Understanding the Nature of Learning
The Association strives to ensure that relational learning comes first in Alberta classrooms. The Association is a leader in researching new ways that children can learn in publicly funded institutions. In a climate of growing inequity and standardization, the Association seeks to protect and nurture innovation and effective practice.
Education is ultimately a relational endeavour. It follows that anything that diminishes the relationships between teachers, students and parents diminishes the quality of learning.
• Research promising practices and current developments with respect to the relational nature of learning. (NEW)
• Cosponsor public events based on the theme of relationships and the future of learning.
• In the context of the growing diversity and complexity of school–communities, provide teachers with knowledge and skills that focus on inclusion and equity.
• Give students agency in helping to determine their own conditions of learning.
Improving the Working Lives of Teachers
Teachers establish effective relationships with their students, their families and Alberta communities by being the best that they can be. Teachers are at their best when they (1) practise collaborative professional autonomy, (2) feel that they can speak out without fear on matters related to teaching and learning and (3) are able to integrate the competing responsibilities of their personal and professional lives.
The conditions of practice that teachers encounter have a direct impact on their effectiveness as teachers. The strategies associated with this direction focus on ways in which teachers can enhance their professional efficacy by achieving optimal conditions of practice that support real learning.
• Seek teachers’ input on what an enhanced sense of sustained work–life integration means. (NEW)
• Undertake research on, and develop a model for, achieving work–life integration. (NEW)
• Address with the government the kind of investment and support that is required to enable teachers to demonstrate the highest standard of practice. (NEW)
• Support teachers’ efforts to develop communities of practice that support collaborative professional autonomy.
• Assess and publicize how policy and organizational decisions affect teachers’ worklife.
• Ensure that collective bargaining addresses the increasingly complex and competing demands that teachers are facing.
• Affirm the profession’s view of what constitutes teachers’ work. (NEW)
Building Member Commitment and Public Engagement
The Association shares with the public the goal of wanting to understand the fundamental nature of learning and the important role that learning plays in creating Alberta’s future. However, for this kind of discussion to take place, members must be committed and the public must be engaged.
Teachers are more likely to engage with the public when they are committed to and feel proud of their profession and have a compelling reason for belonging. Linking members’ commitment to the Association and the public’s willingness to engage in discussions about educational matters will create opportunities for (1) talking about the future of Alberta’s children, (2) discussing the future of the province, (3) communicating the real purposes of learning and (4) exposing discredited ideas about schools and learning. By focusing on the critical issues that affect children, the Association influences the wider cultural milieu.
• Design innovative ways of building on the public’s and the Association’s converging interest in co-creating a vibrant, democratic, learning-driven society. (NEW)
• Launch a project to examine the kinds of hearts and minds that Albertans will need to possess to enable the province to thrive on global opportunities in the future. (NEW)
• Develop communication strategies to help the Association listen to and be listened to by Albertans.
• Ensure that school leaders and teachers support each other in creating democratic workplaces.
• Help teachers to be effective front-line advocates for public education through their individual and collective authoritative voices.
• Use social media to promote social justice and cohesion.
• Help teachers to show how inequity and standardization diminish learning. (NEW)
• Build enduring alliances with a variety of organizations based on common goals. (NEW)
Becoming an Agile and Resilient Learning Organization
Agility and resilience are cornerstones of the Association’s commitment to learn from and then shape its environment. To become agile and resilient, the Association must create a culture that encourages members to be innovative and take risks.
Pursuing this direction will require efforts on the part of both the provincial organization and its locals and other subgroups. The structures and traditions that serve the members well must not inhibit the Association from thinking and acting creatively in the future. The Association’s real strengths are the collective knowledge of its members and subgroups and its ethical commitment to advancing public education.
• Research alternatives to hierarchic organizational structures. (NEW)
• Build robust national and international partnerships focused on enhancing teaching practice and school leadership. (NEW)
• Build the capacity of committees and subgroups to commission and conduct research.
• In partnership with faculties of education and international experts, develop programs that help teachers become authoritative voices on educational matters.
• Research the future of learning and professional practice.
• Examine how emerging educational issues are connected to social and economic issues.
• Build the capacity of subgroups and members to engage in strategic thinking.
Strategic Plan 2013 (pdf)
Strategic Plan 2013