North Option, 2012 – 2013
The NorthWest Option is school-site based with approximately 65 P/J/I teacher candidates. We enjoy a collegial partnership with the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, Halton District School Board, Peel District School Board and the Toronto District School Board, Toronto Catholic District School Board and York Region School Board. These partnerships benefit the teacher candidates, the teachers, and the students in participating schools. The faculty team maintains ongoing communication with principals and associate teachers from all participating schools.
Classes will be held at C.H. Best P.S. in the North end of TDSB (Dufferin & Finch) two to three days a week, with the remaining time at the downtown campus of OISE. Our school-site campus enables us to work in the realities of school life and collaboratively in a school setting with experienced educators, children and school administrators throughout the year. Prior to the student teaching placement, teacher candidates attend their practicum schools for one day each week in the STEP program. Students will experience two practicum placements in different schools and an internship in a self-chosen placement. Access to a vehicle during practicum is strongly recommended.
In our option, we view teacher candidates as builders of meanings. Throughout the program, we encourage students to think critically about the teaching/learning process and educational and societal issues relating to elementary education in Ontario. We want our teacher candidates to see themselves as change agents for tomorrow’s schools, and therefore we promote learner-centered and reflective practices.
The faculty team, associate teachers, and teacher candidates engage in various classroom-based projects including the creation of a cross-curricular unit and the development of a professional portfolio. The assignments are blended across program courses in order to integrate Ministry curricula and develop effective teaching skills.
The field practicum is made up of a weekly field component (STEP) that culminates in a large block of practice teaching. Classroom experiences with children, along with required courses, serve as the “theory and practice of teaching.” In order to help students make connections between these components, each teacher candidate is assigned to a faculty advisor. Faculty advisors visit teacher candidates in their field placement, counsel, advocate, and most of all, listen to questions and concerns. They also help celebrate successes and address challenges.
There are many areas of emphasis in our program, but there are four special foci:
- Critical thinking as it relates to both teaching strategies and curriculum design.
- Integration of theory and practice: Candidates are introduced to a variety of instructional strategies, processes and techniques to broaden their teaching repertoire and make their students' learning experiences more meaningful, authentic and concrete. A special focus on reflective practice will tie this all together.
- Technology: Technology is introduced and used in an integrated way throughout the program. Instruction is augmented via on-line discussion and students are introduced to computer-assisted education techniques. Students are required to participate in on-line buddy journaling with a peer through the year.
- Known as The Learning Community, the NorthWest Option offers an environment where candidates support, encourage and facilitate the learning of their peers in a cooperative, collaborative classroom atmosphere.
Special Features: Primary/Junior; Junior/Intermediate. An off-site program. Two to three days a week in a school.
Location of Practice Teaching Schools: Dufferin-Peel Catholic Board; Halton District School Board; Peel District School Board; selected Toronto District School Board and York Region District School Board.
Note: A car is likely a requirement to travel to your practicum schools, as many are not accessible by public transportation.