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What’s standing in the way of change in education? – Regional Workshops

Get inspired to influence a change mindset in our schools

what's standing in the way of change in education

Regional Workshop Schedule



In October 2013, over 300 workshop delegates – from the entire spectrum of the Canadian education stakeholder community – congregated in Calgary to share what they thought was standing in the way of change in education. A report detailing this invaluable feedback can be found here.

What’s Standing in the Way of Change in Education? – Barriers, recommendations and analysis

What’s Standing in the Way of Change? – Workshop reflections and videos 

Motivated by the voices of students, teachers and education leaders who over the past seven years have contributed to What did you do in school today? (WDYDIST) and Teaching the Way We Aspire to Teach: Now and in the Future, CEA developed these workshops to acknowledge that teachers and education leaders work tirelessly to increase engagement in learning and teaching for a 21st century context, yet, they still face systemic barriers that do not fully support their efforts.

Inspired by the openness, courage, and energy displayed among the Calgary delegates, CEA is moving this thought work forward by hosting similar workshops in five regions across the country to provoke more education stakeholders to retain their ideal vision for public education, while developing a set of actions that could get to the heart of dissolving the barriers that stand in the way of the changes they want to see.

CEA is offering these workshops at no cost. Due to the limited number of spots available, we encourage you to register ASAP to secure your participation.

Please note that, with the exception of the Montreal workshop, these workshops will be offered in English only and we are unable to offer simultaneous translation at these events.

Regional Workshop Schedule

Fredericton, NB
Friday, April 25 – University of New Brunswick

Winnipeg, MB
Monday, April 28 – Louis Riel School Division

St. Catharines, ON
Wednesday, May 7 – District School Board of Niagara

Vancouver, BC
Wednesday, May 14 – University of British Columbia

Montreal, QC (in French)
Wednesday, August 20 – Salle polyvalente du Cœur des sciences, SH-4800, Université du Québec à Montréal


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2 lignes avec UQAM au long


8:30am – 9:00am: Welcome
9:00am – 9:45am: The School of My Dreams…
9:45am – 10:00am: What’s Standing in the Way of Change? Brainstorm
10:00am – 10:15am: Break
10:15am – 12:00pm: Making the Connections
12:00pm – 1:00pm: Lunch
1:00pm – 1:45pm: Promising Practices: Stories of Seeing Beyond
1:45pm – 2:30pm: Conditions that Support Change
2:30pm – 3:15pm: Designing for Change
3:15pm – 3:30pm: Wrap Up

The CEA Calgary workshop served as a prototype of what a change strategy could look like – a facilitated discussion involving a wide range of stakeholders who can retain their ideal vision for public education, while developing a set of actions that could get to the heart of dissolving the barriers that stand in the way of the changes they want to see.

What will CEA do with the insights collected at the regional workshops?

The sheer volume of data and insights collected at the Calgary workshop and at the subsequent regional workshops will drive the development of a discussion guide to help kickstart conversations for what’s standing in the way of change in education in school staff rooms and classrooms across the country. Beyond school communities, CEA will be presenting findings from all What’s standing in the way of change in education? Workshops to CEA’s Advisory Council of education leaders, and other policymakers as a catalyst to define how CEA can support all stakeholders in moving a true education change agenda forward.

What will workshop participants be doing?

Stephen Hurley (Educator and Facilitator) has planned an active professional development session that will not be the usual ‘sage on the stage’ approach. The expertise will be in the room and this diversity of voices will build the knowledge we need to find out what is truly standing in the way of change.

(Ron Canuel, CEA President and CEO will be facilitating the Montreal workshop.)

Step 1 – Identifying our highest aspirations for public education

Through an Appreciative Inquiry process, participants will get to the heart of what they personally value and envision for public education, schools, and for all students.

Step 2 – Recognizing barriers to change

Reflecting on their aspirations for public education, a rich cross-section of education stakeholders – from superintendents, to teachers, to students, to policymakers – will work in small group peer-to-peer round tables to identify what is standing in the way of our highest aspirations for public education.

Step 3 – Promising Practices: Stories of Seeing Beyond

These small groups will then be challenged to think of times when they have been able to ‘see around’ an identified barrier to affect change and pinpoint the conditions that contributed to their success. Supporting conditions will be shared and organized.

Step 4 – Moving Beyond the Barriers

Participants will work in their groups and choose one or two of the identified barriers. Referencing the supporting conditions shared in Step 3, groups will discuss how attention to contributing conditions can lead to more permanent change.

Step 5 – Inspiring you to return to work with a fresh mindset about how to transform public education

Participants will leave the workshops acknowledging the value of going beyond talk of barriers to understanding the conditions that support change despite the barriers. We want participants to return to their daily work realities with a different lens, inspired by new questions and new approaches to making deep meaningful change happen.

Who should attend?

Students who ‘do school’ well – to tell us what needs to change.

Students who have dropped out or are nearly dropping out – to tell us what needs to change.

Teachers who blaze a trail of innovative, yet seemingly unscalable pilot projects – while tending to the constant flux of curriculum and assessment requirements.

Principals and superintendents who juggle shifting priorities and directives to provide some breathing space for the change they know needs to happen.

Teacher candidates, new teachers, researchers and faculty of education representatives who are challenged with designing teaching and learning environments for a post-Google generation of learners.

Bureaucrats charged with maintaining an excellent and equitable 21st century education system while balancing the oft-polarized expectations of parents, teachers, and taxpayers.

Parents, who are growing impatient with the pace of change in public education to provide all students with the 21st century skills that are required to thrive in an uncertain future.

Education not-for-profit and business community leaders seeking a more direct supporting role to school divisions in preparing students for the 21st century.

Anyone who wants to work towards the transformation of classrooms and schools, or is completely content with the status quo.