Professionally SpeakingThe Magazine of the Ontario College of Teachers
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59 new AQs are on the way

New Additional Qualification courses available next year will allow members to get formal recognition for teaching expertise, many in new areas.

by Brian McGowan

The new Additional Qualification courses that will be available for members next September are the most immediate benefit that teachers across the province are going to see from the College’s two-year review of teachers’ qualifications.

The Additional Basic Qualification (ABQ) and Additional Qualification (AQ) courses are part of a regulated system of continuing education. They are opportunities for teachers to increase their knowledge in specific subject areas, add qualifications to teach in other divisions or prepare for additional leadership responsibilities.

Having the qualification listed on your certificate is also a great advantage because it is a testament to your interest in ongoing professional learning and your suitability for specific teaching assignments.

“We heard from many teachers that it was time to offer more up-to-date subjects.”

During the qualifications review process, we heard from many teachers that it was time to offer more up-to-date subjects in the AQ catalogue. The College listened, and you will see the results in new AQs like mentoring, American Sign Language, use and knowledge of assistive technology, outdoor experiential education and teaching and learning through e-learning.

We also heard that the profession needs to provide courses and recognize qualifications that broaden the scope of teachers’ existing expertise. You will see that reflected in AQs on topics like education law, understanding the history and current issues related to aboriginal peoples, adapting curriculum for the Catholic school system, adapting curriculum for second-language learners and teaching combined grades.

 The College plays a key role in what is taught in Additional Qualification courses. We create the written guidelines that providers use to develop a course, ensuring that the course is substantially the same from one provider to another. The guidelines establish the curriculum content, what a participant should learn in the course, the instructional strategies that can be used and the forms of assessment that participants can expect.

We believe that subject associations are a good place to find the expert knowledge needed to ensure that you get the best possible courses. That’s why the subject associations and other education partners will be invited to play lead roles in developing guidelines related to their expertise.

Individual members like you will also have an important role to play once an initial draft is prepared. We will be posting the draft guidelines on the College web site and asking for your feedback.

As a teaching professional, you know what you need to learn in AQs that is relevant to your teaching specialties and your career.

You also have experiences and a unique viewpoint if you have taken other AQs or if you are involved in guiding the professional learning of other members of the College, either as a mentor or in a supervisory capacity.

Your professional or personal situation may give you special insight into courses like teaching in a minority setting, working with Special Education students or the inclusive classroom.

“We will be posting the draft guidelines on the College web site and asking for your feedback.”

We want your feedback. We’ll let you know through future issues of Professionally Speaking/Pour parler profession when course guidelines are available for comment. Those of you signed up for our electronic newsletter will receive same-day notice when guidelines are ready.

Our colleagues will benefit from your input and you will enhance your professional skills in the process of reviewing and analyzing guidelines that will influence pedagogy in this province for many years to come.

You can see the guidelines for existing ABQs/AQs, as well as a list of the 59 new courses that are to be created, on the College web site at

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