OCT OEEO

PS_September_2017

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34 Professionally Speaking | September 2017 NEW BEGINNINGS Education stakeholders are collaborating to bring Indigenous culture, knowledge, perspectives and language into the Ontario curriculum. L ast year the Ontario College of Teachers published new teaccher education resource guides that explored the Standards of Practice for the Teaching Profession and Ethical Standards for the Teaching Profession from the perspective of a First Nations visual artist. Then, something very unexpected happened. The Anishinaabe images created by lifelong artist Bruce Beardy, OCT, to represent the knowledge, skills and dispositions of teachers and their ethical commitment to care, respect, trust and integrity, proved so popular that the College received more than 100,000 reprint requests from teach- ers, school boards and non-education organizations. (The posters may be downloaded at oct-oeeo.ca /posters.) "It is really a gift to the profession and the public," says Déirdre Smith, OCT, manager of the College's Standards of Practice and Education Unit. Two years after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) call for Canada to write a new hist- ory with its Indigenous peoples, the collaboration between the College and Beardy is one example of steps now being taken in Ontario teacher educa- tion on the road to reconciliation. "It is really good to see that the Ontario College of Teachers is includ- ing the Aboriginal perspectives into the curriculum it is designing," says Beardy, a member of Muskrat Dam First Nation. "It's a start to begin listening to Aboriginal ideas and perspectives on education." An artist, Indigenous languages teacher and former university instructor, Beardy is currently education adviser to the Independent First Nations Alliance that serves five communities in northwestern Ontario. Formal relationship-building be- tween the province's education sector and First Nations, Métis and Inuit predates the TRC, but its 94 "calls to action" are widely credited with accel- erating the pace of change. "The College has been working with the faculties of education and the Ontario Ministry of Education to set the groundwork for successful programming in the province," says Roch Gallien, OCT, the College's director of Standards of Practice and Accreditation. Over the past two years, the College has accredited a new teacher educa- tion program for self-identified First Nations, Métis and Inuit students (with more pending), has developed new teaching guidelines and resources with input from Indigenous education organ- izations, has offered treaty education sessions to developers and instructors of Additional Qualifications courses, and has approved 22 new (and draft) First Nations, Métis and Inuit ongoing education courses for teachers. Stephanie Roy, OCT, executive director of Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute (KTEI), an Indigenous education institution at M'Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island that works with the College and Queen's University faculty of education, also sees promise in the work being done by education stakeholders. "[The TRC] has allowed those difficult conversations to happen in a safe space, and allowed everyone's voice and intention to be heard," she says. BY JENNIFER LEWINGTON

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