TC² @ 25
Focus for This Month
Success Stories
Next Steps
Media Release
TC² @ 25
Focus for This Month
Success Stories
Next Steps
Media Release

The Power of Praxis


Ian Pettigrew

Praxis (noun): practice, as distinguished from theory
—Oxford English Dictionaries

Okay, I want you to imagine two scenes: a professional learning session and a classroom.

  • First, picture the professional learning session: Teachers are recognized and celebrated for the pivotal role they play in nurturing the conditions that foster high levels of student engagement. The facilitators elicit and then respond to the explicit individual and collective needs and aspirations of the assembled teachers.
  • Now picture the classroom: Students are working in concert, involved in a discourse characterized by critical inquiry and creative thinking. All attention is focussed on addressing an authentic, real-world, compelling issue.
Can you clearly imagine these two scenes? Can you see, hear, and feel what they would be like? If so, then you have a clear impression of the type of work in which The Critical Thinking Consortium (TC²) has been engaged for 25 years in classrooms and schools across Ontario, Canada, and, in fact, the world.

Experiencing those “a-ha” moments

I have benefitted from the work of TC² in many roles throughout my own career, as the lead learner in the classroom, as an instructional coordinator, and as a director of curriculum and assessment. To be sure, I have had my own thinking and practice both affirmed and disrupted but always in respectful and beneficial ways. I have experienced first-hand the “a-ha” moments and epiphanies that are launching pads for critical reflection and catalysts for transforming teaching and learning. I have witnessed many similar moments of epiphany experienced by students and colleagues, as well.


Inspiring a desire to step outside our comfort zones

TC² is committed to starting with where we’re at as teachers—the same principle we try to follow with our students. TC² recognizes that educators are involved in a continuous journey of learning and growth, just like our students. Further,TC² knows we’re all at different stages on that journey. TC² facilitators often get the process going by encouraging teachers to “tweak or change one thing you currently do.” This approach to building a community of critical thinkers makes the change process seem far less daunting and unattainable than it would otherwise be.

Through its model of professional learning, TC² inspires a desire to experiment and play with theories and practices that lie outside our comfort zones. TC²’s work is a testament to what can and does happen when, as teachers, we’re given space and time to interrogate our own beliefs about teaching and learning in the company of “critical friends”—our peers and, yes, our students.


Extending a thank you

By engaging teachers in the powerful praxis of critical thinking, TC² breathes life into the pedagogy of critical inquiry.

I’m pleased to write this testimonial in celebration of TC²’s 25th Anniversary. The Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF), which represents the 160 000 members of the teaching profession in Ontario’s publicly funded schools, has been a proud TC² partner for more than a decade. As TC² looks to the future, we hope that they accept our thanks for honouring teachers as the passionate professionals they are. OTF and I wish you continued success in your transformative work.

Ian Pettigrew
Director, Curriculum Assessment
Ontario Teachers’ Federation