Challenges for the New Council
The work of the Council over the past three years has benefited greatly from the input of College members. It's important that the new Council get the same kind of help.

By Larry M. Capstick

The election and appointment of new members of the College Council will be taking place this spring and the new Council will assume its responsibilities on May 1.

As I look back at the past two and a half years, I am struck by the changes that have occurred in such a short time. At the outset, the new Council and Registrar focused on the implementation of a communications strategy to improve the links between the College and its membership. Government initiatives on teacher testing and ongoing professional development soon shifted that focus and agenda.

That's unfortunate, because I believe there still exists among our membership a fundamental misunderstanding about the College's legislated role. Members continue to ask why the College is not representing them and their interests.

The College needs to do much more to distinguish its regulatory nature from that of the federations, which are responsible for representing the interests of individual teachers.

Challenges Remain
There remain a number of challenges for the next Council. One of them is to promote and advance what is in the best interests of the profession, as well as the public interest.

Charles Pascal, former deputy minister of education, in the first issue of the Ontario Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development's new journal, Changing Perspectives, summed up my view. "The constant public ridicule under which our teachers have been toiling during the past few years is simply not helpful," he wrote.

"The College of Teachers is a welcome addition to the mix and needs to continue developing its usefulness." He also says that the College must continue to offer advice to the government, whether it heeds that advice or not.

The College has made considerable progress over the past three years in a number of areas. One of the most significant is the passage of the accreditation regulation and the successful completion of the three-year accreditation pilot project. Every faculty of education participated in this process, which I believe has led to some important subsequent developments.

Crucial Link
A forum was created wherein faculties, boards of education, federations, students and individual teachers came together to identify best practices within the limits of the College's Professional Learning Framework for the Teaching Profession. Teacher Education Advisory Committees are operating at all faculties today, a link between the faculties and the field that will be crucial to the success of pre-service education programs.

The second greatest number of recommendations to come out of the pilot project dealt with issues related to the associate teacher, an issue that has been under scrutiny for years. It was my personal interest in the role of the associate teacher that sparked my original involvement on the College Council and I'm very pleased that we've been able to move this issue forward.

The Accreditation Committee of this second Council has confirmed that it is time to act on recommendations made in reports such as the 1968 Provincial Committee on Aims and Objectives of Education in Schools in Ontario and the 1995 report of the Royal Commission on Learning. In the near future, the College will invite education stakeholders to participate in a process that will address the role of the associate teacher and will establish the significance of the practicum component of pre-service teacher education.

Many Thanks
The College has had and will continue to face challenges. To those volunteers who have participated in College-sponsored activities such as focus groups, information sessions or forums, I express thanks on behalf of the Council.

To those who have written or e-mailed advice and comments, both positive and negative, I want to assure you that they have been shared with Council. I encourage you to continue the dialogue since to do otherwise would deprive the College of important input. I also encourage you to participate in the election of the next Council.

I want to express my gratitude for the opportunity to serve this Council and this profession of which I am extremely proud.

Home | Masthead | Archives

From the Chair  |   Registrar's Report  |   Remarkable Teachers  |   Blue Pages
News  |   Reviews  |   Calendar  |   Netwatch  |   FAQ  |   Letters to the Editor

Ontario College of Teachers
121 Bloor Street East, 6th Floor Toronto  ON M4W 3M5
Phone: 416-961-8800 Toll-free: 1-888-534-2222 Fax: 416-961-8822