The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education – A Reader – Revised edition
Edited By Eleanor Blair
15. Teachers, Learners, Leaders
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Teachers, Learners, Leaders
What if teachers ran their own professional development through projects? And what if teachers themselves received funding for these projects? What if the purpose of such projects was not only to spur individual professional learning, but also to develop leadership skills and initiate an exchange of knowledge among one’s peers?
In Ontario, Canada, teachers pursue this kind of self-designed professional learning through the publicly funded Teacher Learning and Leadership Program (TLLP). Since the 2007–08 school year, 1,500 people—mostly teachers—have initiated 225 teacher learning projects through TLLP, 83 percent of which have been collaborations among several educators.
Part of the beauty of this professional learning structure is that it represents a successful joining of the education policy arm and teachers’ unions. The program meshes education research, education policy, and teaching practice and is a prime example of how researchers, policymakers, and practicing teachers can work together instead of pursuing conflicting agendas.
The Context: Building a Collaboration
The province of Ontario serves 2 million students, and approximately 120,000 teachers work in Ontario’s K–12 public schools. English, French, Catholic, and nonreligious K–12 schools all receive public funding through the provincial government. The Teacher Learning and Leadership Program was developed in 2003 in the context of a new Ontario provincial government. From the start, the new education minister deliberately avoided the...
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