Governing Ourselves informs members of legal and regulatory matters affecting the profession. This section provides updates on licensing and qualification requirements, notification of Council resolutions and reports from various Council committees, including reports on accreditation and discipline matters.
Next year, the College will launch a new Additional Qualification (AQ) course designed to help teachers acquire the knowledge, skills and judgment to effectively respond to the educational needs of LGBTQ students. The College began laying the groundwork for the course content by inviting both teachers and students to share their ideas, concerns and perspectives.
A group of interested teachers gathered this past April to begin the conversation. When they returned to their respective schools, they nominated students to contribute to the next wave of discussions. In May, students from Grades 5 to 12 from across the province gathered at the College’s Toronto office (accompanied by their parents or teachers) to speak candidly and offer their ideas.
Joe Jamieson, OCT, Deputy Registrar for the College, welcomed the students and underscored how their contributions could help create positive change in the education NEW AQ ON TEACHING LGBTQ STUDENTS AVAILABLE IN 2016 system. “You are part of something that’s of big importance in the province of Ontario,” he said. “You are shaping this course for teachers [by helping us with the] knowledge and skills we need to have to be effective teachers for those in the queer community.”
In a large group session, and then in smaller breakout groups, students generated topics of conversation, brainstormed ideas and relayed experiences with representatives from the Egale Canada Human Rights Trust, who helped facilitate the day. The experiences and perspectives students shared will help form the basis for a relevant and effective AQ course. For the students involved, the chance to be heard — and to influence the future — is a welcome and empowering opportunity.
With research complete, a team of teachers will meet in September to take the lessons learned from those sessions and shape them into a 125-hour AQ course, available to College members in 2016, called Teaching LGBTQ Students.
The timing of the AQ reflects an increased cultural awareness of the challenges faced by those within the LGBTQ community. There has also been a social and political spotlight on the issue since the legislative assembly passed Bill 13 into law on June, 19, 2012. The bill (an act to amend the Education Act with respect to bullying and other matters) underscores the critical nature of creating a safe, positive, inclusive school environment, and emphasizes the importance of support at many levels. It reads, in part:
“A whole-school approach is required, and […] everyone — government, educators, school staff, parents, students and the wider community — has a role to play in creating a positive school climate and preventing inappropriate behaviour, such as bullying, sexual assault, gender-based violence and incidents based on homophobia, transphobia or biphobia.”
Designed by educators with significant student input, the new LGBTQ AQ will help educators foster more inclusive and safe learning environments in schools throughout the province.