Design Thinking Cohort

Students entering their final year of the BEd program are invited to apply to be matched with a partner teacher in either the Rocky View School Division or the Calgary Board of Education for Field 3 and Field 4. Selected students will participate in a design thinking cohort and work with their partner teacher for Fields 3 and 4 to design and implement personalized, authentic learning experiences and tasks in the classroom.

The Calgary Board of Education believes that each student is unique and that personalized learning is the key to their success. Therefore, the CBE offers many professional development opportunities, including those that focus on the principles of design thinking and creating authentic tasks that make learning visible for students.

The Rocky View School Division works with beginning teachers to develop their practice as they enter the profession. The RVS Learning Department's Learning Design Specialists offer collaborative design cohorts for teachers to experience instructional design firsthand, develop an inquiry project for their own context, and implement their project with students in the classroom.


For students entering their EDUC 500s in Fall 2020

Working with a partner teacher from your subject specialization


Board-led professional development

Focus on design-based thinking as part of your Field 3 and Field 4 experiences


Weekdays during school hours between September 2020 and April 2021


Workshops will take place at Board Offices and the University

Placements will be in either CBE or RVS depending on which board(s) you rank

Participating in this cohort was an invaluable experience because it provided an opportunity to take risks and try out ideas in the classroom that might otherwise have been impossible during my field experience.

Design Thinking Cohort Participant


What's Involved

Pre-service teachers will participate in a series of professional development sessions between September 2020 and April 2021. The sessions include:

  1. An Orientation Session. Participants will receive an orientation to the placement's goals and timelines, as well as an introduction to design thinking and the Werklund School of Education's approach to intentional learning opportunities.
  2. A Design Thinking Workshop. Building on earlier conversations, participants will examine design thinking in depth to prepare them for their time in Field 3.
  3. A Reconnecting Workshop, hosted by CBE. Following Field 3, Participants will work with CBE Learning Specialists to explore the principles of design thinking and how Alberta teachers use instructional design to meet the needs of their students.
  4. Celebration and Debrief. A core part of the scholarship of teaching and learning is sharing your work with other educators. Pre-service teachers will be invited to a public celebration of their inquiry projects to showcase student work and recognize participants' contributions.

After attending the first three sessions, pre-service teachers will design and implement an authentic learning experience, connected to the Program of Studies, using design thinking as a lens. Importantly, as expected in any practicum placement, debriefing and planning with your partner teacher will be ongoing throughout this process.

Please Note

  • Participating in this opportunity will not affect students' Field Experience evaluations. The opportunity will not be included in students' Field Evaluations, and if either the pre-service teacher or the partner teacher decide to opt out of the cohort, students' evaluations will not be affected.
  • As with all Field Experiences, if the partner teacher believes that a student's participation in the cohort will compromise their field placement, the partner teacher or field instructor have the right to ask participants to leave the cohort.

  • If you apply for this opportunity, we will consider it your #1 priority for a Field Placement. While we do work to accommodate all of your requests (e.g., location, teacher interests, etc.), the specialized nature of this opportunity and the limited number of teachers available means that perfect matches on every front are not always possible.

  • Travel times for this opportunity tend to be somewhat longer than usual for Field 3/4, as fewer teachers are available for these opportunities than for regular field placements.

  • These placements are arranged by the school board, not by our Field team. As a result, if you are placed with this Cohort but the placement falls through, we may not be able to secure another placement alongside the Cohort. We will certainly find you a suitable Field 3/4 placement, however.

Workshops Alongside Partner Teachers

Participants placed with Rocky View Schools Division will also have the opportunity to attend additional sessions during Field 3 and 4, alongside their partner teachers:

  1. Introduction to RVS Design Process / Mentor Teacher Meet and Greet. Participants will experience problem-based learning to better understand RVS's approach to instructional design. Participants will also have the opportunity to collaborate with their partner teachers and RVS's Learning Specialists.
  2. Design Day. Participants will use the RVS instructional design model to create an inquiry project for their students that aligns with the principles of design thinking and the needs of their students.
  3. One-to-One Coaching Opportunities.  The RVS Learning Design Team will meet with pre-service teachers and their partner teachers to provide individualized support and coaching as they prepare to implement their inquiry project.


  • Pre-service teachers need a current Police Information Check with Vulnerable Sector Screening (issued after July 1, 2020).

  • Pre-service teachers must be entering the final year of their teacher education program to be eligible for this opportunity

  • Since students matched to this program will be placed in CBE or RVS schools, participating students must have access to transportation and be willing to be placed in these boards if they rank those boards during their application.

Dates and Times

  • Orientation Session: Thursday, September 10 (time TBC)
  • Design Thinking Workshop: Tuesday, October 6 (time TBC)
  • Reconnecting Workshop, hosted by CBE: Tuesday, January 5, 1:00-3:00pm (room TBD)
  • Celebration and Debrief: Tuesday, April 27, 2:00-3:00pm (room TBD)

Additional Dates for RVS Participants

  • Introduction to RVS Design Process / Mentor Teacher Meet and Greet: Early November (all day during Field 3)
  • Design Day: Early March (all day during Field 4)
  • One-to-One Coaching Opportunities: Scheduled between you and the RVS team
  • Making Learning Visible: Early April (half-day during Field 4)

Design Thinking Cohort

Interested in this opportunity?

Apply now for Fall 2020!

To learn more, check out the following links:

For more details about this opportunity, check out the following links:

In the spirit of how CBE and RVS supports design thinking for teachers, interested students should approach this as a collaborative journey. Students should come in with a knowledge of design thinking and collaborate actively with their partner teacher. During their practicum placements, students will work alongside their teacher to design and implement an authentic learning experience, connected to the Program of Studies, using design thinking as a lens.

I would definitely recommend participating in this cohort to future Werklund students - it was a wonderful learning experience and it was also great for building an even stronger relationship with my partner teacher through collaboration.

Design Thinking Cohort Participant