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December 1999

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Teachers Play an Important Role in the Work of Committees

Council is looking for ways to involve more College members in the work of the ever-growing number of subcommittees and panels.

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By Donna Marie Kennedy

As I write this column, the College has not yet had any news from the Ministry of Education on teacher testing. I know this is a major topic of discussion for many people, inside and outside the profession. We are waiting for formal communication from the Ministry of Education on this issue, and once we receive it, we will respond.

In the meantime, College staff are busily compiling research from around the globe on teacher re-certification. I can assure you that in the past the College has relied on sound research and broad consultation with the public and the profession when making decisions and will continue to do so.

You will find a report in the Blue Pages of a meeting that Registrar Margaret Wilson and I had with Minister of Education Janet Ecker on August 10, when Ms. Ecker toured the College. The meeting was both pleasant and productive. The Minister understands regulatory bodies and is well aware of the College’s achievements. Her commitment to regularly scheduled meetings with both College Council and staff is very welcome. We look forward to working with the education ministry on issues that have an impact on all of us.


I think you will find the Michael Fullan and Andy Hargreaves article, "Mentoring in the New Millennium," very relevant to our profession today. Mentoring has always been a part of teaching. In this issue’s "Remarkable Teacher," broadcaster Elwy Yost recalls collegial relationships that were a form of mentoring during his teaching experiences. Formal mentoring, however, has always been more elusive.

Ontario has tried mentoring initiatives such as induction programs, for example, but as Hargreaves and Fullan mention, implementation has been a problem. Some years ago, peer coaching was introduced in many jurisdictions. It was, and still is, an excellent approach, but here, too, implementation has been difficult. Peer coaching demands an extensive commitment of time on the part of teachers and boards and, as we all know, time is a precious commodity for educators.

All the institutions in the educational community – universities, school boards, teacher federations and the Ministry of Education – have a responsibility to see that the essential elements of time, expertise and resources are an integral part of any new initiative.


The collegial professionalism discussed in the Fullan and Hargreaves article reflects much of the essence of the Standards of Practice for the Teaching Profession. The five key elements of the standards – commitment to students and student learning, professional knowledge, teaching practice, leadership and community and ongoing professional learning – define who we are as professionals. Mentoring is a viable and logical way to continue to re-energize and improve the profession.


The number of teachers who actively manage their own professional learning is highlighted in the article about the College’s recent professional learning survey. The survey attracted an above-average number of responses. We’re fortunate to have had the participation of such a large number of teachers who volunteered to fill in the survey, be part of a focus group or work with a committee.

The College is always looking for new volunteers to serve on our ever-increasing number of subcommittees. I particularly want to encourage classroom teachers to submit their names to the College if you are interested in getting involved. You can find information on Council committee openings in the magazine or on the College’s web site.

The College Council is eager to find ways to further involve members in committees and panels. This will require changes to our bylaws and, in some cases, changes to regulations. Nonetheless, it is something that can only benefit the College and the profession.