Opening up thinking about education today for tomorrow - Imagining possibilities and solutions

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Learning Consortium Visit

I have had a full schedule since arriving in Toronto.

Wednesday 26 April:
Met with Dorothy Fowler and Joy at The Learning Consortium, which is based at OISE/UT. Very interesting discussion about the how the Consortium came to be, it's possible directions, political agendas at Province and Federal levels. A lot of similarities with Australia.

Thursday 27 April:
Visited the Institute of Child Studies. This is a laboratory school established in the 1920s in partnership with OISE/UT. The focus is very much on a child-centred curriculum (read strong focus on the child as a learner). The philosophy of the school and of learning is very much on deep thinking and knowledge building, not only for the students but also for the staff.

What was evident was a strong culture of professional inquiry into what works (or doesn't work in classrooms). See other entries for a couple of examples of what I saw.

Had the opportunity to attend a PD session on Cognitive Coaching being conducted through the Toronto District Schools Board. here I met Rita Simmons who has established a Virtual Leadership portal to support teachers and leaders in the development of leadership at all levels and across the system (teachers, non-teaching staff, positional leaders, school-based and office-based). It was very impressive.

Friday 28 April:
Met with with Carol Rolheiser (Associate Dean, OISE/UT). Carol has been a key player both in the Institute of Child Studies and The Learning Consortium. She has also worked closely with Michael Fullan and School District Boards with a focus on improving professional practice and tri-level reforms. The meeting was extensive and fruitful.

What is becoming very evident is the significant impact that strong, structured partnerships between universities, school boards and schools has resulted in a strong professional culture focused on teaching and learning.

Next week:
Attend Ontario Staff Development meeting
Meet with Barbara Bodkin, Director of Continuing Education (OISE/UT)
Meeting with Cam Fraser - Principal on secondment to Charles Sturt University, Totonto
Meeting with Don Marshall - Coordinator, Research and Evaluation, Halton District School Board
Meeting with Pat Blake - Principal (Halton District School Board) and Gail Grant - Principal (Halton District School Board)

Then onto England and the Leadership for Learning Centre in Cambridge.


Jenny R said...

Hi Andrew,

I can tell you are making the most of your time OS from OZ - I'm also loving your photos.

Keep well

Andrew said...

Thanks Jenny!!

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