This weekend, teachers from across BC will be gaining new knowledge and skills through dozens of conferences organized by their peers and colleagues. Many events are wrapped around the province-wide professional development day, Friday, October 22.
“Every year this PD day offers a tremendously rich array of learning opportunities for teachers across BC,” said BCTF President Susan Lambert. “Teachers engage in personal research and inquiry, learn from experts, and share ideas and experiences in collaboration with colleagues.”
Lambert noted that a recent survey found BC teachers to be deeply committed to ongoing professional development opportunities, especially those that are self-directed and collaborative. As well, thousands of teachers continue postgraduate studies in the summer or even while they are working. A full 25% of BC teachers have completed their masters’ degrees and a further 26% have achieved a university certificate or diploma beyond the bachelor level.
Within the BCTF, there are 33 Provincial Specialist Associations that cater to the needs of teachers in every subject field and area of interest. Through their PSAs, teachers devote thousands of hours of volunteer time to organising conferences, publishing journals, and supporting one another professionally. At PSA conferences, many keynote speakers are leading international experts in their fields of education, and others are well-known across society. For example:
Stephen Lewis: Canada’s former ambassador to the United Nations will address the BC Teachers for Peace and Global Education on October 21, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Sullivan Heights Secondary in Surrey.
Margaret Trudeau: The former first lady will speak to the BC School Counsellors’ Association on “Making Tough Choices” on October 21, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at the Coast Plaza Hotel and Suites in Vancouver.
Among the workshop themes on offer at this year’s conferences are: Teachings from the elders in Aboriginal education; adapting teaching practice for students with special needs; teaching in rural classrooms; facing the realities of racism; meaningful integration of technology into the classroom; brain-friendly strategies to ignite gifted learners; science workshops at TRIUMF research centre; teaching business education for the 21st century; and building a more civil society through teaching rights, freedoms, and responsibilities for the 21st century. Every subject area from art to athletics, science to math, reading to literature is covered.
For a complete listing of conferences and workshops, visit: