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A Sage on the Stage

A Sage on the Stage

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Teachers are often told they need to be a guide on the side rather than a sage on the stage.


Michael Zwaagstra disagrees wholeheartedly.

In this collection of articles, one of Canada’s best-known education writers debunks the fads that are shortchanging children all over the world, from no-zero policies and discovery math to the 21st-century skills movement. And he makes a positive case for the things that really work: direct instruction, knowledge-rich classrooms, and lots of practice. If you care about improving teaching and learning, and empowering educators with the tools they need to be effective, this book is for you.

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Teachers are often told they need to be a guide on the side rather than a sage on the stage.


Michael Zwaagstra disagrees wholeheartedly.

In this collection of articles, one of Canada’s best-known education writers debunks the fads that are shortchanging children all over the world, from no-zero policies and discovery math to the 21st-century skills movement. And he makes a positive case for the things that really work: direct instruction, knowledge-rich classrooms, and lots of practice. If you care about improving teaching and learning, and empowering educators with the tools they need to be effective, this book is for you.

About the Author

Michael Zwaagstra is a public high school teacher and author. He has extensive teaching experience at a variety of grade levels and currently teaches high school social studies in Manitoba.



Michael received his Bachelor of Education, Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Education and Master of Education degrees from the University of Manitoba where he won numerous academic awards including the A. W. Hogg Undergraduate Scholarship, the Klieforth Prize in American History and the Schoolmasters’ Wives Association Scholarship. He also holds a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Liberty University and graduated with high distinction.



As an educator, Michael is a strong proponent of raising academic standards, holding schools accountable for their results and expanding the educational options available to parents. His reports and op-eds have addressed topics such as curriculum reform, teaching methodologies, assessment, and classroom management.



His columns promoting common sense education reforms have been published in major daily newspapers including the National Post, The Globe and Mail, the Vancouver Province, the Calgary Herald, the Winnipeg Free Press, and the Chronicle Herald. In the 2013 Canadian Community Newspaper Awards, Michael received second place in the Outstanding Columnist category. In 2014 and 2019, he received the Best Columnist award from the Manitoba Community Newspapers Association.

Michael is also a frequent guest on radio and television stations across the country. His first book, What’s Wrong with Our Schools and How We Can Fix Them (co-authored with Rodney Clifton and John Long), was released in 2010. What’s Wrong with Our Schools ignited debate on education reform across the country in school staff rooms, newspapers, and university campuses. 

Additional Information

Author Michael Zwaagstra
ISBN 9781912906703
No of pages 278
Format Paperback
Publication Date 28 Jan 2020

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