Primary Junior Specialty Areas
Focus: While becoming qualified to teach in Ontario schools, PJ, JI, and IS Teacher Candidates in this specialty area prepare to teach in international and culturally-diverse school settings. Is this specialty for me? If you are interested in teaching or leading in international educational contexts at home or abroad (in, for example, international schools), are committed to fostering international mindedness through international experience and curricula, and are ready to experience and participate in new cultural contexts beyond what you already know, this specialty area is for you.
Early Childhood Education
Focus: While becoming qualified to teach all the PJ grades, JK-6, Teacher Candidates in this specialty area develop particular expertise in the education of the youngest learners in schools—those in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 3, aged 4 to 8 years. Is this specialty for me? If you are interested in early years and primary education, have a background in and passion for working with and learning from young children, and are committed to exciting and innovative curriculum and pedagogical practices for this age group, this specialty area is for you.
Focus: Urban schools often serve students of cultural, racial, and linguistic diversity, many of whom live in poverty. Such schools may face issues of drug and alcohol abuse, violence, and crime in surrounding communities, issues which also sometimes challenge suburban and rural schools but which are compounded in urban contexts by specific circumstances. Urban planning, development, and zoning policies, and the gentrification of neighbourhoods, for example, affect social housing conditions and access to resources for poor communities. Those policies can further disenfranchise young people in those communities in terms of their achievement and participation in schooling.While all teachers must be cognizant of equity and social justice issues, and be prepared to teach students of diverse backgrounds, the Urban Education specialty area helps to build specialized knowledge and understanding about schools particularly characterized by poverty and high rates of mobility, and which serve large numbers of ethnic, racial minority, immigrant, sexual minority, and gender-diverse students. For PJ, JI, and IS Teacher Candidates. Is this specialty for me? Urban Education prepares teachers for schools serving students from particularly diverse and complex communities. If you want to make a commitment to improving life chances for children and youth who come from disadvantaged positions in life, this specialty area is for you.
Focus: Within the PJ and JI programs, Teacher Candidates in this specialty area prepare to teach in French Immersion and Core French programs in Ontario schools. By developing a critical understanding of and sensitivity to linguistic variation, Teacher Candidates prepare to teach students of diverse linguistic and social backgrounds. Is this specialty for me? If you are interested in teaching French to children of diverse backgrounds and varied levels of proficiency, in working in a private French language school, or in teaching French as a second, additional, or international language to students abroad, and if you are interested in expanding your understanding of French language education and cultures in Canada, this specialty area is for you.
Advanced Studies in the Psychology of Achievement, Inclusion, & Mental Health
Focus: Today’s classrooms include students with a variety of strengths, challenges, and exceptionalities. While all teachers must be prepared to teach for success in inclusive classrooms, the Advanced Studies in Psychology program builds specialized knowledge about evidence-based practices that significantly increase students’ academic achievement, social development, and mental health. For PJ, JI, and IS Teacher Candidates. Preference is given to candidates who have a strong psychology background in their undergraduate course work. Is this specialty for me? If you are particularly interested in teaching students with exceptionalities, many of whom also face social or economic disadvantage, or both, this specialty area is for you.