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New grant program aims to help teachers address problems

September 12, 2017

A new grant program is now accepting applications from teachers who are interested in exploring solutions to professional challenges they’re facing through a collaborative inquiry with other teachers.

The Communities of Practice Inquiry Grant, being offered through the Professional Development program area of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, is a $20,000 pilot that was approved at the 2017 Annual Representative Assembly.

“We want teachers to define their problems, their teaching practice issues and come up with teaching practice solutions that will work in their teaching context,” said Gaylene Schreiber, the executive staff officer who designed the grant program.

Existing knowledge of the pressure points that teachers face in the field suggests to Schreiber that teachers may wish to use the grant to explore ways to support inclusive education, Indigenous education, teachers who are new to the profession or to Alberta, or teacher leadership in curriculum. On the other hand, it’s open to any other topic that can be addressed using an inquiry approach.

“It’s got very few boundaries,” Schreiber said. “We’re looking for teacher leadership on real, professional issues toward real, lived solutions.”

A key element of the program is that projects require the support of an ATA local. Grant funds from the program will go to the local, which will administer the funds and provide a matching amount.

“It means the local will also have some input into what that project might look like and support worthy projects that other people propose to them,” Schreiber said.

The program began accepting applications for the current school year on Sept. 1. Applications will be accepted until April 1, 2018, or until the money runs out, and are subject to approval by the Association’s table officers.

At the conclusion of their projects, participants will be expected to provide a summary of their experiences, for possible inclusion in an ATA publication. And the hope is that it will be possible to take some of the solutions and scale them up for others. Schreiber believes the project provides some “really, really neat opportunities” for teachers to identify problems and develop their own solutions.

“What’s the problem that you’re passionate about? What could you do if you had a little support to address it?” ❚

Learn more
For more information about the grant and how to apply, visit here.

Click on For Members > Programs and Services > Grants, Awards and Scholarships > Communities of Practice Inquiry Grant.

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