OCT OEEO

PS_December_2018

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35 December 2018 Professionally Speaking F rom social media influencers all the way to supervisory officers, teachers with effective leadership skills can have a profound influence on a student's experience in school. They might shape how science is taught in one particular grade level, for example, ensure a culture of inclusion within an entire school, or steer the priorities of an entire district. Whether the goal is to be a mentor, a principal or a curriculum specialist, Ontario teachers have a wealth of choices to suppor t development of strong and ef fective leadership skills. TEACHER LEARNING AND LEADERSHIP PROGRAM (TLLP) Leadership requires a vision for change. To help teachers explore new ideas and share the results of their research with peers, there's the Ontario Ministr y of Education's Teacher Learning and Leadership Program. Par ticipants with a project they'd like to implement can apply to this program for both professional suppor t and funding. The TLLP funds proposals from experienced classroom teachers who are looking to take on a leadership role in some way that might involve curriculum, instructional practice or supporting other teachers. Teachers in the program take par t in a Leadership Skills for Classroom Teachers session, aimed at helping develop both the skills to manage the project and to share findings with colleagues, within the school, across the board and even the province. TEACHER LEADERSHIP AQ For teachers who don't necessarily want an of ficial leadership role — but who still want to find ways to share their ideas and influence educational practice — there's the College's three-par t Teacher Leadership specialist program, which began in 2017. The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) offers the three-part program, which explores the idea of leadership and helps teachers develop collabora- tive skills, unpack complex challenges in education, and develop a course of action for implementing positive change in their schools. Up and running since the spring of 2017, the Additional Qualification (AQ) course has already drawn a wide range of teachers who apply their leadership skills in equally varied ways. "Some of the class participants are looking to become curriculum leaders, others do a lot of mentoring — sometimes for candidates in faculties of education or for new teachers," says Jennifer Watt, OCT, program co-ordinator for the TDSB's Teachers Learning and Leading department. Wat t sees the growing under- standing of such varied forms of leadership as an impor tant development. "They may not have an of ficial role but they're really making a positive change, they have influence, and they're encour- aging people to come together and discuss tough issues," she says. PRINCIPAL'S QUALIFICATION AND DEVELOPMENT When it comes to teachers in formal leadership roles, principals and vice-principals often have unparalleled influence over school culture and, by extension, the success of its students. The two-part Principal's Qualifica- tion Program (PQP) is offered by 11 providers in Ontario. "[The PQP] emphasizes collaboration and building relationships within learning commun- ities," says Joanne Robinson, director of professional learning at the Ontario Principals' Council (OPC). The OPC offers the PQP as well as the Principal's Development Course AQ (among others), to help support the dynamic and evolving nature of teaching and teacher leadership. The course includes modules that cover a breadth of topics, including legal duties and liabilities, leading the French Immersion school, mentoring and coaching, and supporting the LGBTQ community in your school. "The role of the principal has become very complex, and the responsibilities that go with it have greatly intensified over the past decade or so," explains Robinson. "As a result, the skills, practices and supports people need have grown in the same way that the complexity of the job has grown."

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