Volume 9, Number 2
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Member Spotlight: La Cité collégiale
La Cité collégiale
Postsecondary institutions face significant challenges whilst promoting the integration of new teachers and assisting them in the development of their professional identity. La Cité collégiale undertook this challenge inspired by adult education principles.
- Develop an organization that promotes continuous learning and knowledge sharing and which values relationships;
- Facilitate the integration of new teachers into a college environment;
- Promote the acquisition of specialized educational skills and adult education principles;
- Guide new teachers in the design, construction, and management of course content.
Research into best practices in postsecondary institutions permitted the college to opt for a balanced hybrid approach where peer exchanges and individual progress coexisted. The two-year program consists of an integration phase and a training phase.
The integration phase begins the first semester of employment and is extended over a period of four months. This process brings all new teachers together with simultaneous intents: establish a peer support group, launch a professional education network, share educational experiences, and identify resources or concrete solutions relating to issues facing new professionals.
The training phase extends itself over a period of 18 months and starts on the second semester of employment. This four-step process is designed for professionals to take charge of their learning activities according to an individualized approach based on personal requirements.
In an interview with a coach, teachers identify training requirements and select learning objectives and success indicators they wish to attain. A professional advancement program grid is used to develop an individual training program. Teachers choose which resources will benefit them most and determine all deadlines.
The acquisition of new skills related to learning and teaching is achieved through various activities tailored to individual requirements and is supported by regular discussions with a representative from the Faculty Resource Centre. This initiative is entirely hands on and is applied directly in the work environment. Since 2000, 96 percent of new teachers have completed the Programme de formation en pédagogie et en andragogie.
Working closely with peers, teachers learn to comment on and analyze their own strategies as well as define their comfort zone. They become better equipped to create and maintain a suitable environment for learning and teaching. Students sense this and grow to be more responsive.
La Cité collégiale has experienced striking improvements in the quality of education since the creation of this program. This is reflected in the college’s provincial key performance indicators, particularly in regards to student satisfaction. We believe the support given to new teachers has an impact on teaching skills and, consequently, on students.
These initiatives were on a voluntary basis and the college wanted to create a synergy that would resound among all departments. The plan is working. However, much remains to do to defeat professional isolation. New mechanisms to able educators concerned with the quality of their teaching and their students’ learning requirements are yet to be developed. The work will need to be completed in three stages: (1) merging our accomplishments (to identify best practices), (2) realizing transfers often take place as a result of this merge, and (3) assessing the impact these transfers have on our work environment and what we strive to accomplish.
For more information, contact Francine Chartrand,Coordinator of Professional Development at the Faculty Resource Center at La Cité collégiale in Ottawa.