Mock game shows, graffiti-making, role-playing and a host of other creative learning strategies are a key part of a new classroom resource that helps junior high students make better choices about drugs and alcohol. A Question of Influence, a Teacher’s Drug Education Resource for the Grades 7-9 Health/Personal Development and Relationships program, was introduced to schools today, May 17, by the province. The resource, field-tested in almost 40 schools across Nova Scotia, is designed to better prepare junior high students for the risks, and challenges, they will face as they get older. “It can be a dangerous world out there. Our students are facing a wide variety of subtle and not-so-subtle influences beyond the school grounds — not all of them positive,” said Education Minister Karen Casey. “I am confident that A Question of Influence will have a positive impact on the decisions students make in their lives.” Many drug-education programs tend to focus on urging students to stay clear of all harmful substances, while devoting a great deal of class time on the physiological and psychological effects of a variety of drugs. A Question of Influence — built on the best practices from drug-education curriculum from around the world — focuses primarily on helping students understand, and deal with, the factors that influence substance-use decisions. It aims to create greater awareness of three spheres of influence — personal, social or interpersonal, and cultural or environmental — and to develop skills to analyze and minimize their impact. Each unit is tailored to meet the needs of each grade level. The Grade 7 unit is designed to prevent or delay substance use by providing students with the skills they need to identify what influences their decisions. The Grade 8 unit emphasizes sound decision-making by helping students clearly understand the risks and harms linked to substance use. The last unit addresses the real possibility that Grade 9 students may find themselves in high-risk situations, and teaches techniques to help them get out of difficult circumstances. “A Question of Influence will teach young teens ways to reduce and avoid substance use during a critical period in their development,” said Health Promotion and Protection Minister Barry Barnet. The resource targets alcohol and cannabis, the two substances Nova Scotia junior high students are most likely to encounter, according to the 2002 Nova Scotia Student Drug Use Survey. Teacher Alexander MacDougall, who piloted the resource at Bedford Junior High, says the critical thinking skills promoted by A Question of Influence are making a difference. “This new resource contains materials, examples and activities which really do speak to today’s students,” he said. “Its emphasis on decision-making and choices is appropriate for our young people.”
Program delays and cash concerns within Bombardier’s Inc.’s aerospace division won’t deter Air Canada from considering its new CSeries commercial aircraft, Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu said Tuesday.The head of the country’s largest airline said the CSeries will definitely be in the running when Air Canada replaces its remaining 90-seat Embraer 190s single-aisle planes after 2020.“When those Embraers come out, for sure the Bombardier CSeries will be an alternative, 100%,” he told reporters after speaking to the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations.Bombardier Inc CEO Pierre Beaudoin steps down in major shakeup at struggling plane makerBombardier Inc: The top 5 problems that need to be fixedCritics take aim at Bombardier Inc leadership as delays, missed targets batter share priceAir Canada announced about a year ago that it will buy as many as 109 Boeing 737 MAX planes during the next decade but could select the more cost-efficient CSeries to replace the remaining 25 Embraer planes. Mr. Rovinescu didn’t say when an order could be placed.While he said Bombardier has to make its case for the 110- to 160-seat plane, Mr. Rovinescu said he doesn’t believe Bombardier’s recent struggles are an issue.“I certainly would not be concerned if I was in the market for airplanes today and I don’t think that that will be an issue,” he added.Last week, Bombardier hired former United Technologies executive Alain Bellemare to replace chief executive Pierre Beaudoin, who took the job of executive chairman.It also said it will shore up its finances by suspending its dividend and working to raise an additional US$2.1 billion in capital.Handout/Bombardier Rovinescu predicted Bombardier will come out of its challenges much stronger, like Air Canada has done since avoiding another round of bankruptcy protection several years ago.