Teaching for Justice Conference: Engaging Controversy

Posted by Admin on October 23, 2018 at 9:11 PM


The Linden School Faculty at the second Teaching for Justice Conference, October 13, 2018.

By Farida Sheralam, Marketing and Communications Director, The Linden School

How are students reacting to educational changes wrought by the new provincial government? How are we addressing student questions about gender and identity? How do we approach Indigenous history and treaty education through student inquiry? Above all, how do we support students mobilizing for social change in the face of government restrictions? These are just some of the questions we explored at the second biennial Teaching for Justice conference, which took place earlier this month at the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario's beautiful campus. 

Originally conceived and developed by Linden teacher Beth Alexander and City View Alternative teacher Michelle Munk, this year’s conference organizers also included Ryerson University instructor Laura Schein, Critical Thinking Consortium/OISE staff Maria Vamvalis, and Halton District School Board teacher Adrianna Knight. 

The chosen conference theme, "Engaging Controversy," was aimed at inspiring educators to foster courage among those who are challenging systems of oppression. Participants spent the day focusing on inquiry, activism, and student empowerment, including a powerful dialogue with our student panellists.

Our gratitude to all conference organizers, presenters, and participants for their support, time, and expertise. Our special thanks to the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario for co-sponsoring this conference and sharing their space with us. 

Read conference workshop descriptions here.

Marit Stiles, NDP critic for Education, discussing the recent student walkout to protest sex-ed curriculum changes.


Leroi Newbold, Founding Director of Freedom School, Young Freedom Fighter Educator, and Curriculum Writer, served as the conference keynote speaker.


Laura Schein and Marit Stiles, NDP critic for Education, welcoming conference participants.


Maria Vamvalis, conference organizer, Critical Thinking Consortium/OISE (and former Linden teacher), addressing conference participants.


Beth Alexander, conference organizer and Linden STEM teacher, welcoming participants.


Joy Lachica, President of Elementary Teachers of Toronto, delivering an inspiring speech at the start of the conference.


Michelle Munk, conference organizer and City View Alternative teacher, addressing conference participants.


Conference organizer Laura Schein.


Conference participants listening to the keynote address.


The Linden School faculty enjoying this wonderful PD opportunity!


Nidhi Menon and Laura Schein, Ryerson University.


Michelle Munk and Beth Alexander.


Our awesome student panel!


Student activist Rayne Fisher-Quann addressing conference participants.


Radhika Raj & Rachel Hughes, The Bishop Strachan School, leading a workshop on "Disruptive Teaching: Investigating Gender and Identity."


Linden parent Emily Chan, ALPHA Alternative Junior, leading a workshop on "Treaty Education through Student Inquiry."


Educators Malisa Mashad and Rizwana.


Laura Schein addressing conference participants.


Linden parent Emily Chan, ALPHA Alternative Junior, leading a workshop on "Treaty Education through Student Inquiry."


Harriet Simand, Bishop Strachan School, leading a workshop on "You Are a Refugee: A Social Justice Math Simulation.”


Sarah Smart, TDSB Briarcrest Junior School, leading a workshop on "Problem-Based Projects to Engage Marginalized Students."

Photo Credit: Farida Sheralam, Beth Alexander, and Sistema Toronto.