Quality Learning: Wishful thinking or a crucial part of better Education? Part 1

I attended the Four-Day seminar conducted by David Langford in July 2015. The seminar dealt with the principles developed by W. Edwards Deming (and others) to create what they called a virtuous cycle to improve manufacturing processes in industry.

David Langford, with Deming’s strong support,

Most education systems–there are exceptions–around the world have a significant amount of testing and ranking embedded in their structure.

But is it good for learning? Does it serve a purpose, and what might that purpose be? Does it meet the needs of learners–and teachers for that matter–so they are engaged, motivated by their learning, and excited by making new connections? Who is responsible for improving a system like a school, school district or state/provincial education entity?

W. Edwards Deming always held that EVERYBODY is responsible for improving the system they work or live with! By everybody he also meant students!

But he cautioned that changing a system without adequate data or information is asking for real trouble. he also said that the data needs to be valid and reliable. For example, we don’t read tea leaves to forecast the weather because it is not valid. If we used our feeling or heat of the sun on our face to determine temperature we are not using a reliable method. What we do is consult–most of us use the web–scientific, reliable and valid information. Of course, we could create our own local weather station using tested and certified equipment.

Langford used the tested and proven process ideas from Deming to drive a continuous improvement process in the school where he first put this structure in place see :Quality Or Else.

Interested in more of what Langford says about continuous improvement, watch this:

2012 David Langford – When Deming Goes to School, Learning Takes a Front Seat

Trustee Elections 2018: SD72


My name id Christian Stapff and I am running for trustee this coming election in SD 72.

Who am I?

I grew in Germany, my family emigrated to Australia and I met my wife, who is Canadian, there.

I am an educator who has taught in Australia, and here in Canada, and I believe education is the key to a better life.  I believe that we need to pair children with their strengths and what they want to do for their working life. After all for many they are likely to hold such a job for quite some time. But more importantly, we need our children to acquire skills which allow them the transition  almost seamlessly if their job becomes redundant, or they want to expand their skill set and job opportunities.

I believe public education is the key to a balanced, democratic and fair society. We often take our Canadian education system for granted, but it is highly regarded in Asia and elsewhere; and the BC education system just as much, if not more so.

I say this as my son graduated from CARIHI, and my daughter will do so in a few years.

My son did not always get the best grades, but where he got excited he did well and understood his performance was a function of his effort not just talent–an important lesson.

My son is now at university and I can say it has shaped him in positive ways and helped give him the confidence to tackle the thing called university.

I want to serve this community by offering my expertise and contribute to shaping a system which  views getting better, through continuous improvement, as the only way to move forward meaningfully.

What can a newcomer like me offer as Trustee in the Campbell River School District?

I asked myself this question when I considered running.

Well, I am an experienced educator with 25 years of teaching experience in various educational settings.

I take the view that any student can reach an excellent level of performance, skill and know-how given the right system and expectations. the emphasis is on the word “SYSTEM” (more on that in a another piece of writing).

I am also intimately familiar with the BC education system with its strengths and weaknesses. We are good but we can improve and should find ways to do so.And I am able to ask questions which will require a better response than ” We think we are pretty good” or ” Our systems are working well”.

I have taught in settings with primarily First Nations students and know the challenges and hurdles some students face in school. I know that connecting with students beyond their learning outcomes, tests and other assessments is vital if students are going to stay excited about learning. For many kids  feeling connected to adults, who care, is the key to showing up every day and putting the effort to work through the tasks teachers set.

By now It should be clear that I am pro-teacher, pro-school and pro-public education.

I experienced the BC system when it was starved of funds; something only a Supreme Court of Canada decision would change not long ago; and this effort over 15 years was driven by teachers who believed their students deserved much better.

My contribution to be an effective trustee is asking  the right questions, looking for the right data and making well-considered and though through recommendations.

I look forward to serving.




Public versus Private Education–a never ending debate?

I read recently about research conducted in Australia which seems to refute the Advantage private schools seemed to have over public schools.

A quick sketch of Australian education:

Almost four out of ten students graduate from a private school. Yet on P.I.S.A. studies, the international study which first highlighted Finland as the country to watch, Australia’s performance is average. Given the advantage of the private school influence in Australia one would have assumed this would translate into above average performance, and by above average performance I mean performance due to the schooling, not socio-economic status, parent income, books in the home, parent education and a mother who does not work long hours. These factors were the ones found that distinguish private school from public school performance, or in other words the school did not add value to a student’s academic achievement in numeracy, literacy and other P.I.S.A. tests.

From a system’s perspective the above makes sense in that teacher training in a country is essentially the same for public and private schools. The skill set would vary relatively little, methodology would be relatively   Consistent, and while teaching experience will vary with length of service, there are likely few positive outliers that would change