Currently, there are no AODA education standards. However, two AODA standards development committees have drafted recommendations of guidelines that AODA education standards should include. One committee has recommended guidelines for the kindergarten to grade twelve (K-12) education system. In this article, we outline recommended AODA and human rights training for educators.
AODA and Human Rights Training for Educators
The AODA mandates accessibility training for educators. However, this training may leave educators unprepared for many situations. As a result, the Committee recommends many additional forms of accessibility training for educators. For instance, educators should have more thorough training about their legal responsibilities to accommodate people with disabilities, under:
- The AODA
- The Ontario Human Rights Code
- The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
This training should teach educators about the right to accommodation, and how this right applies to their interactions with:
- Family members of students, such as parents or guardians
- Colleagues, such as teachers or other staff members with disabilities
Therefore, the Committee recommends that the government create a module that delivers all this information. A standardized module would ensure that every educator in every school board receives the same level of training.
In addition, the Committee recommends that educators should also receive standardized training on Universal Design for Learning (UDL). For example, some of the educators who should receive this training are:
- School board administrators
- School leaders, such as principals and vice-principals
- Teachers, including supply teachers
- Educational assistants (EAs)
- Other support professionals
Educators should receive some of this training before the beginning of the school year. Furthermore, they should have more training throughout the year. This UDL training will help teachers present to, assess, and motivate their students. School board personnel can learn how policy impacts UDL, and how these policies can positively influence disability awareness.
These types of training should take place through a mixture of in-person and online instruction. This mixture will help educators recognize that learning happens in both ways, and the need to accommodate in both learning environments. Moreover, training material should be available in accessible formats. Finally, while the government develops the training, it should consult people who live with disabilities.