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Living the Standards
by Lois Browne
Port Perry teacher Dave Robinson co-ordinates teachers and more than 3,600 students on this trip to the historic ridge.
by Leanne Miller
Educators from across the province who had an opportunity to look at the revised ethical standards and standards of practice during a series of regional forums were enthusiastic about their usefulness for the induction of new teachers and general professional development.
“The standards are alive and well in the Rainbow District School Board,” says Director of Education Jean Hanson. “We've been using the standards in our staff selection and performance appraisal processes since they were first introduced and the changes we heard about today will help to bring a sharper focus to the work we do.”
Hanson was speaking in Sudbury during a break in the College presentation on October 25. The College held a series of regional forums in Ontario centres in October to introduce the newly revised standards to teacher federations, faculties of education, school board officials, the Ministry of Education, parent and student groups and other stakeholders. The forums were held in Windsor, Toronto, Sudbury and Ottawa.
Council Chair Marilyn Laframboise told an audience of 25 education partners in Windsor, where the regional forums began on October 16, “The standards express values and skills that teachers believe are at the heart of their profession. These are the foundations on which we base all our interactions with students, our colleagues and the community. The standards are even more, however. They also communicate to the public our willingness to be accountable to parents and the community for how we do our job.”
Laframboise emphasized the participation of members in revising the standards. “Our members were the best source of information about how to refine the standards to ensure that they continue to reflect a teaching profession that is always evolving,” she said.
“Hundreds of members took part in consultations and workshops and thousands more filled out questionnaires and submitted written comments as part of the review. These are truly standards that have been written by the profession for the profession.”
The new standards were the result of a period of consultation with teachers and other members of the profession who provided direction to the College in workshops and case institutes, through questionnaires and surveys on what, in the old standards, remained an accurate reflection of the profession and what needed updating.
Representatives of teacher education programs, teacher federations, the Ministry of Education, trustees, parent groups and student organizations heard from College staff about how the ethical standards and standards of practice have changed.
Joanne Shea, principal of St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School, who used the original standards as an instructor in the Principals' Qualification Program at the University of Windsor, was pleased to see the changes to the ethical standards. “They were meaningful as they were,” she says, “but not easy to describe or discuss. The four core values that make up the ethical standards now will be really beneficial in staff development.”
Shea says she will be using the revised standards in induction sessions with new teachers and in regular staff development. “The standards are especially useful in discussing who we are as professionals and what principles underlie our interaction with our students.”
New resource kit
More than 200 people attended the forums where they also received an advance look at new teacher education resources, including a DVD titled Living the Standards.
The multi-media resource presents members of the profession and the public talking about teaching. Teacher candidates, teachers, principals and other educators reflect on stories from their teaching careers that illustrate aspects of the standards.
In one video a group of parents discuss their own and their children's most positive learning experiences and look at how those experiences are reflected in the standards.
Complementing the videos are a series of six booklets that provide further teaching situations and suggest ways in which to use Living the Standards in various professional contexts.
Former Council member Jenny Pitt, one of the teachers featured in Living the Standards, speaks about the part the standards played in her role as chair of the Standards of Practice and Education Committee and as a chemistry teacher at a Toronto private school.
She told the Toronto gathering that Living the Standards and other resources were developed because members requested them. “The Standards of Practice and Education Committee believes that teachers can be their own experts – that they have insider information and that their insights, cases and all of their professional experiences can be used to enrich further professional learning.”
Manager of Standards of Practice and Education Unit Déirdre Smith took participants through the revised standards and touched briefly on the newest resource.
“Living the Standards is one of the most comprehensive standards-related tools ever produced by the College,” says Smith. “Members of the profession share their teaching experiences and relate them to the new standards in a way that all teachers – but especially new teachers – will find very compelling. We believe that school boards, teacher education programs and individual teachers will find Living the Standards a very useful resource.”
Learning resources for engaging in critical dialogue and reflection are available for viewing on the College web site at www.oct.ca.
Ethical dilemmas of practice
Share your experience
Educators are invited to share, in writing, ethical dilemmas they have experienced in professional practice.
Visit the College web site at www.oct.ca to download the template for submitting your written reflection.
Submit the completed template to firstname.lastname@example.org.
These written reflections will be used to further inform the College's work with the revised standards and to assist educators in responding to ethical dilemmas.
You are invited to learn all about the revised ethical standards and standards of practice, including:
Find out about related resources for teacher education and the teaching profession.
College members are invited to participate in any of the currently scheduled bilingual forums:
To take part you must complete the registration form found at www.oct.ca and send it to the address indicated.
Registered participants will receive a package of materials prior to the sessions.