New Study Will Examine Professional Learning in Canada

Dallas, TX – August 10, 2016  —  In collaboration with Canadian researchers and education stakeholders, Learning Forward announces that it has launched a research study examining the state of professional learning across Canada. The purpose of the study is to understand the current landscape of educator professional learning throughout Canada and to advance a priority focus on the elements of and conditions for effective professional learning in Canada and across the world.

“Just as we aim for all students to have equitable access to quality education, our goal is to provide research results that will support educators in experiencing high quality, evidence-informed professional learning within and across the provinces and territories of Canada and internationally,” said Stephanie Hirsh, executive director of Learning Forward.

Carol Campbell, the principal researcher for the study, added, “While Canada is internationally recognized as valuing education and committing to both excellence and equity, there is a gap in shared knowledge about the professional learning practices that contribute to improved educational outcomes within and across Canada and in the unique and diverse contexts of each province and territory.” Campbell, Associate Professor of Leadership and Educational Change at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto, continued, “This study will significantly expand what we know about the learning educators are experiencing within Canada and how their learning opportunities compare to those of educators in other high-performing nations.”

This research study will investigate promising learning practices, opportunities, and challenges and amplify the system conditions essential to effective professional learning. The project will culminate in a call to action at Learning Forward’s 2016 Annual Conference to champion the importance of educators’ professional learning in and across Canada, within a wider context of international evidence and experiences.

The research team for the study includes: Dr. Brenton Faubert, Assistant Professor, Western University, Ontario; Dr. Pamela Osmond-Johnson, Assistant Professor, University of Regina, Saskatchewan; and Dr. Kenneth Zeichner, Boeing Professor of Teacher Education, University of Washington, Seattle. Audrey Hobbs Johnson, Learning Forward senior consultant and former staff member with the provincial government of British Columbia serves as project coordinator. Advisors to the study are Michael Fullan, former OISE Dean and Andy Hargreaves, Thomas More Brennan Chair in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, who both consult widely with government policymakers and educational leaders around the world. In addition, an Advisory Group consisting of experts in professional learning evidence, trends, and practices from across Canada has been established to provide in-depth advice on promising practices and local contexts within provinces and territories. The Advisory Group members are listed in full below.

Fullan said, “It is timely to examine and create the future of professional learning in Canada and beyond. Learning Forward’s 2016 Annual Conference in Canada is a golden opportunity to go deep and change the landscape of the professional capital of the education profession.”

“High-quality learning is impossible without high quality teaching and we cannot sustain high quality teaching without high quality professional learning for teachers,” said Andy Hargreaves. “This landmark study is identifying how professional learning is organized and provided in one of the world’s strongest performing education systems, Canada. It is a breakthrough, first-time study for Canada and Canadians of what teachers’ professional learning looks like there and will be an insight for the world of how best to invest in the professional capital of the teaching profession,” he said.

Study Advisory Group Members

  • Gary Adams, Superintendent of Schools/CEO, Chignecto-Central Regional School Board
  • Roderick Allen, CEO/Superintendent of Schools, Cowichan Valley School District 79
  • Ron Canuel, President and CEO, Canadian Education Association
  • J-C Couture, Associate Coordinator/Research – Government, The Alberta Teachers’ Association
  • Honourable Douglas W. Currie, Minister of Education, Early Learning and Culture, Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island
  • Ruth Dawson, Coordinator, Professional Learning and Curriculum Services, Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario
  • Sue Elliott, President, Learning Forward British Columbia
  • Tina Estabrooks, Principal, Centennial School
  • Karen Goodnough, Professor, Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Terry Johanson, Director, Saskatchewan Professional Development Unit, Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation
  • Jill Mason, President, Yukon Teachers’ Association
  • Coleen McDonald, Principal, École St. Patrick High School
  • Akela Peoples, President and CEO, The Learning Partnership
  • Terry Price, Department Head, Professional and French Language Services, The Manitoba Teachers’ Society
  • Chris Quinn, Curriculum Support Teacher, London District Catholic School Board
  • Heather Smith, President, Canadian Teachers’ Federation
  • Joan Zaretsky, Consultant, Education Solutions Manitoba
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Learning Forward is the only professional association devoted exclusively to those who work in educator professional development. We help our members plan, implement, and measure high-quality professional learning so they can achieve success with their systems, schools, and students.

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