we received, and the constructive criticisms that will help us serve you better. To give you one hint–the ERC is already in the process of shifting the space to squeeze in even more study room! We may be small up there, but we’re constantly thinking of better ways to make students feel comfortable.

Keep on the lookout for more changes…there’s always room for improvement, and we’re grateful to have the chance to jump on that train right now!

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Library Summer Hours

Not sure when to come to Regina or the ERC over the summer? Take note–our hours have changed until August!

The regular summer hours for the Regina Library have begun today and run through August 9. They are:


Monday – Thursday        9am – 9pm

Friday                                    9am – 5pm

Saturday                              10am – 6pm

Sunday                                 Closed


The library will be closed on Memorial Day (5/27) and Independence Day (7/4).

On Friday, May 31 the library will be open until 8 pm because of make-up classes from Memorial Day.



The regular summer hours for the Educational Resource Center (ERC) also start today and run through 8/9. They are:


Monday – Thursday        10am – 8pm

Friday                                    Closed

Saturday                              10am – 3pm

Sunday                                 Closed


The ERC will be closed on Memorial Day (5/27) and Independence Day (7/4).

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To Grade Or Not To Grade?

Found this really interesting piece on whether or not the grading system is detrimental to the American education. What do you think? Do grades keep you from reaching your potential, or do you like having a measurable scale of your success?

The Case Against Grades

They lower self-esteem, discourage creativity, and reinforce the class divide.

By |Posted Wednesday, May 1, 2013, at 8:15 AM

Should schools abandon the A to F grading system?

There is always something or someone to blame in our struggle for education reform. Sometimes it’s the “bad teachers” who get the blame. Other times it’s standardized testing, insufficient funding, or slow-moving bureaucracy. I blame grades.

Grading students, from A to F, has become synonymous with education itself. Report-card day is an American rite of passage. Yet, there’s reason to believe the structure of grading students is the biggest culprit in America’s long, steady decline in education—SAT reading scores are at a 40-year low, and one recent study ranked the U.S. 17th in education, worse than Poland, Canada, Ireland, South Korea, and Denmark. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the rigid and judgmental foundation of modern education is the origin point for many of our worst qualities, making it harder for many to learn because of its negative reinforcement, encouraging those who do well to gradually favor the reward of an A over the discovery of new ways of thinking, and reinforcing harsh class divides that are only getting worse as the economy idles.

A 2002 study at the University of Michigan found that 80 percent of students surveyed based their self-worth on academic performance—more than cited family support as a source of self-esteem. A 2006 study at King’s College showed adolescents with low self-esteem were more likely to have poor health, be involved in criminal behavior, and earn less than their peers. Since it’s overwhelmingly poor students who are prone to bad grades, a self-reinforcing loop is created. Poverty leads to bad grades and low self-esteem, which leads to more poverty and social dysfunction.

In its earliest forms, education was a Socratic practice of self-knowledge; an isolated act of enshrining religious traditions; or, most commonly, an informal transfer of skill on the homestead, with parents teaching children how to plant, harvest, raise livestock, or practice some craft passed through generations. That all began to change in 1792 when William Farish, a tutor and soon-to-be chemistry professor at Cambridge, became an early advocate of evaluating student performance through quantifying test results. A century later, the logic transformed into a letter-based scale first seen at Mount Holyoke College in 1897. By the 1930s, the ABC approach had been adopted by a wide group of schools and universities around the country and, not coincidentally, would be reabsorbed by a number of industrial interests, including dairy, beef, poultry, and plywood. (That’s some A+ plywood!)

These changes coincided with the rapid expansion of compulsory education in America, a legal standard that had been adopted by all 50 states by 1917. Grades were the foundation of this expansion, providing data points for a system in which one person would get a corner office and another would be lost to a life flipping burgers or changing motor oil. If you want to succeed in life, stay in school, get good grades.

The catch is that fear of negative outcomes has been repeatedly shown to be a major impediment to learning. A survey of students at the University of Cape Town found that stress and fear of failing tests led to “classic symptoms of procrastination and avoidance,” confusion and low self-esteem. “ … [I]t’s one of those things where if I have to fail a test, I’m Like, ‘Oh my goodness, I can’t fail a test.’ It’s like a really serious strain,” one subject reported. Another showed the classic habit of grade-weighted failure leading to disengagement: “But I just didn’t like the fact that I had failed, so I just moved on to something else.” These responses are echoed by a number of studies that show students’ willingness to take on challenging tasks diminishes when grades are involved, but without grades, students left on their own tend to seek out more challenging problems.

John Taylor Gatto, a one-time New York State Teacher of the Year turned fierce education critic, proposed an education system built around “independent study, community service, adventures in experience, large doses of privacy and solitude, [and] a thousand different apprenticeships.” Schools built on these values have flourished in the margins of state-funded, graded education throughout the 20th century. The most famous example is the Montessori schools, noted for their lack of grades, multiage classes, and extended periods where students can chose their own projects from a selected range of materials. The schools have educated many of today’s wealthiest entrepreneurs, including Google’s Larry Page and Sergei Brin, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Wikipedia creator Jimmy Wales, business management legend Peter Drucker, and video game icon Will Wright.

A 2006 comparison in Milwaukee found that Montessori students performed better than grade-based students at reading and math; they also “wrote more creative essays with more complex sentence structures, selected more positive responses to social dilemmas, and reported feeling more of a sense of community at their school.” Some contend that Montessori schools attract more affluent and successful parents, who give their children an inherent advantage, but the Milwaukee study was built around a random lottery for Montessori enrollment. All the children in the study came from families with similar economic backgrounds, with average incomes ranging between $20,000 and $50,000.

Free schools have taken the gradeless structure even further, treating the school as an open space where students are not only allowed to self-direct but are given equal responsibility in the organization and rule-making of the school itself. The Summerhill School in England is one of the most recognizable and longest-running, founded in 1921 by A.S. Neill. Summerhill is built around the idea of creating stable, happy, and compassionate humans capable of filling any role in society—a janitor being no less a success than a doctor. In place of dedicated courses, students are free to follow their own interests while teachers observe and nudge them toward new ways of thinking about what they’re drawn to. Students with an interest in cooking, for instance, might learn the basics of chemistry by way of thickening a sauce. Those drawn to playing soccer might learn to improve their game with some fundamental principles of Newtonian physics.

Schools inspired by the Summerhill model have flourished in recent years, with free schools operating around the country from Portland, Ore., to Sudbury, Mass. The Brooklyn Free School has earned attention for its open structure and regular democratic meetings, where students debate how to handle problems like boredom and whether playing video games on the school computers should be considered a learning activity. The higher tuition costs do tend to attract wealthier families with well-supported children, but many go out of their way to provide assistance to low-income families, favoring diversity over bill-paying. The Manhattan Free School in Harlem makes do on an annual budget of $100,000 and collects full tuition from only 20 percent of its students. The Brooklyn Free School operates on a sliding scale of tuition, collecting full payment from only half of its students, with some paying as little as $20 every few weeks.

It’s a common misnomer to assume no student evaluation happens in environments like these, but in most cases free-school environments require more teacher attention than traditional classrooms. Instead of testing for comprehension of a select group of facts or ideas, teachers constantly monitor a child’s behavior, support an array of student experimentation, and subtly encourage efforts that best match the student’s abilities. In free schools failure is not a punishment for bad study habits but the sign of students testing their knowledge to see if it holds true in practice. In our soccer analogy, success wouldn’t be evaluated by students scoring goals but in gradually learning how and why the ball curves in some cases and goes straight in others, a process that would surely produce many more misses than scores.

And free schools perform reasonably well. A survey of former students at Sudbury Valley School in Massachusetts found 80 percent of its students went on to college or professional school, and 20 percent enrolled in graduate programs. In 1998, 75 percent of Summerhill students who took Britain’s certificate-qualification exams passed.

Abandoning grades would be a massive shock, but holding onto them has not forestalled decay, from waves of school closures for poor standardized test results to the trillion-dollar debt guillotine awaiting college students who’ll struggle to win unpaid internships for all their hard work. Eliminating grades would not singlehandedly bring salvation. There is a whole new world of challenges and complications in a classroom without pedagogy and rank. But it would be an ideal place to start anew, to stop motivating students, teachers, and underperformers with the fear of being flunked, fired, or shut down. Without that dysfunctional ranking we could instead form a child’s education around his or her eagerness to discover, contribute, and share. An A-to-F grade scale is only a distraction from that process and in many cases an outright deterrent. It’s time to admit that system has no place in our future.

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Great Summer Reads

Excited that summer break has arrived, but have nothing in your picnic basket to read at the beach? Look no further!

Here is a list from Good Reads showcasing their summer 2013 reads–many of which you can easily check out here at the library! Remember–we’re here for you through the summer with all your book, research, and dvd needs. 🙂

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Happy May Day!!

Ever wonder the origins of today’s Spring holiday? Encyclopedia Britannica can help–learn something new below!

Traditional Maypole dance from England, with circle formation of dancers interweaving; detail from …
[Credit: Culver Pictures, Inc.]Maypole decorated with streamers.
[Credit: © Turbowerner/Fotolia]

May Day,in medieval and modern Europe, holiday (May 1) for the celebration of the return of spring. The observance probably originated in ancient agricultural rituals, and the Greeks and Romans held such festivals. Although later practices varied widely, the celebrations came to include the gathering of wildflowers and green branches, the weaving of floral garlands, the crowning of a May king and queen, and the setting up of a decorated May tree, or Maypole, around which people danced. Such rites originally may have been intended to ensure fertility for crops and, by extension, for livestock and humans, but in most cases this significance was gradually lost, so that the practices survived largely as popular festivities. Among the many superstitions associated with May Day was the belief that washing the face with dew on the morning of May 1 would beautify the skin. Because the Puritans of New England considered the celebrations of May Day to be licentious and pagan, they forbade its observance, and the holiday never became an important part of American culture. In the 20th century, traditional May Day celebrations declined in many countries as May 1 became associated with the international holiday honouring workers and the labour movement.

Article retrieved from Here!

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