Reflecting on the research of my Gr. 4 teacher

Originally published April 11th, 2021 (Blogger)

(Mary Darmanin in 2009, from The Times of Malta)

Mrs. Darmanin, 1994

My mom, a Gr. 8 teacher for about 30 years, disliked most of my elementary school teachers. She never elaborated on why, but she often said “it’s a miracle you turned out the way you are, given the poor quality of education you had before high school”.

One of the few teachers she did admire was my Gr. 4 teacher, Mrs. Darmanin. I had just moved to a new school and Mrs. Darmanin was my first teacher; after a few days in her class, any fears I had about changing communities melted away. To…


How to challenge teacher’s identities so they stop damaging student mental health.

Originally published September 11th, 2020 (Blogger)

Photo by Francisco Moreno on Unsplash

Hey, teacher…leave those kids alone

Once upon a time, when I was a hospital teacher, I was trying to get a very bright 17 year old girl back into her school. She fought every step of the way.

“Help me understand this,” I asked. “You’re smart. You’re capable. You have plans for your future. You’re so close to graduating. Why don’t you want to go back?”

Her response, in seven words, revolutionized my entire identity as a teacher.

“I love learning…but I hate school.”

She had a choice between school or self-harm. …


How ubuntu could solve education crises in Canada and Hong Kong.

Originally published March 6th, 2020 (Blogger)

Photo by AJ Colores on Unsplash

In recent years there has been a deep-rooted disassociation between the state and its citizens — Black Lives Matter, Idle No More, March for Our Lives, the Arab Spring, the Yellow Vests movement, the Wet’suwet’en pipeline protests, and more. These movements, and others, are born out of the belief that people have been ignored, victimized, or disrespected by their governments for too long.

It’s not just sweeping social movements, however. This instability is happening on a micro-level in classrooms across the country. In…


Difficult conversations will make civic education relevant again.

Originally published August 19th, 2020 (Blogger)

Photo by Juan Rojas on Unsplash

Civic education in Ontario is flawed. Schools give perfunctory lip-service to FNMI treaty rights by starting each day with a “land acknowledgement” so banal it is mocked on the CBC, Canada’s national broadcaster. Our civics curriculum is written so that the Indigenous perspective is disenfranchised. “Political equality” is mouthed, but meaningful economic redistribution and cultural recognition are not enshrined within our institutions or public life. Without equal distribution of power, equal opportunity cannot be achieved.

So, as a critical educator, it is my task to identify…


Using the BRYT model to improve Section 23 programs in Ontario.

Originally published December 26th, 2019 (Blogger)

Photo by Joshua Fuller on Unsplash

About three years into my teaching career, I got a position in a hospital. Nothing prepared me for it. Nothing in my undergrads, or in my B.Ed year, or in my previous years of work, or of life. I walked in to that hospital at the age of twenty-seven, and walked out four years later feeling as though I had aged a lifetime.

This program was designed for children and youth struggling with mental health issues. For a variety of reasons, they couldn’t be in school — their anxiety or depression kept them out…


How digital education has failed civics students, and why China can help.

Originally published February 17th, 2020 (Blogger)

Over 100 students stage a sit-in on the lawn at Queen’s Park in Toronto to follow up the #WeTheStudentsDoNotConsent walkout, Sept. 23, 2018. (Steve Russell via Getty Images) Taken from https://tinyurl.com/ycjfeqc9

#StudentVoice

In the spring of 2019, high school students across Ontario walked out of schools en masse. They were protesting the Conservative government’s proposed changes to the education system — four mandatory online classes; increased class sizes; reduced funding to autism programming; and a decrease in funding that would lead to thousands of teachers losing their jobs. The government accused the students of being manipulated by teacher’s unions. The students organized around a hashtag (#WeTheStudentsDoNotConsent) and spoke eloquently on national news.

At a time when mislabeled “millennials” are universally painted with the same brush —…

Mario Mabrucco

Toronto educator | M.Ed in Curriculum Design & Education Policy | Research & reflection| Views my own | He/him/his | Twitter: @mr_mabruc

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