Inaugural education symposium inspires educators to connect and learn

Participants showcased new learning strategies at the symposium

York University’s Faculty of Education hosted its inaugural education symposium – Connect, Learn, Inspire – on Saturday, April 25, at Madonna Catholic School. More than 300 teaching candidates and their guests attended the event. Other participants located at remote sites were able to participate by way of a live stream. The event marked the launch the Faculty of Education’s renewed professional learning programs.

The morning consisted of a series of main stage presentations, where additional qualification (AQ) instructional leaders showcased some of the innovative and exciting instructional methods used in their own courses. Participants also had an opportunity to engage in learning experiences based on their own professional learning goals and interests.

“The education symposium was an amazing opportunity for us to connect with educators,” said Instructional Leader (French as a Second Language) Alkiviadis Leontarakis. “By sharing our own important instructional strategies, as we ourselves continue to learn and grow as leaders, we can inspire educators to change their teaching practice to include a greater emphasis on student inquiry and creativity.”

Participant Kayla Akler gives a presentation
Participant Kayla Akler gives a presentation

Keynote speaker Shelley Marshall kicked off the afternoon with a dynamic presentation titled “Living to Learnwhere.” She spoke about the importance of the teachers in her life and the role they played in helping her to consider learning as a life skill and how to recognize and develop her own strengths. Through a drama presentation, she shared her own experience with mental illness in her family and in her life and talked about how she overcame difficulties by applying the strategies she learned from her teachers. Her remarks were one of the highlights of the day for many of the attendees. The afternoon session ended with participants attending their regularly scheduled AQ courses.

“This was an amazing opportunity for me to get a better feel for what York’s renewed professional learning program is all about,” said teacher Natasha Culmone. “I was able to get a good sense of the course content for a few of the AQ courses that I am interested in taking and had an opportunity to ask some of the instructional leaders specific questions about these courses. The day was well structured and engaging, and the keynote speaker was outstanding!”

Participants also took to Twitter using the hashtag #YUedsymposium2015 to post comments about their experiences throughout the day.

York AQs preparing teachers for the 21st century. #YUedsymposium2015

Kids’ interests today are the jobs of tomorrow! #professionaldevelopment @Guildwood_TDSB #YUedsymposium2015 #LTS15MA1S

Thank you for inspiring me to further develop my knowledge with technology platforms! #YUedsymposium2015 #inspired #edchat

“Flexible, practical and customized are key guiding principles in our revitalized professional learning program,” said Janet Murphy, director of professional learning programs at York’s Faculty of Education. “We were extremely excited and pleased with the great turnout at our inaugural event. The offering of modules, certificate programs and regular accredited professional learning was well received by everyone who attended in person and via the live stream.”

Visit the event website to download copies of some of the workshop presentations.

The Faculty of Education’s renewed professional learning programs now offer educators and teachers from across Ontario a wider range of  learning options. Educators can now choose from current, state-of-the-art certificate modules for professional learning, Ontario College of Teachers-accredited learning programs, and leadership programs for aspiring and existing leaders seeking innovation and originality. These programs and courses are offered continuously throughout the year and can be adapted to meet local needs.