Voices from the Field – Supporting teaching and learning for diverse and equitable classrooms in Ontario

Voices from the field panelistsOn Thursday, November 24, approximately 230 teacher candidates enrolled in the Faculty's Teaching for Diverse and Equitable Classrooms, Communities and Their Schools, and Urban Diversity courses attended a panel discussion on Supporting Teaching and Learning for Diverse and Equitable Classrooms in Ontario. The panel of principals and vice-principals from various school boards, engaged in a lively conversation on the role of equitable and diverse classrooms as aligned with the vision of various school boards and educational spaces. The panel also discussed the need for all educators, and especially beginning teachers, to engage in practices of equity and social justice with their students.

The panel was comprised of Cherilyn Scobie (Principal, Westview Centennial Secondary School, TDSB); Tanya Senk (Central Coordinating Vice-Principal, Aboriginal Education Centre, TDSB); Rima Ishtiaque (Principal, Coppard Glen Public School, YRDSB); and Kimberly Dixon (Principal, St. Columba, TCSB). The discussion was moderated by course director Salima Kassam and Dr. Aparna Mishra Tarc.

York teacher candidates attending the panel discussionTeacher candidates participated in the interactive dialogue that focused on practical ideas and solutions to some of the challenges faced when teaching with an equitable lens. Panelists shared curriculum connections, discussed pedagogical responses and responsibilities towards historically and presently marginalized students, and shared considerations for beginning teachers when discussing equity commitments and work in school board interviews. Audience members shared challenges faced in practicum placements and demonstrated insightful and deep thinking. The conversation also focused on strategies for engaging schools, families and communities in teaching and learning focused on equity, academic success, and well being for all students.

Throughout the exchanges among panelists and audience members, themes of mentorship, allyship, disruption, authenticity, and hope emerged. Both panelists and participants shared inspiring stories of teaching for equity and diversity and the ways in which teacher candidates could be supported as they start their teaching block.