A recent decision by the Ontario College of Teachers confirms that distance education is a valuable part of the learning equation–not only for students, but also for teachers.
Effective January 2007, the College recognizes “a portion of an initial teacher education program done via distance education” (1), as long as the program includes an in-class practicum or applicants have at least one year of experience teaching outside the province.
The change is the result of a recent College-led review of the teacher qualification process. Participants in the review endorsed the role of different delivery methods for the initial phase of teacher education, but also reaffirmed the importance of delivering methodology courses in a traditional, hands-on way. Applicants applying to the College for certification will still need to take at least two such courses in a face-to-face environment.
As Registrar Brian McGowan explained in a recent College release, this change in procedures “reflects a growing confidence in the education sector that distance education is a useful and valid method of teacher education delivery, especially when used in conjunction with more traditional methods” (1).
This decision is good news for teacher candidates who have previously been refused certification because their training program incorporated distance education. The College is now contacting these individuals to let them know about the changes.
The new procedures will also affect teachers who received their training outside Canada, allowing them to gain Ontario certification more quickly.
Full details of the College’s two-year review process are available in their report, Preparing Teachers for Tomorrow: The Final Report 2006, available at http://www.oct.ca/publications/PDF/TQR/tqr_report_e.pdf.
(1) Ontario College of Teachers. College Recognizes Distance Education Delivery. Retrieved May 8, 2007, from http://www.oct.ca/temp/distance_education.aspx?lang=en-CA