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The Importance of Reciprocal Learning

Nutrition-for-school-learning-pic1This week has reminded me of a very important aspect of learning. Powerful learning happens most often when it is fostered through committed and supportive reciprocal relationships. While the field of education presents hierarchies within its system, any one person engaged in a school community is a learner regardless of age, position or power. While I write below about two of these learning opportunities, I find that moments that enrich our learning paths occur daily.

We are currently in the process of hiring for a new Vice Principal, Teaching, Learning and Curriculum to take over from Dr. Leanne Foster, who will be leaving us this summer to take on the Headship at Trafalgar Castle School for Girls. I am very pleased for Leanne as this is a wonderful accomplishment, and I am also thankful for all that our community has learned together while she has been with us. The notion of what is important in teaching and learning has been highlighted over the past several weeks as we have interviewed exceptional candidates. Despite the inevitable interview dynamic, somewhat one-sided with St. Clement’s seeking to determine what candidates can offer, I think it is safe to say that the interview teams, as much as candidates, have learned a great deal through this process.

Beyond this process, an annual lunch on Thursday, where we hosted three members of the Afro Canadian Christian Network (ACCN) and three St. Clement’s School students, brought the importance of learning as a team into focus. At the lunch Dr. Elizabeth Sinclair, a retired TDSB Superintendent and ACCN advocate, reminded me that learning is a team sport. As Dr. Sinclair said, “There are 25 students and 25 teachers in every classroom- everyone is a learner, regardless of who the teacher is.”

Whatever the situation, being mindful that we are all learners and can benefit greatly from relationships that foster discussion, perspective and diverse thought will always be of benefit.

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