CGS Professional Development Blog

The Eighth CATE Working Conference 2015 by Judi Hadden

Posted on May 17, 2016 at 3:35 pm

The 8th CATE Working Conference 2015 was an opportunity for me to engage in conversations with University Professors across Canada, including several from Calgary, to discuss the pre service teacher programs currently being offered. The focus question for my three days of collaboration was:

How are the capacities essential for new teachers identified and cultivated within teacher education programs? How do the capacities, that are developed by teachers prior to and following their education program, influence the education program?

Calgary Girls’ School actively participates in teacher preparation through field services programs. Our teachers willingly mentor pre service teachers each year as a component of our commitment to the teaching profession. Conversations included, the role that the school can take to connect the greater responsibility of the school to pre service teachers, the work that schools can do to collaborate with university professors to keep the pre- service teaching experience relevant to the current school and the reciprocal role that faculties of education can provide for ongoing research to teachers in their current practise. This conference opened a door for me, in representing Calgary Girls’ School,
to continue to be involved in conversations regarding pre-service programs in Canada and in particular Alberta and to promote the work that our school does to support field services at all Calgary Education Faculties. As a result of this conference, we have also engaged in conversations with the University of Lethbridge PS III program which specifically targets teacher research as a part of its field service program. Calgary Girls’ School will continue to participate in discussions through the Partner Research Affiliation with the Werklund School of Education, to encourage our teaching staff to participate in

conversations and course work with all faculties of education nationally and internationally and to mentor pre service teachers as support to our teaching profession.

Proposal for discussion:

8th CATE Working Conference 2015 Submission

How are the capacities essential for new teachers identified and cultivated within teacher education programs? How do the capacities that are developed by teachers prior to and following their education program influence the education program?

Submitted by:
Judith Hadden: Administrator – Calgary Girls School

Graduate Student – Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary Colleen Parks: Teacher, Calgary Girls’ School

Graduate Student – Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary

Each year eager educators and teacher candidates intent on a life committed to educating future generations enter the faculties of education across different provinces in Canada. What will schools look like for new professionals with eyes set high on making a difference in the

lives of the students they teach? Will they be prepared to take on their professional responsibilities and which stakeholders are accountable for ensuring their success?

At the turn of the twentieth century, Ellen Key (1900) introduced her work The Century of the Child (1900) which proposed change to the educational system to meet the needs of the future. The Swedish author and early representative of the international reform pedagogy movement shared a focus on the needs of children to socialize and learn through activity along with there peers. Her final chapter dedicated a portion of the writing to The School of the Future which focused on an elimination of the use of fear to teach but rather to rejoice at deviation which evidently compares to inquiry centered learning in current pedagogy. How close have today’s schools evolved into what at one time was imagined as the school of the future? And more importantly what are the predictions for the school of the future and how will capacities of our future educators be built and strengthened in teacher education programs?

An educational era of competency-based curriculum and outcome-based reporting, building teachers’ capacity in using student-centered pedagogy and assessment is the central priority in teacher education and professional development programs. Using conceptual lenses to aid students in connecting their learning through relevant experiences builds teacher capacity as they become creators of learning rather than deliverers of instruction. Implementing the Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition (SAMR) model a further layer of developing students’ competencies in the 21st-century classrooms calls for teachers to effectively and meaningfully leverage technology into their pedagogical and assessment practices to create authentic learning environments for students. Carol Dweck’s (2006) theory of growth mindset is beginning to permeate educational institutions as the focus for student learning emphasizes individual journeys of authentic learning through experience and failure rather than

lost potential because students are measured against a set scale of assessment and when unsuccessful assume that the learning is beyond their capacity.

The professional learning community introduced by DuFour (2002) has evolved impacting professional development for teachers, induction of professional practice for teachers new to the profession and an ongoing framework guiding teachers in collaboration. Professional development at the school level will be imperative for teachers to have voice and lead understanding which will influence policy decisions made by ministries of education, post secondary institutions, school boards, school leadership teams and parents. Findings from research by the Society for the Advancement of Excellence in Education (2008) suggest that real schools and classrooms must be key contributors in partnership with faculties of education and professional schools of practice to emphasize that the core business is teaching and learning. A challenge will be developing the opportunities for educators and teacher candidates to participate in such rich and meaningful engagements. Technology provides portals for professional learning networks far beyond the staff room table, expanding relationships and fostering depth of collaboration as the world becomes the stage for professional conversation. In this paper we will address an important question: How will faculties of education and teachers in the field balance the ease of professional online networks and the value of face to face collaboration in developing teachers’ capacity in student-centered pedagogy and assessment?

The new paradigm for educators will be collaborating to support the student as a learner; not to direct, provide or disseminate the knowledge. The pace of our world is dictating that the ability to learn will be the core mindset of our students. If unable to embrace an open mindset and grasp opportunities through fearless learning, the student will be swallowed by the pace of society. How will teacher development programs and professional learning experiences foster courage and confidence in educational professionals?

Zumba PD by Eva Erfle

Posted on May 17, 2016 at 3:05 pm

On April 9th I participated in a Zumba Instructor training course. The day began with a Zumba class where group management techniques and tricks were identified. It was interesting to learn how to effectively communicate with a group of moving participants while loud music was playing. Much emphasis was placed on hand gestures and body language. The importance of facial expression and personality also became clear throughout the class. It was easy to establish that level of enjoyment of the participants was directly related to the level of enthusiasm of the instructor.


Throughout the day we were taught how to use music to create routines. We were shown how to break down a song into sections and how to visualize the music so that memorization of the routine could become easier. We were also taught the foundational movements of Zumba (i.e Salsa, Cumbia, Reggaeton and Merengue) and how to vary them to be more or less intense. We were shown how to incorporate fitness movements such as squats and lunges into the routine as well. The lead instructor also identified how certain songs pair with certain movements to create well-flowing routines.


Moving forward, I am eager to create and teach some basic routines for my students. These will act as fitness boosters and as exemplars for them as they too are asked yearly to create dance/fitness routines to fulfil the Basic Skills outcome laid out by Alberta Education.

Workshop: Design, Innovate, Adapt, Transform by Anna Burke

Posted on May 10, 2016 at 3:26 pm

IDEAS CONFERENCE, Designing for Innovation, May 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 4.22.02 PM


  • Lead by Dr. Sharon Friesen, Galileo Educational Network
  • The current challenge in education is strengthening and deepening learning for ALL students. Teaching belongs to all components of the education system. Innovation should come through the pedagogical core (image below). Teaching belongs to ALL COMPONENTS of the education system, not just teachers. The OECD 2015 document “Schooling Redesigned” explores these ideas further.


  • Big questions to consider include How is my class learning AND how do I know that? As a teacher, what evidence do you have of that? (Not so much focused on how each individual student is learning.) You can treat them as individuals or as a collective, but should know both of those. As a school, are we making progress? The principal’s role is to look at the “class of teachers”. Are we a learning organization OR just an organization that learns? What changes to teaching and learning practices lead to improved learning? What changes to the organizational structures…? What changes to pedagogical leadership…?
  • Teachers are really designers of learning, not implementers. It is important to remember that complex systems are intertwined and adaptive. Teachers work within complex systems. Metaphors that simulate this complexity are ecosystems and cycles.
  • Complicated systems (command & control; mechanical; linear; progress-minded; reducible) vs Complex systems (connect & collaborate; adaptive; feedback loops; development-minded; non-compressible)
  • What is the fingerprint of a knowing/learning system? Who’s influencing whom? Around what? Who do you think you could help the most? Who do you go to in the classroom when you need support? Is there efficient communication, robust structure and adaptability?
  • Having a template/common format to map out lessons is a really powerful way to share our process with one another and make the teaching in our classrooms more visible.
  • RESOURCE: Teaching Effectiveness Framework

Compassion • Integrity • Collaboration • Courage • Curiosity • Democracy • Diversity