Past Events

August 20, 2019

Swimming in the Deep? : What does it take?


Lead by author Jennifer Abrams, this session will support teachers and school leaders in the development of the educational leadership skills needed to create real change in their schools. 


Participants will learn how to:

assess their cognitive, social and psychological skill sets
• learn more about decision making and implementation of decisions, the complexity of it all and where we ‘trip up’
• look at the research around why we are resistant to change and develop tool kit for how to manage resistance and
• develop a bandwidth and strength around psychologically managing our ourselves and build our stress tolerance.

LFO: Spring Networking Dinner with Special Guest: Dr. Carol Campbell

April 30, 2019

How do we maintain momentum in turbulent times?

How do we move collective learning forward?  

With Special Guest: Dr. Carol Campbell

Please join us for a networking dinner and discussion on Tuesday, April 30th, 2019 at Winona Drive Sr. Public School in Toronto, Ont. (101 Winona Drive)

Special Guest – Dr. Carol Campbell from the University of Toronto as well as a panel of leaders who will help to move the conversation forward. 

Facilitating and Coaching Skills

August 27, 2018

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School improvement efforts have shown us that leadership is possible at every level of an education system. However, leaders need strong facilitation and communication skills for leading learning communities where collaborative learning can thrive.  The word facilitate means “to make easier”.   A facilitator tries to make it easier for a group to do its work and be effective in reaching articulated goals. Facilitative skills in themselves are very cross-disciplinary.  


Increasingly, in group and co-learning situations, it appears that coaching and facilitation skills can be blended to complement each other.  Both processes benefit from the establishment of working norms.  While facilitation helps a group move forward by using structures such as protocols as discussion guides, coaching can help individuals within a group experience move forward.   One distinction that stands out is that a facilitator usually takes a neutral stance and is substantially process centered while a coach may be more content and “individual” centered, helping others make better sense of specific learning.  Peer coaching is an interactive process between two or more teaching professionals that is used to share successful practice through collaboration and reflection.  


The good news is that both kinds of helping stances make a difference in many learning situations.  One can learn to be a facilitative leader, a facilitative coach, a facilitative consultant and a facilitative teacher.  Both stances are built on establishing a safe environment for learning and strong relationship skills. 

Educator's Professional Learning in Canada

October 18, 2018

Facilitation of dialogue and dissemination of findings from the study 'Educators' Professional Learning in Canada', Learning Forward Ontario, with Dr. Carol Campbell and the research team.


Carol and her team discussed Ontario specific findings from their study. As part of the 'Think Tank' we will continue to develop an agenda for action and co-develop resources for future events. Additionally, Learning Forward Ontario is seeking input about how to leverage the organization to ensure high quality standards for professional learning for Ontario educators.


Networking for Facilitators and Learning Leaders

April 11, 2018

Those of us involved in mobilizing professional learning know the importance of engaging people effectively, encouraging voice and choice while keeping learning goals in mind and, most of all, finding ways to build trust, safety and strong relationships as a part of co-learning and co-work.  Join us for this first networking opportunity to share ideas about supporting the learning of others through collaborative strategies and coaching. 

December 07, 2016

Participation on behalf of Learning Forward Ontario at the Learning Forward Conference in Vancouver, 2016.

Details available at the site.

Leading Teams: Promoting Effective Collaboration

April 05, 2016

For decades, the most respected educational thought leaders and researchers have promoted professional learning designs that are inquiry-based and aimed to develop teacher leadership and promote effective collaboration. These themes were explored throughout the day.

Beate Planche facilitated a discussion on some of the co-learning strategies from the new book by Lyn Sharratt and Beate Planche entitled ‘Leading Collaborative Learning: Empowering Excellence’.

Margot Heaton modeled the use of protocols as a critical component in supporting high-leverage collaborative work.

In the afternoon, an Open Space Forum took place.

Thanks to all who participated.

Digital Leadership with George Couros

February 19, 2015

Digital Leadership with George Couros took place February 19th 2015 in Burlington. This event sold out within 2 weeks.

How to Create a Culture of Achievement with Dr. Douglas Fisher at the Chestnut Conference Centre

October 21, 2014

What does it feel like to walk into your school? Is it a welcoming place where everyone feels valued? Most school improvement efforts focus on academic goals. But what makes or breaks your learning community are the intangibles--the relationships and connections that make up its culture. No school improvement effort will be effective unless school culture is addressed. In this session, we focus on five pillars that are critical to building a culture of achievement:

  1. Welcome: Imagine if all staff members in your school considered it their job to make every student, parent, and visitor feel noticed, welcomed, and valued.

  2. Do no harm: Your school rules should be tools for teaching students to become the moral and ethical citizens you expect them to be.

  3. Choice words: When the language students hear helps them tell a story about themselves that is one of possibility and potential, students perform in ways that are consistent with that belief.

  4. It s never too late to learn: Can you push students to go beyond the minimum needed to get by, to discover what they are capable of achieving?

  5. Best school in the universe: Is your school the best place to teach and learn? The best place to work?

Learning Forward Ontario Spring Conference

May 01, 2014

Crown Plaza, Niagara Falls.

The theme of ‘Moving Forward: Great to Excellent’ was clearly evident at the spring Learning Forward Ontario conference in Niagara Falls on May 1st and 2nd. Over 120 educators from across Ontario joined together for learning directly related to the work they are doing in their school districts. The focus on adult learning brought together superintendents, school administrators, provincial leads, consultants and classroom teachers for a common purpose; improving learning outcomes for all students.

The conference included a few firsts for Learning Forward Ontario. It was our first conference in Niagara Falls, our first use of twitter (#LFO2014) and it was the first keynote address in Ontario for Dr. Judith Warren Little. Dr. Little is known for her work in support of creating conditions for teacher leadership and learning in schools. This focus was timely for the Learning Forward Ontario audience who pursue this goal in their own work. 

Day two of the conference started with our president, Amy Lin and OMCA president, Cam McDonald moderating a panel discussion with mathematics leaders from across Canada. The panel consisted of David Martin (Alberta), Annie Savard (McGill U., Quebec), Dr. Marian Small (Ontario), and Jan Crofoot (Principal, Peel DSB). This question and answer session left participants with a clear national perspective on the current thinking on mathematics learning and teaching in Canada. Here are a few thoughts and comments that came out of the discussion:

  • Teacher training in teaching mathematics is importance but even more important is the culture in the school around professional learning

  • Teachers need to have a clear understanding of not only what but why they are teaching what they are teaching

  • Inquiry has to be more than just the thing that you want to do. We have to move beyond surface learning

  • Understanding needs to be the focus, not speed.

  • Value divergence not convergence in math.

  • Value thinking –have the students had to ‘think’ each day?

Student learning in mathematics continues to be a significant concern across Canada. This panel confirmed that that teachers and districts have the ability to improve math learning outcomes for students. We need to take the time to intentionally take the time to apply what we know in order to see the results students deserve.

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