Connecting through social media
As you know, there’s a lot of talk these days about electronic communication and social media in the classroom. From e-mail to wikis, Facebook to YouTube, teachers and educators across the province have questions, concerns and ideas about these ever-present and ever-growing media.
That’s why, last May, the College offered advice to teachers with the Professional Advisory on the Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media.
It’s important to stress that we are not saying to teachers to not use social media.
The College recognizes that electronic communication and social media offer exciting new opportunities for reaching students.
What we’re saying is to use social media responsibly and effectively. Establish suitable virtual boundaries. Keep our profession’s ethical standards – care, trust, respect and integrity – in line of sight.
As teachers, we model professionalism and responsibility for our students in both the real world and the virtual world.
Maintaining professional boundaries in all forms of communication is vital to keeping the public trust and appropriate professional relationships.
The advisory clarifies members’ responsibilities – whether they are teachers, principals, supervisory officers or directors of education – when using electronic communication and social media, so they can govern their conduct and understand what conduct may not meet professional standards.
Keeping teaching relevant for students
A growing number of Ontario teachers are committed to professional development to improve their practice and keep their teaching relevant and inspiring for students.
It’s not surprising therefore to see that teachers were front and centre in the many groundbreaking changes in the new Teachers’ Qualifications Regulation (TQR). The regulation has undergone a sweeping revision as the College follows through on the proposals in our paper Preparing Teachers for Tomorrow.
Among the highlights of the revision is the new three-course specialist Kindergarten program that the College approved in 2011.
The demand was high for this new course – teachers were clamouring for it because it provides them with the opportunity to gain the specialized knowledge they desire.
The Specialist Kindergarten course provides the right tools to promote holistic play-based environments that stimulate inquiry and enhance learning and development for each student.
Through play-based learning and small group instruction, children develop a strong foundation for learning in all areas, including language and math. They engage in healthy physical activities and the arts, and develop socially and emotionally through interaction with their peers.
This course is part of 123 courses the College has developed or revised on a wide range of subjects over the last two years. Teachers can now take AQs in areas such as mentoring, American Sign Language, outdoor experiential education and inclusive education. We want to have courses that are pertinent and reflect what the teaching profession needs in the 21st century.
Joseph W. Atkinson scholarship
In 2011, the College named Courtney Edwards as our ninth Joseph W. Atkinson scholarship recipient.
Edwards is a teacher candidate at the University of Ottawa with two engineering degrees from Carleton University and an unwavering commitment to community, both locally and globally. She is studying to become qualified in Intermediate and Senior division physics and math.
She loves working with students and enjoys seeing their eyes light up with that I’ve-got-it moment.
Edwards was considering a career in international development when she began her undergraduate degree. She worked extensively with Engineers Without Borders (EWB), where she came to see how important education in Canada can be in creating global citizens.
Many awards and honours decorate Courtney Edwards’s resume, including the Carleton University Board of Governors’ 2009 Award for Outstanding Community Achievement.
Council members and College staff have shown themselves to be strongly committed to the profession every day through the expertise and care they bring to their work. College staff members work hard to ensure that our members get the best service possible.
They support the teaching profession every day through the expertise and commitment they bring to their work. To all of them, I offer my admiration and thanks for the progress we’ve made and a job well done in 2011.
Liz Papadopoulos, OCT