Over the last few months, I've had the pleasure of working with an inspiring group of Toronto District School Board teachers, administrators, and support staff through the "Education for Environmental Stewardship" professional development course. The group consisted of some heavy hitters in environmental, sustainability, and outdoor education with a wealth of experience between them, which made class discussions vibrant and passionate. The highlight for me was seeing a diverse group of teachers from a variety of grade levels and subject areas - primary and secondary; art, music and science - collaborate to find creative and meaningful ways of integrating environmental issues into their classrooms.
The learning fair on May 22nd was a treat - a chance to see the results of the educators' collaborative efforts. I was truly blown away - from a "Get Outside" day that saw every student of North Prep school learning outdoors in the course of one afternoon, to an art project at W.L. MacKenzie in which students created sustainable design concepts for a courtyard space, to an initiative using technology and classroom visits to integrate outdoor education holistically into the classroom, among others.
I'd like to send a huge thank you to all the educators who took time out of their busy teaching schedules to participate in and support this course. I look forward to staying in touch and seeing how your work to foster environmental literacy grows.
This spring, I had the pleasure of teaching a cohort of TDSB teachers in my e-course, Project-Based Learning for Global Citizenship. The whole initiative struck me as a powerful way to develop change in schools. By giving a wide array of teachers the opportunity to deepen and shift their practice in three different courses through participant-driven projects, TDSB teachers were able to choose their own path of growth, one of the most important elements of good professional development and a key element of creating deep, lasting change in schools.
I was particularly struck by the blended in-person and online learning components of this particular pilot program. It was a thrill to come to Toronto and meet the teachers in person—this is something I miss from my classroom days, as so much of my teaching is virtually based now. While the virtual is powerful and can be personalized and humanized when done well, there’s still no replacement for “being there” in person. I felt this as a challenge in the course when it came to the final Project Fair, which I was unable to attend in person; I was sorry to miss the in-person celebration of all my participants’ projects. That said, I did like the way our week-to-week interactions felt, with the blend of online and in-person discussions and sharing, and I loved reading reflections and project ideas from such a broad, diverse array of committed teachers.
I loved the final projects I got to explore; I saw deep thinking about the best ways to employ project-based and solutions-oriented learning, and I saw a lot of effort to take the students’ voices and passions into account in the classroom. I saw action elements and excellent use of global technologies, and perhaps most importantly I saw a dedicated shift to student-directed learning approaches across a wide array of disciplines and grade levels.
I know that teachers’ lives are busy, and it’s rare to see teachers taking on new growth and learning during the school year. I am inspired and impressed by the many TDSB teachers who dedicated their precious time and energy to this professional development program with TakingITGlobal, as well as by a district which has chosen to make global learning a priority. The students of TDSB can only benefit from your growth and dedication to fostering their empowerment as agents of global change.
As they say in showbiz, "that's a wrap!" Yesterday at Dublin Heights Public School, TIGed and the Toronto District School Board wrapped up our pilot project with a fantastic learning fair. The fair was a wonderful celebration of the impressive achievements of the participants of this project. Over the past few months, we have been working closely with a group of 60 teachers, 10 school leaders and 30 administrative staff from the Department of Teaching and Learning to deliver professional development courses using a blended learning model in the key areas of global citizenship, student voice, and environmental stewardship. During the learning fair, participants showcased projects they had developed, often in teams across teaching departments and with students, as the culminating activity of their courses. We were blown away by their projects! Projects included whole school environmental initiatives, schoolyard projects based on student consultations on what they’d like to see, media projects on global issues . . . the list goes on. I would like to sincerely congratulate all of the wonderful educators who took part in this project on behalf of TakingITGlobal. Your dedication to students and to developing our city as a global leader in education that addresses the needs of our collective future is inspiring, and will keep us motivated to do the kind of work we do for a long time. We look forward to continuing a partnership with the TDSB in years to come to build on the foundation we have created together over the past few months.
Here are a couple photos from the event. Thanks for hosting, Dublin! Stay tuned for more documentation of this project, including more blogs, posts, tweets, videos and photos! If you are interested in learning more about professional development with TIGed, you can get in touch by email: [email protected]
My name is Pritha and I am the new TIGed Program Assistant intern, a position which I’m very excited to take on, with a team that I’m really looking forward to working with.
I am currently a student completing my undergrad at the University of Toronto in Geography and Planning, where my focus is on regional development in connection to infrastructural and social issues. I bring a strong personal interest in social issues and the methods that can be utilized to mobilize individuals to seek and form change in their communities. Civic engagement has been a key driving point in my previous experiences working with organizations in Toronto, and a big reason for why I was drawn to TIG. I’m passionate about working with the advantages of an increasingly globalized world to secure educational opportunities for classrooms to voice their thoughts and solutions through innovative and interactive social platforms. Working on ways to help foster the potential of a student through the means of youth development by drawing on local, regional and global issues is an incredibly interesting and exciting way to learn, engage and connect.
I look forward to meeting and working with everyone!
My name is Dafna Lubocki and I am excited to be the new Communications Coordinator intern at TIG! I am very inspired by the passionate group of educators on the TIGed team, and I am looking forward to working on meaningful projects and initiatives this summer.
I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and moved to Winnipeg in 2002. I went to school at the University of Manitoba where I completed a Business Administration degree in Marketing and Accounting. I also had the opportunity to live and study in Jerusalem for a year and take courses in Social Sciences and History.
I have a strong passion for education and innovation, and I love working with young people. I have spent the last seven summers working at a summer camp where I worked on curriculum development as well as leadership training for youth. I also worked as an English teacher in both Israel and Argentina and had the opportunity to interact with children from diverse backgrounds and cultures. These experiences strengthened my commitment to support the educational endeavours of today’s youth.
I am very excited to be part of the TIGed team, and I hope to make a valuable contribution to the many projects and initiatives. Stay tuned for all the wonderful events coming up soon!