Meet U of T's first Concurrent Teacher Education graduates
They didn’t want to choose between the subjects they loved and their love of teaching – so they didn’t.
And this week marks the very first graduating class of students from the University of Toronto’s Concurrent Teacher Education Program – the largest collaborative program offered at U of T.
“It has been a pleasure and an honour working with such a talented, motivated, and hard-working group,” says Professor Corinne Beauquis, academic advisor for the French concurrent cohort at the University of Toronto Scarborough.
Offered through the Faculty of Music, the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education, the University of Toronto Mississauga, the University of Toronto Scarborough, and St. Michael’s College and Victoria College in the Faculty of Arts & Science, in partnership with the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), the concurrent program began in 2007. Teacher candidates focus on a particular area of study depending on their home undergraduate academic unit: Music Education, Physical Education and Health, French, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology, Education and Society, or Religious Education.
Graduating students receive a Bachelor of Education degree through OISE in conjunction with the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Music, or Bachelor of Physical Health and Education degree that they receive from their undergraduate unit.
“A great deal of creative energy has been generated from the partnership of faculty, students, and staff in the largest collaborative program at the University of Toronto,” says Professor Antoinette Gagné, director of the program.
Kathy Broad, academic director, Initial Teacher Education at OISE, speaks highly of the inaugural class.
“We have learned so much from and with this first 'pioneering' group of teacher candidates,” said Broad. “They have brought rich and diverse backgrounds, disciplinary knowledge and experiences to the program and to our learning community.”
Throughout their five years of study, members of the inaugural class have received academic, leadership, and athletic awards, and have been active in their home units’ and OISE’s student groups as well as in their wider communities. Students from Victoria College, for example, participated in the Vic Reach program, volunteering weekly in inner city schools.
As part of their studies, students have travelled to international locations including France, Italy, England, Senegal, Korea, Hawaii and New Zealand. A student from St. Michael’s College established connections with a Tanzanian NGO to allow other teacher candidates from the college who are in the program to complete a required course abroad in Zanzibar. A student from the University of Toronto Mississauga taught conversational French to adults in Korea as part of a required course.
“Our first cohort took the Faculty of Music by storm by establishing themselves as a very dynamic group of music students,” says Bina John, the concurrent program coordinator in the Faculty of Music.
Graduates of the program are certified to teach at either the elementary or secondary level, depending on the program path they pursued. Members of the graduating class have already received offers to teach in the Greater Toronto Area, Alberta and Korea; others are continuing on to graduate work in education or other disciplines.
“The Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education and OISE partnership has helped me to realize my goal of being an educator while allowing me to study in a field that incorporates my love of sport,” says graduating student Emily Roy. “The close-knit nature of the KPE Faculty and small concurrent cohort provided me the support I needed throughout my OISE experience.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my five years and could not imagine being a part of any other program.”