These are very exciting times in education! We know more about learning than at any other time in history. As Dan Beerens put it in his keynote presentations across the province……we are living in a “tsunami” of change in education and technology and we are NOT finished yet. The conversations at the Professional Development Committee have been very rich…….the topics that we have discussed and promoted include:
1. Resource-Every teacher is a Special Education Teacher.
2. Hospitality-Restorative practice as the fundamental philosophy in schools, classrooms and culture change.
3. Assessment and Evaluation-Ontario’s “Growing Success” document as well as research-based knowledge about how best to promote learning.
4. Technology-How to utilize technology effectively in the classroom without it becoming the “focus” of the learning. (laptops, smart boards, hand held devices, i-pads) and familiarizing ourselves with twitter, Facebook, blogs, Flickr, youtube, cloud and google.
5. Project Based Learning-Innovative approaches to our splintered and compartmentalized ways of approaching education; the point being to create meaning for education and to ask excellent essential questions that are begging to be answered.
6. Brain Research-how the plasticity of the brain and the opportunity to develop new pathways for learning can be utilized to build potential and capacity in our students
7. AND undergirding all of this change…..staying true to our call to be unique centers of transformational Christian education where nurturing faith is not an afterthought but we intentionally create learning where we are focused on the flourishing of our students (see Dan Beerens…. “Nurturing Faith Blog”).
As professionals, it is imperative that we work towards implementation of any and all of these important innovative changes in education. One of the issues for educators and schools is…how to begin? Every educational community may focus on one (or two) areas and in some cases…there are regions or partnerships who are working together. It is the goal of your professional association to encourage each of you to move forward, to be mobilized and to that end; our goal is to keep you abreast of the newest innovations in education as well as to provide you with learning opportunities to launch these excellent ideas in your classrooms and in your schools.
It is time to embrace change!