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EdCan Network, Engagement, Opinion, Policy, Promising Practices, Teaching

Let’s Continue to ‘Rock the Boat’

We all have a role to play in embedding a change mindset in our schools

As you can see by the barriers to change identified at our Calgary workshop, they’re not new, and they certainly weren’t that hard to identify, so how is it that we still struggle to find ways to overcome them? 

As you can see by the barriers to change identified at our Calgary workshop, they’re not new, and they certainly weren’t that hard to identify, so how is it that we still struggle to find ways to overcome them? 

I’ve been concerned for a very long time – like so many of us – that change is not happening as quickly as it should in public education. The tremendous good will and collaboration displayed among the diverse stakeholders that filled the Calgary discussion tables made it clear that they shared my concern.

Despite having similar visions for what school could become, I also observed participants often engaging in rather heated exchanges. This tension between personal and organizational points of view should not be downplayed – it is a key part of CEA’s work to help reveal differences in perspectives, mindsets and priorities that exist for people who occupy different roles within our education systems. This deeply engrained undercurrent of mistrust among many education stakeholders could be our biggest change barrier to overcome. 

Convening this working environment of mutual trust and openness, which compelled workshop participants to leave their organizational agendas at the coat check counter, is what made this workshop such a success. A principal told us that her teachers were extremely nervous upon realizing they would be sharing a table with leaders from governments, school districts and universities, but returned from the event with a new sense of empowerment because they were considered valued experts within their table groups. In fact, our post-workshop blog posts from Calgary participants echoed this empowerment. Many educators returned to their schools feeling like they had the right and responsibility to make change happen within their own schools and classrooms. This is when we realized that we were on to something special here.

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This is precisely why I’m eager to emulate this event regionally across Canada. Let’s make this sense of empowerment for change ‘go viral’. Let’s mute all of that white noise that constantly hijacks the narrative for educational change by finger- pointing blame on organizations and individuals for why we can’t do better for our kids in school. This is not your average visioning session. CEA’s What’s standing in the way of change in education? Workshops aim to instill a sense of hope and responsibility that we all have a role to play in embedding a change mindset in schools, school districts, faculties and ministries of education, and in doing so, the wider school community will reaffirm their trust in educators – that we can and we will meet the learning needs of all students.

Please join us at one of the five regional meetings scheduled this spring and summer and tell us what you think is standing in the way of change in education.

Meet the Expert(s)

Ron Canuel

Ron Canuel

Ron Canuel is the former President and CEO of the Canadian Education Association during. He has over 40 years of experience in the public education sector. As the former Director General of the Easter...

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