The legalities of learning
By Rosie Hales, Communications Officer
Benjamin Kutsyuruba (Education) has contributed to guides for Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario that outline the legal rights and responsibilities of students, parents, teachers and administrators in those provinces.
“The guides were developed as reference material for a layperson,” says Dr. Kutsyuruba. “It’s important that current and aspiring educators have access to a user-friendly guide to keep up to date with the laws and regulations that pertain to teaching in each province.”
The Ontario guide to school law is the first of its kind for the province, providing a comprehensive overview of relevant provincial statutes, regulations and policies.
Students in Queen’s Faculty of Education have used the Ontario guide as a textbook in Dr. Kutsyuruba’s School Law and Policy, a required course for all teacher candidates seeking an Ontario teacher’s certificate. His goal is to help students develop legal, professional and ethical literacy in education.
“Whenever I teach a group of teacher candidates, I remind them that ‘ignorance is not an excuse,’” says Dr. Kutsyuruba. “These are the statutes and regulations that will guide their careers. It’s really exciting to be able to teach and develop teacher candidates’ long-term interest in these important topics.”
Dr. Kutsyuruba’s interest in education law, policy and ethics dates back to his undergraduate studies at Chernivtsi National University in Ukraine.
An exchange at the University of Saskatchewan sparked his desire to explore how educational administration varies from place to place. He decided to move to Canada and research the topic during his graduate studies at the University of Saskatchewan.
School law, policy and ethics are just a part of Dr. Kutsyuruba’s research, though. He also focuses on teacher induction, mentoring and school leadership.
“Finding out what makes a good leader and mentoring aspiring teachers to help prepare them for future careers has got to be one of my favourite parts of the job.”