Originally posted on National Post | News:

[np_storybar title=”Chris Selley: Toronto school board director apologizes for massive plagiarism. Is it enough?” link=”http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/01/09/chris-selley-toronto-school-board-director-commits-apologizes-for-massive-plagiarism/”]

Chris Spence, the TDSB’s director of education, is an interesting study. One on one, he gives a polished, measured interview that would warm the cockles of any PR consultant.

But as an orator, he can bring a room full of teachers to its feet with a “let’s go out there and educate the hell out of those kids” pep talk worthy of (and indeed born in) a pro football locker room. I find it a very odd spectacle, but hey, the more enthusiastic teachers are, the better.

One of the central contradictions in his messaging, in my view, is between demanding tough-love accountability from students and not driving them away by penalizing lack of follow-through. I suppose this is widespread among modern educators, but in Spence’s case both seem central to his overall educational philosophy.

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