The Third Path: Focusing on the “How” of Education

At the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, we want to ensure that our schools are welcoming places for all students to engage, belong, learn, grow, explore and discover.


Staff in schools across the OCDSB use many tools and approaches to help achieve this goal, by recognizing that learning, well-being, and equity are the core of our work. “The Third Path,” a relationship-based approach to student well-being, is one approach many teachers and school staff have been using to help foster student achievement and well-being. 


Developed by Dr. David Tranter, Lori Carson, and Tom Boland, The Third Path connects the two key paths of academics and social emotional learning. It shares eight hierarchical conditions that support student well-being and academic achievement: Safety, regulation, belonging, positivity, engagement, identity, mastery, and meaning. These conditions help students: 

  • Feel emotionally safe at school in order to explore and learn (safety)
  • Enjoy regulating relationships and supportive environments (regulation)
  • Have opportunities to connect with others (belonging) 
  • Experience positive feelings that lead to optimal functioning (positivity) 
  • Being fully open to learning, as they are able to take on complex challenges and reach accurate conclusions (engagement)
  • Learn more about different ways of being and develop a strong sense of who they are (identity)
  • Experience feelings of accomplishment in order to want to continue to learn (mastery)
  • Experience motivation and personal fulfillment (meaning)

There are many different ways to explore these conditions at school. Together, they help to create an environment where our students can learn, grow, and flourish.


Want to read more stories from the OCDSB? Visit ocdsb.ca/contact_us/school_news


Learn more about The Third Path at www.thirdpath.ca.


-submitted by OCDSB

Cultivating a sense of belonging: students at Manor Park Public School helped create their own classroom environment by contributing thoughts and written work to the bulletin boards. They loved seeing their own work on the walls, and celebrating one another’s contributions! 


This story was featured in the December 2021 OCYI Ovation


Cet article de blog en français ici