‘All I’s On Education’ research project launches

Future sketch image from All Is launch

A new Faculty of Education research project, “All I’s On Education: Imagination, Integration, Innovation,” was initiated at York University on Nov. 4 and 5, with a project kickoff involving some 60 educators and researchers from across Ontario.

“All I’s On Education: Imagination, Integration, Innovation” is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education and the Council of Ontario Directors of Education. The project will experiment with innovative, imaginative and integrated teacher practice through teacher-led, classroom-based inquiry projects, and is being led by York Education Professor Kathleen Gould Lundy.

Teachers and administrators from ten different Ontario school boards spent two days at the Schulich Private Dining Room with: Lundy, the project’s principal investigator; York Professor of education and project co-investigator Steve Alsop; Toronto District School Board Teacher Marc Husband (Faculty of Education secondee); Glendon PhD candidate Jafar Hussain; York education Professors Naomi Norquay and Tina Rapke; and York Faculty of Fine Arts Professor Belarie Zatzman. The researchers conducted workshops rooted in math, science and the arts that asked teachers to think about ways to reimagine their teaching. The teachers and administrators planned their school-based inquiry projects, exchanged ideas and discussed next steps for the project.

Future SketchSML325[3]
A future sketch captured the flow of ideas offered by educational designer Amy Satterthwaite to researchers and investigators present during the “All I’s On Education” project launch Nov. 4 and 5. The sketch was created by Dushan Milic, adjunct faculty at OCADU
Faculty of Education Dean Ron Owston and Celia Haig Brown, associate dean of research and professional development, welcomed the participants and spoke about the important creative work underway in the project. Guests at the launch included Penny Milton, the former CEO of the Canadian Education Association, who gave participants her insights about 21st century teaching and learning.
Educational designer and teacher Amy Satterthwaite and Dushan Milic, a freelance illustrator and adjunct faculty member at OCADU, encouraged teachers to imagine forward, dreaming about the future of education. As Satterthwaite spoke, Milic captured her presentation in a graphic recording (pictured above).
According to Lundy, the “All I’s On Education” project will help teachers and students select and work artistically with common concepts, contexts, ideas, themes, issues and relationships found in various disciplines. With the infusion of resources and custom-designed professional development, teachers participating in the project will be introduced to innovative ideas and practices in cross-curricular teaching. They will gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to teach and then represent learning in math, science and the arts in precise, imaginative and contextually driven ways, while at the same time weaving innovative uses of technology into the classroom experience. As part of the project, York researchers will spend the academic year visiting schools and working with teachers in their classrooms to find ways of highlighting and celebrating the voices of these innovative practitioners (VIPs).
Through a research report, professional development guide, research performance and dedicated website, “All I’s On Education” will bring a large-scale view, rooted in real teacher experiences, to Ontario’s educational infrastructure.

Kathleen Gould Lundy
Kathleen Gould Lundy

“This research project is a dream come true for me. I’ve always wanted to have the time and permission to investigate how teachers tap into their own creative capacities, take risks in their teaching and integrate subjects so that there are no forced connections, just a blend of narratives,” said Lundy. “We all want to develop curriculum that is culturally relevant, complex, authentic and artistic. This is our chance.”

Teachers at the All I's on Education workshop
Teachers participating in the “All I’s On Education” launch workshop

The teachers came from as close as downtown Toronto and as far away as 300 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, representing a diversity of experiences and a great enthusiasm for experimentation. One teacher who faces a difficult classroom in a disadvantaged community said, “I really needed this,” referring to the inspiring conversations in the room. It was a shared sentiment, as teachers took the opportunity to push forward their teaching practice.

“All I’s On Education” runs the length of the 2014-15 school year. On June 18, teachers will showcase their experiences at a multidiscipinary performance at 7pm at the Joseph G. Green Studio Theatre, Centre for Film and Theatre, Keele campus.

For more information and updates, visit the All I’s On Education website.

Submitted by Anderson Coward, communications officer, Faculty of Education