Faculty of Education

Faculty of Education
Faculty of Education

Community-based Aboriginal Teacher Education Program expands to full-time model

December 14, 2017 

The Faculty of Education is now offering its community-based Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP) on a new full-time model that will provide teacher candidates with greater skills and knowledge to teach in the primary-junior level at First Nations or Ontario provincial schools, as well as the opportunity to obtain a transitional certificate.

Beginning in May 2018, teacher candidates attend classes at Queen’s for one summer session and at Kenjgewin Teg on Manitoulin Island for two fall terms, two winter terms and one summer term. Experientially-based, the program also offers supervised teaching placements in First Nations and provincial school settings.

Under the new model, teacher candidates in the program can choose between two study concentrations: Aboriginal Language Teacher, which prepares them to teach an Aboriginal language; or Northern Teacher, which prepares them to work in a rural or remote setting.

The application period is currently open. Applications will be accepted until Feb. 1, 2018.

Class scheduling is designed to accommodate teacher candidates who work or have other responsibilities and must continue to live in their home communities. The program begins with orientation and extended weekend classes offered at Kenjgewin Teg located at M’Chigeeng First Nation. Spring classes and a three-week practicum in a First Nation or provincial school are followed by a short summer session on campus at Queen’s in July. Students return to Kenjgewin Teg for fall and winter classes in Year One and Year Two. Classes are offered over extended weekend sessions held about once a month and some course content is offered online. The program concludes with a community-based summer session to be offered on Manitoulin Island in the summer of 2020.

Through the new program, following an assessment during their first practicum and successful completion of summer session courses, teacher candidates may apply toreceive a transitional teaching certificate issued by the OCT. This will allow teacher candidates who are currently working in a classroom teaching position to fulfill practicum requirements while continuing their teaching job.

“The new model enhances access to this program by allowing teacher candidates to spend the majority of their time in the communities,” says Peter Chin, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies. “The introduction of the transitional certificate is an important feature of the program, because many teacher candidates can continue their teaching jobs and apply the teaching time towards their practicum requirement. While most of the program is delivered in their community, the teacher candidates engage in the Queen’s community during their first semester on campus and through the virtual learning.”

Many of the community-based ATEP’s courses will be taught by professors of Aboriginal ancestry, and learning opportunities include the application of Aboriginal perspectives to theory and practice, problem solving with peers, and review of Aboriginal and other curriculum resources in conjunction with provincial curriculum guidelines.

For ATEP Coordinator Lindsay Morcom, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education, introducing the Indigenous language teacher stream is particularly exciting as it responds directly to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC).

“Graduates from our program will be OCT-qualified teachers with the language knowledge and teaching skill to provide students in the Manitoulin-North Shore region and beyond with access in school to the Anishinaabemowin language, either through language classes or immersion education,” she says. “They will also be able to support the policy of the United Chiefs and Council of Mnidoo Mnising to offer all services, including education, in the Anishinaabemowin language by 2030.  We are working closely with our partners in the Manitoulin-North Shore region to ensure that the program is culturally and linguistically accurate and appropriate and reflects local goals for education and self-determination as we develop the curriculum for this exciting new educational opportunity.

For applicants of Aboriginal ancestry, the community-based ATEP can be entered with Grade 12 or equivalent (Diploma in Education), or can be entered with an undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Education).  Applicants who are non-Aboriginal are also encouraged to apply, but must hold an undergraduate degree before beginning the program.

For more information, visit the ATEP Community-Based webpage.