What makes us want to learn at any age? Something stirs us to curiosity and wonder.

CURRICULUM

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

      Kids have trouble seeing the use of a lot of what they are taught. Even the highest achievers often report that their chief motivation is external – they want to do well so they can get into a programme and then a profession they see as desirable. They often complain of being forced to cram, of having to regurgitate. How can we get away from this model of teaching as the transmission of textbook material?

      What makes us want to learn at any age? Something stirs us to curiosity and wonder. Where’s the pleasure in it? Not in being tested, but in finding out. Not in assignments and limitations, but in freedom to explore. Museums are treasure houses full of rare, strange, and telling objects, made to prick our desire to know.

       Museums are perfect settings for learning in other ways – they hold research as well as display collections; they are staffed with knowledgeable curators. And they are welcoming. They are not for adults only, or for an elite membership: they are open to the general public. Museums have a mission to educate as well as to collect, preserve and exhibit.

     There is something about a museum that invites wandering and examining and asking questions. You are surrounded by objects for study, and each one leads out to a myriad of fields. This is a natural setting for active, individual learning.

   Being museum-based means we frequent the key Toronto collections – the A.G.O., the Gardiner Museum of Ceramics, the R.O.M., the Textile Museum, and dozens of other sites and collections. We bring our students into the world of all that the Muses love, for other cultural institutions are also literally museums. We attend lectures and master classes at Toronto’s many post-secondary venues. We go to concerts and performances, laboratories, observatories, studios.

       Artists and thinkers bring their work to us. Using these holdings and experiences, our students reach advanced skills in inquiry and research.

     The Dragon Academy is a unique experiment. There are only a handful of true museum schools worldwide, and we believe ours to be the only complete high school programme.

SCIENTISTS IN ACTION

Dragon recognizes the primary goal of science as understanding, a way to unlock both the natural and the human-designed worlds. Scientific literacy is far more than an encyclopedia of facts, descriptions and explanations. As scientific theories and concepts undergo constant evolution, as human interventions in the natural world create dangerous changes and present extraordinary solutions, our students need to understand how scientific knowledge is generated and validated, how to assess issues of ethics and impact. The scientific method has broad implications for critical thinking, design and creation. We do Dragons the justice of exploring these.

CORE SUBJECTS

CANADIAN AND WORLD STUDIES

How can we be worthy citizens of democracy if we are ignorant of economics, geography, history, law or politics? Dragon is exceptional in its commitment to freedom of thought and expression, its emphasis on our global citizenship. Through thought-provoking studies of challenging texts and current events, Dragons develop skills in research, communication, creative problem-solving, critical analysis and critical thinking. They understand Canada’s heritage, and value social justice. Dragon has built rich and intellectually rigorous offerings on the Revised Ontario Curriculum in Canadian and World Studies.

CLASSICAL AND INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGES

The classical world left a sizeable imprint on modern western civilization, and Dragons are privileged to have the opportunity to study classical languages and civilizations even as many other schools have eliminated these courses.  Our web of connections in Toronto’s multicultural communities have enabled Dragons to study a wide variety of modern languages, from Spanish to Finnish.  Our interdisciplinary approach, our commitment to understanding diverse cultures and their contribution to Canada’s inclusive society promote deep appreciation of and respect for the identities, rights and values of others.

COMPUTER SCIENCES

In the constantly evolving world of technological capability, traditional emphasis on computer programming and familiarity with last year’s software underestimates this dynamic field.  Dragons are exposed to the potential of emerging technologies, and our Computer Studies program develops understanding of creative problem-solving and design frameworks across fields, as computer science changes the way we think and dream.

ENGLISH

Why study your mother tongue?  Mastery of English is more than effective communication and literacy.  Dragon’s offerings in English go far beyond the expectations of the Revised Ontario Curriculum in English to inspire our students as deep readers, creative writers, and subtle thinkers, alive to subtext and allusion.  Our faculty and adjuncts include academic specialists, novelists, journalists, poets, and playwrights.  Our city offers literary readings, academic lectures, living theatre.  We agree with the great critic, Harold Bloom, “We read deeply for varied reasons: that we cannot know enough people profoundly enough; that we need to know ourselves better; that we require knowledge, not just of self and others, but of the way things are.  Yet the strongest, most authentic motive for deep reading is the search for a difficult pleasure.” No matter what you’ve heard, reading is not dying.  At Dragon it is a vivid pleasure.

FRENCH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE

Ours is officially a bilingual society.  Too many students resent the requirement of “taking” French, and emerge from their requisite 710 hours of French instruction barely able to understand elementary phrases.  Dragons discover the world of French culture, another way of thinking and understanding, the at times hidden roots of Canadian culture.  The Dragon French program exposes students to French sources of modernist, structuralist, psychoanalytic and post-modernist thought, making the French connection across the curriculum.  Dragons explore the lively Francophone culture of Toronto through The Alliance Francaise, TIFF, and the Theatre Francais.   The study of French becomes a mark of sophistication,  comme il faut.

GUIDANCE AND CAREER EDUCATION

Dragon’s commitment to lifelong learning, to collaboration, to social justice enriches our offerings in these often-neglected curriculum areas.  By drawing connections to philosophy, politics, the social sciences and humanities, by including meaningful connections with professionals in careers related to the subject area of each course, by pursuing knowledge of theory and experiment, we encourage Dragons to think deeply about the personal and social implications of their studies in Guidance and Career Education.

HEALTH AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION

Dragon admires, applauds and supports our athletes, but the mission of our health and physical education program is to promote healthy, active living.  Dragons discover the dangers of being a couch potato, the risks of the many temptations available to an adolescent in a big city.  Dragons engage in action research on the challenges they face, and construct and promote behavioural change. Through memberships at the JCC, we get Dragons engaged in activities that will enable lifelong fitness.  And they understand the connection between personal choice and social change.

MATHEMATICS

Mathematics is a language of great beauty and utility.  Dragon challenges old models of mathematical learning, to engage our students in understanding the deep principles and versatile applications of mathematical thinking.  We teach mathematics through active investigation.  We draw connections across the curriculum,  finding opportunities for mathematical creativity.  The content of the Revised Ontario Curriculum in Mathematics becomes meaningful and powerful as Dragons develop logic, reason, critical thinking and problem-solving.  We recognize and honour mathematics as a universal of human culture, and a key to cosmic structure.

SCIENCE

Dragon recognizes the primary goal of science as understanding, a way to unlock both the natural and the human-designed worlds.  Scientific literacy is far more than an encyclopedia of facts, descriptions and explanations.  As scientific theories and concepts undergo constant evolution, as human interventions in the natural world create dangerous changes and present extraordinary solutions, our students need to understand how scientific knowledge is generated and validated, how to assess issues of ethics and impact.  The scientific method has broad implications for critical thinking, design and creation.  We do Dragons the justice of exploring these.

SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES

At Dragon we are deeply engaged with finding meaning in society.  Our courses in the Social Sciences and Humanities are not mere surveys, but offer strong foundations in Anthropology, Psychology and Sociology, Philosophy, and World Religions.  Dragons read important texts, become familiar with paradigm shifting ideas, and become proficient in analytical, critical and speculative modes.  The great philosophical questions about the nature of existence, knowledge,  truth, justice, right and beauty run throughout our curriculum.  This is part of developing imagination, consciousness and commitment to social justice.  It is also beautiful and intellectually inspiring.

VISUAL ARTS

Experiences in the arts are fundamental to our humanity.  In a world where funding to professional, amateur and educational arts programs is constantly under threat, and arts education is increasingly limited to a handful of dedicated schools, Dragon is unique in offering a serious, experiential arts program through all grade levels,  meaningfully integrated across the curriculum, and exploring dance, drama, media arts, music, the visual arts and creative writing.  Dragon arts faculty are also professional practitioners, and we draw on a wide community of guests and the rich offerings of our world-class city.   Building on the Revised Ontario Arts Curriculum, Dragons develop their creativity, explore their identities, and find a sense of wonder.

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HOMEWORK:

Homework: while the Dragon is neither increasing nor decreasing the amount of homework given to students this academic year, we are making our expectations clearer. In the elementary and lower schools, it is expected that homework will supplement work begun in class on reading and writing, mathematics and science. Individual teachers may have single assignments that go beyond this standard practice, but it should not occur daily. However, as students reach the highest levels of high school, and are preparing for the type of work they will find at university, time spent on homework should naturally increase. Universities have not done away with homework, nor have the businesses and professions our students will eventually join, so we must prepare them for a world where they will complete work outside of school. While the move from high school to university inevitably involves learning to cope with increased levels of work, we do not want to exacerbate that gap by avoiding homework at the high school level entirely.​

Our dual aim is to excite our students about learning, and to give them the foundation for academic success. We make homework an extension of the pleasure of learning, not drudgery.

 

REPORT CARDS:

The report card provides a record of the learning skills demonstrated by the student in every course, in the following five categories: Independent work, Collaboration, Responsibility, Initiative and Self Regulation. The learning skills are evaluated using a four-point scale (E-Excellent, G-Good, S-Satisfactory, N-Needs Improvement). The separate evaluation and reporting of the learning skills in these five areas reflect their critical role in students' achievement of the curriculum expectations. To the extent possible, the evaluation of learning skills, apart from any that may be included as part of a curriculum expectation in a course, should not be considered in the determination of percentage grades.

 

Formal reports are issued at the end of each term. The school year is divided into four terms: I. September to the end of October; II. November to the end of January; III. February to the beginning of April; IV. April to June.  The student’s achievement will be expressed in terms of a cumulative percentage grade as well as through comment and documentation. 

 

At The Dragon, we offer not only external accreditation, but our own, an innovative record of educational achievement, which improves educational diagnosis, monitors student progress, involves students in their own assessment, and stimulates response in curriculum and teaching to student needs. 

35 Prince Arthur Avenue

M5R 1B2

Toronto, On.

Tel: (416) 323-3243

Fax: (416) 323-7780

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