YORK UNIVERSITY'S FACULTY OF EDUCATION CELEBRATES 25 YEARS -- AND 17,700 TEACHERS;
TORONTO, May 5, 1998 -- In 1972/73, York University broke new ground in Ontario when its newly founded Faculty of Education introduced a unique teaching program emphasizing practical, in-class teaching experience. Twenty five years later, many members of that first graduating class of 16 -- many of whom are still teaching -- will reunite with other graduates to discuss how teaching has changed, and to pay tribute to the first recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award.
To celebrate this quarter century milestone, the York University Faculty of Education in conjunction with its Alumni Association (YUFEAA), are holding a gala and awards dinner on Thursday, May 7, 1998, at Vari Hall, Rotunda at 6:30 p.m.
One of the highlights of the evening, which will draw about 200 teachers back to their alma mater, includes the presentation of YUFEAA's first Excellence in Teaching award to Claude Grimmond, a teacher at Westview Centennial Secondary School in North York, and a resident of Richmond Hill, Ontario.
Grimmond, who graduated from York in 1990 with an In Service Bachelor of Education, has been teaching for 27 years. His performance inside and outside the classroom earned him top marks with the jury. "The jury found Mr. Grimmond demonstrated admirable skill, not only in his role as teacher, but also in his pro-active involvement with his school community," says Mindy Pollishuke, president of YUFEAA.
"Claude has made a difference in the lives of hundreds of young people and their families. He is a true educator, because foremost in his mind and actions are the well-being and positive development of young people," says Westview teacher Virlie Dainty, who nominated Grimmond for the YUFEAA award.
A program team leader in Westview's Creative Arts Department, Grimmond is noted for his exemplary work and dedication in the area of conflict mediation. His achievements include:
Grimmond has won the respect both of his peers and students, who see him as a "cool teacher" and as someone who is genuinely concerned about their education and welfare.
"People who come into this profession shouldn't come into because they're looking for a job, but because they care," adds Mr. Grimmond. "I came into the profession because I genuinely believed that I could make a difference in the lives of students."
Everything he has achieved as an educator is a result of caring. He adds, " In order to be an effective teacher, kids need to see you as someone who is concerned about them and their success. You have to find a way to connect with them in order for them to learn."
He cautions new teachers that their role will require more than teaching curriculum, it requires teaching students. "Teachers must get to know their students so that they can address their individual learning needs. This is a challenge, given our multiracial, multicultural and multilingual student population," he says.
Twenty-five years ago, York University was one of the few universities in Canada to recognize these needs and address them. The faculty's first dean, Robert Overing, realized that teacher candidates needed to have a forum to process what they are learning. The Faculty of Education's teacher training program was founded on the principle that teachers should be competent to teach children of all levels and backgrounds. Traditionally, student teachers were given 10 weeks of practice teaching. Dean Overing thought it would be beneficial to extend practice teaching to six months throughout the course.
Today, the teacher education programmes at York are distinguished from others in Ontario by the amount of practicum experience. A teacher candidate spends approximately 100 days in a class room setting experiencing situations met by teachers on a daily basis, developing an understanding of how schools meet community needs and reflecting on personal experience and observations.
York offers two teacher education models, the Concurrent and the Consecutive programmes, each leading to a Bachelor of Education degree and recommendation for the Ontario Teacher's Certificate (OTC).
Grimmond received a $1,000 cheque, donated by ManuLife Financial, along with his award. Award nominations were open to all Faculty of Education graduates who have made a significant difference to the lives of students, colleagues, schools and their community. The call for nominations garnered an impressive list of candidates.
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