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encouraging the next generation...

become a teacher “I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. I did my research, and realized that the U of L Faculty of Education was the best school to go to. It has the most practicum, the best teachers, the finest reputation and will provide me with the tools I need to be the best teacher I can be.”

Scott Fairs Current Student Faculty of Education

• nationally-recognized teacher education program • 27-weeks of practical classroom experience in a broad range of schools from rural to urban and elementary to secondary • approximately 97% of our graduates find work in education in Alberta, nationally, and throughout the world

www.becomeateacher.ca Or contact the Faculty of Education at edu.sps@uleth.ca

Faculty of Education


Contents

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Opening Words

4

At a Glance

8

Alumni Successes

16 Educational Research

Contributors Pamela Adams Amanda Berg Margaret Beintema Richard Butt Caitlin Crawshaw Natasha Evdokimoff Ken Heidebrecht Tanya Jacobson-Gundlock Michael Holly Lorne Kemmet Carol Knibbs Rod Leland Craig Loewen Greg Martin Elizabeth McLachlan Glenda Moulton Sarah Novak Darcy Novakowski Jane O’Dea Shari Platt John Poulsen Deborah Sollway Michael Warf Bernie Wirzba Printing University of Lethbridge Printing Services The Legacy is produced by the Faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge in collaboration with the Communications Office.

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Community Partners

Correspondence is welcome and may be addressed to:

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25 Years of Graduate Studies

Faculty of Education University of Lethbridge 4401 University Drive W Lethbridge, AB T1K 3M4 edu.communications@uleth.ca Phone: 403-329-2051

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Welcome to our second edition of Legacy. This edition focuses on community and its many forms in the Faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge. Probably one of the most enigmatic qualities of community is the fact that it must be built. Community may be founded on shared experience, simple need, or common purpose, but its adhesive is trust. It cannot be imposed and it cannot be forced. Community is structured from the inside out by its members, many of whom through good will and even sacrifice, make the commitment to be a part. This is how community starts. Community is the foundation of the teaching profession, and it is core in the work we do in the Faculty of Education. It is through community that both faculty and students are recruited to a university, and is through community that they stay.

This is why our programs are structured around the cohort model‌first within section groups in PS I, and then within majors in PS II. Our graduate programs are built around the cohort model. There is strength and safety within community. Friendships develop here. This is a good place to learn, a place to work together and share ideas and ideals with people who can challenge us yet appreciate who we are and what we are doing and learning. The Faculty of Education is a true professional learning community; in collaborating with its many partners it is a vibrant part of the university community and a strong contributor to the international research community.

Craig Loewen, PhD Professor and Acting Dean of Education

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Opening Words

L - R: Education Undergraduate Society executive members, Kristine DaSilva, Kristina Wasyleczko, Karen Davis, Jennifer Shuster, Andrew Doyle, Veronica Cuttini, Wendy Hurdle, Ashley LePage, Teena Cormack (front) Dr. Craig Loewen, Acting Dean Faculty of Education


At a Glance

Looking back at a year of celebrating community

Create

Delia Cross Child

Contemporary artist and educator, Delia Cross Child (BA ‘96, BEd, ‘02), was proudly inducted to the 2009 Alumni Honour Society by the University of Lethbridge Alumni Association this May. Assimilating traditional aboriginal concepts and modern art, Cross Child integrates originality and creativity throughout her work and in her classroom.

Sustain Rick Mrazek

Faculty of Education Professor and researcher, Dr. Richard Mrazek was named a University of Lethbridge Board of Governors Teaching Chair for 2008 last October. A leading researcher and educator in technology and environmental science, Dr. Mrazek’s initiatives have helped establish sustainable environmental and conservation education programs throughout schools, parks, and communities throughout Alberta, Canada and overseas.

Research

Brian Titley

This year, the Ingrid Speaker Medal for Distinguished Research, Scholarship, or Performance was awarded to Professor of Education and University Scholar, Dr. Brian Titley. “I’m very enthusiastic about research because I’m curious about many things that are happening in society, that have happened in the past and are happening today,” says Titley. The award recognizes his three decades of outstanding research contributions and publications concerning institutional and political perspectives within Canada and worldwide. 4

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Celebrate

“I have felt welcomed and included by the faculty and my peers.” FNMI student, Terry Provost

First Nations, Métis, Inuit Curriculum Leadership Program (FNMI)

Become a Teacher - Calgary Celebration

In April members of the Faculty of Education, superintendents, teachers, PSIII students and other guests raised a glass to education; a noble profession. “We are engaged in continual progress within education,” says Dr. John Poulsen, Assistant Dean of Student Program Services, Faculty of Education. “Many of our practicum placements are in Calgary. The purpose of this event was to celebrate teaching, and to recognize the relationships the U of L has within the Calgary region.”

Blending Blackfoot culture and traditions with educational curriculum are the foundations of the First Nations, Métis, Inuit Curriculum Leadership Program – a first-in-Canada offering at the Faculty of Education. “I have felt welcomed and included by the faculty and my peers,” says FNMI student, Terry Provost. The FNMI program is an innovative collaboration between Red Crow Community College and the University of Lethbridge, providing support, mentorship and tools of leadership to educators of First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities.

www.becomeateacher.ca

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At a Glance

Inspiring Education: A Dialogue with Albertans at the U of L

Inspire

Shaping the Future of Education

Opportunity, fairness, citizenship, choice and diversity are the focus of a unique public discussion concerning the direction of education in Alberta, Inspiring Education: A Dialogue with Albertans. Education Minister, Dave Hancock says the initiative “will result in a new vision for education and a policy framework that will guide the Ministry and inform legislation.” Among those asked to sit on the steering committee is professor and dean of the Faculty of Education, Dr. Jane O’Dea, whose expertise will offer a unique perspective in shaping the future of education in Alberta.

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Education... the foundation for the future success of Alberta

Welcome to WestCAST 2010

The U of L Faculty of Education is pleased to host WestCAST (Western Canadian Association for Student Teaching). This unique conference, held annually in one of the four western provinces, attracts a diverse audience of teacher educators, university instructors and administrators and student teachers. www.westcast.ca Th e Le g acy |

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“It’s very exciting to see them excel and I’ll be thrilled if they do well in Vancouver.” Derek Robinson

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Alumni Success

Olympics Bound Faculty of Education MEd Counselling Psychology progam leads Derek Robinson (BA ’00, MEd ’03) on the road to the Olympics

Faculty of Education alumnus and former University of Lethbridge Pronghorns men’s hockey forward had an interest in psychology that he wanted to pursue but it wasn’t until a career counsellor at the U of L affirmed it was a realistic path, that Robinson really believed he had the right stuff. “Most of the guys I played with were in education or management and pretty much told me I’d never get a job in psychology,” says Robinson, who is now a mental training consultant at the Canadian Sport Centre in Calgary working primarily with Canada’s National Long Track Speed Skating team. So he continued on, studying psychology but never fully committing to a major until his third year. “I always wanted to be a psychologist and obviously loved sports but I was a hockey player, I swore in the dressing room, drank beer in the pub and never really thought I had the material to be a psychologist,” he says. “I think back now to the sessions I had with the counsellor and everything we talked about I actually ended up doing.” The events he refers to include research projects, working with elite athletes and coaching at the highest level of sport. In February, Robinson will be in Vancouver as the long track speed skating team looks for a golden harvest at the 2010 Olympics. A Victoria, B.C. native, Robinson found the U of L to be a perfect fit when he came to campus in the fall of 1995. The size of the city suited him well and

he was joining a hockey program fresh off its first national title. However, the University would prove to be much more than just a hockey stop. “The U of L was a great fit,” Robinson says. “Lethbridge is a great place to go to university and it was a really good experience getting my BA there and playing for the Horns. Obviously I liked it enough to go back and complete my master’s degree.” The research focus for his master’s thesis was on the prevalence of mental training in hockey, specifically the Alberta Junior Hockey League, and whether the league’s coaches felt it would be beneficial. The majority did but were lacking the resources to add a mental trainer to their staff. “Over the course of my thesis, I formed a great relationship with Dr. Kerry Bernes,” Robinson says. “Both he and Dr. Kris Magnusson, who was coordinating the M.Ed. Counselling Psychology program in the Faculty of Education, were pivotal through my master’s and were really helpful for my career.” He’s looking for a career high note in February, after which he’ll try and curtail his travel schedule and devote more time to his family. “I’ll be with the support staff at the Games,” Robinson says. “Working with the athletes on such a personal level, it’s very exciting to see them excel and I’ll be thrilled if they do well in Vancouver.” www.becomeacounsellor.ca Th e Le g acy |

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Planting the Seeds of Possibility Faculty of Education alumnus Mark Bevan, Senior Manager, Workforce Planning “I have a vision of what is possible. Not what was, or what is, but what’s possible,” states Mark Bevan, University of Lethbridge alumnus (BA/BEd ’95) and senior manager of workforce planning for Alberta Education. The roots of his philosophy stem from his upbringing in Norwich, England, where his mother encouraged him to “fight for the rights of the downtrodden.” Between the ages of 10 and 15 Bevan didn’t attend school. Instead he was immersed in a home environment rich with intellectual, social and cultural stimulation. Lack of structure, however, lured him into a dark street life. By 15 he’d witnessed enough poverty, abuse and despair to feel compelled to bring about change. “I realized I couldn’t make a difference if I didn’t have an education,” he says. But when he tried to return to school he was told he was “intellectually inept.” “I was devastated,” he relates. “I felt written off as a human being.” Reluctant to give up, Bevan moved to Ottawa, where his father enrolled him in Ashbury College. There he recognized the profound influence teachers possess and felt inspired. “It was the first time I had educators believe in me,” he recalls. “Teaching was an

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opportunity to help others achieve.” Bevan went on to apply to the University of Lethbridge – a decision he says was influenced by more than the Faculty of Education’s impressive reputation. “I visited the U of L and felt there was a heartbeat, a home. There were real people who were interested in me.” Bevan entered teaching with a clear purpose. “Kids are vulnerable,” he observes. “They come with pain and angst and hopes and dreams. You can really shine a light on them, so they can say, ‘I’m good stuff,’ no matter how broken or damaged or beaten up.” Eventually Bevan was led to administration. “There were teachers whose voices weren’t heard. I wanted to hear them and do something about it,” he explains. He completed a master of leadership training in 2005. Today he teams with system stakeholders to “really understand what the issues in the workforce are.” Bevan’s conviction and focus remain. “I’ll probably see another place that needs a collaborative way to plant the seeds of possibility – because at the end of this thing called life/career I hope that if nothing else I can look back and say, ‘I have made a contribution.’”


Alumni Success

“There were teachers whose voices weren’t heard. I wanted to hear them and do something about it.” Mark Bevan

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Putting life to paper Drs. Erika Hasebe-Ludt, Cynthia Chambers, and Carl Leggo are exploring how Life Writing transforms students and contributes to Canada’s cultural literacy

L to R: Drs. Carl Leggo, Erika Hasabe-Ludt, and Cynthia Chambers

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Educational Research

“I think cultural literacy means we need to be committed to keep listening to each other and talking to each other. We need to learn how to listen to each other,”

Autobiography is often associated with retired politicians or boxing legends, but even the youngest student has a worthwhile story to tell. A Faculty of Education research project is exploring how autobiographical or life writing helps students develop stronger writing skills, and better understand themselves and their peers. “Life writing gets to what really matters to a person. It’s personal, but universal at the same time, it’s something that everybody can do right from their own backyard: writing about where they’re from and who is in their lives and what matters to them,” says principal researcher Dr. Erika Hasebe-Ludt. “Unless students understand where they come from and what their identity is composed of, they won’t be able to connect and have the motivation to do all the other kinds of literacy practices that teachers make them do.” Life writing is also a tool for improving cultural communication in Canada. “I think cultural literacy means we need to be committed to keep listening to each other and talking to each other. We need to learn how to listen to each other,” says coinvestigator Dr. Cynthia Chambers. Hasebe-Ludt and Chambers say the research is partly inspired by personal experiences. Hasebe-Ludt was born and

Dr. Cynthia Chambers

raised in Germany and is interested in why Canadian schools don’t focus more effectively on multilingual literacy. Chambers’ parents were bush pilots so she grew up in diverse communities across Canada. Recently, the researchers received a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to look at the autobiographical literacy practices of teachers and students in two very cosmopolitan cities, Vancouver and Calgary. The project involves a third co-investigator, University of British Columbia researcher Dr. Carl Leggo, and graduate students from both institutions. While some have compared autobiography to “navel-gazing,” Chambers says it’s actually a form of “citizen development.” By writing one’s lived experiences and sharing it with others, students (and teachers) develop an interest in how they share the world, and responsibility to the world, with others. “Life writing is a tool for students to look out at the world as well as reflect about it in relation to their own identity. If you develop a curiosity about the world and a passion for it, you become outer-directed in addition to being inner-directed.” Both are necessary to learn and live well in here in Canada and everywhere else on this earth.

Anita Sinner

Networking and Connecting Anita Sinner’s post-doctoral research investigates the convergence of digital media and life writing in teacher education. This two-year study builds on her dissertation and on the SSHRC grant awarded to the Literacy and Life Writing team. “I specifically chose Lethbridge because of the progressive research emerging from this grant,” says Sinner. “I will expand on a preliminary inquiry – a historical case study of a teacher’s life – to exemplify how creative non-fiction as life writing is a suitable method to write and reclaim teacher stories.” This case will become a virtual archive as part of a life writing website from which Dr. Sinner will engage with students and teachers to learn more about how they employ life writing. By networking with teacher educators and connecting with similar networks online, the study will assess how creative non-fiction and digital media can facilitate inquiry into the lives of teachers in ways not previously considered in education research. Th e Le g ac y |

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Helping new teachers create learning communities

For some new teachers, classroom leadership and management are easy, but for most, these require time and effort to learn

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“Some pre-service teachers find it easier than others, some have natural talents when it comes to leadership, organization, and management; others have to more consciously learn the knowledge, skills, and attributes involved,” explains Faculty of Education professor Dr. Ed Wasiak. “Creating a safe, focused classroom environment is an important part of teaching. Both research and anecdotal evidence indicate that a teacher’s ability to lead and manage a class is the most important factor in successful teaching and learning,” he says. Effective classroom management is also crucial for creating a sense of community in a class, in

which students have positive regard for one another and their teacher. “It’s really about establishing positive relationships,” he explains. “Typically, teacher education programs across North American have not adequately prepared teachers in this area,” says Wasiak. In 2004, Wasiak and colleague Dr. Keith Roscoe studied the experiences of U of L education students and discovered that many lacked classroom management knowledge at the start of their practicum. So, the two academics began looking at ways they could better prepare students in this important area. Their research has led to classroom management being integrated


Educational Research

Jennifer Wagner

Research and Teaching Equals Success in the Classroom When education student Jennifer Wagner was placed in a junior high computer class for her final practicum, she realized it would be a challenge. Option classes are only taught twice a week and the curriculum is often less structured. But, she knew the onus was on her to create the right kind of atmosphere in the class – an environment where students clearly understood the expectations. Drs. Keith Roscoe and Ed Wasiak in many education classes across the program as well as the development of a course specifically dedicated to the topic. Roscoe’s research also resulted in a classroom management plan template that students could use to create a classroom management plan before they enter the classroom. “We found that by focusing students on what to do in the first week, they get on to a much better start, so they can teach the way they want to teach,” says Roscoe. While much of classroom management is learned through experience, having more knowledge helps students avoid common

pitfalls. It may also prevent teachers from burning out and help them start their careers on a positive note. “New teachers can have a better quality professional life if they’re able to establish a safe, orderly, positive classroom environment where students are learning— the students will be happier, the parents will be happier, and they will be happier,” says Roscoe.

“(Students) misbehave when they don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing. A lot of that’s unintentional,” says Wagner. So, she followed the classroom management plan template she’d been given by Dr. Keith Roscoe. “Those students were probably the best behaved and I have the best relationship with them. It was amazing how well it worked,” says Wagner. As a result, the new teacher was able to more do fun things, like play music while studentss worked on assignments. “The more I can trust them to do what I want them to do, the more activities I can select from.” Th e Le g ac y |

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Art for Art’s Sake

Dr. Janice Rahn’s curiosity about the impetus behind graffiti led to a startling discovery

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Beneath the boldly colourful, intricate designs that appear overnight on trains, buildings, underpasses and other surfaces hums a vibrant community of artists who embrace high standards of moral, social and artistic integrity. This microcosm of a learning community, she learned, also includes break-dancing, DJing and skateboarding as art forms. It is propelled by youth, flourishes without ethnic, religious or social bias and, while operating largely subversively, gives rise to talented, intelligent, goal-oriented individuals. Rahn, who is an artist and professor

at the Faculty of Education, researched the evolution of individuals within the Montreal hip hop graffiti community, from an educational perspective, producing four videos, a book, Painting Without Permission: Hip-hop Graffiti Subculture (Bergin & Garvey 2002), exhibitions, and catalogues. She was struck by the culture’s hallmark attitudes of respect and generosity. “There’s a huge mentoring system,” she relates. Established artists share technical knowledge and history of the form with emerging artists who “have a responsibility to acknowledge


Educational Research

Dr. Janice Rahn their mentors and then give back by influencing others.” Those who work “without skills and don’t follow the ethics of the community” are ostracized. Serious graffiti practitioners view themselves as beautifying the environment while making social and political statements. Their pieces are temporary – eventually painted over – they work largely covertly and they receive no income and little recognition. Yet they continue, motivated purely by love for art, and the respect of their peers. Rahn noted the contrast between this do-it-yourself street ethic and modern classrooms, in which students are often

focused on the incentives of grades and degrees rather then authentic learning. She sought ways to inspire in academic settings the drive for knowledge and the pleasure of learning within a supportive community that she encountered in alleyways and abandoned warehouses. Rahn now uses this experience to inform her teaching and research. After showing students in the Faculty of Education her video of hip-hop graffiti artists at work, she says to them, “This is the kind of passion and motivation for learning, that I want to see from you within this classroom and the broader community.” She encourages them

to pay attention to what motivates popular youth culture and how this can inform traditional teaching without becoming normalized. She stresses the importance of peer influence, audience, learning within a community, respect, and teachers acting as both mentors and active creators. Says Rahn, “I see my role as continuing to be involved with people who are outside the conventional institution, in order to recognize and encourage those impulses into the schools.”

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The Curriculum Laboratory is a hub for teaching and learning “The facility is a shared resource that embodies the community spirit of the Faculty of Education.” Bill Glaister

L to R: Curriculum Laboratory staff, Gitte Villiger, Kirsten Livingstone, Deborah Grant, Margaret Rodermond, and Bill Glaister “This is a place to gather and support each At first sight, the Curriculum Laboratory other.” looks like any university library, with a sea of Collaboration between the U of L’s main tables and endless rows of books. and the Faculty of Education, the lab closer lookFat, reveals a bustling hub,Dr. Cathylibrary (L –But R):aRoy Weasel Dr. Kris Magnusson, Campbell is supported by a generous donation from filled with students collaborating on course Darol and Evelyn Wigham, the parents of projects, professors teaching teachers-inan education alumna. It houses thousands training and working teachers perusing the of titles related to curriculum planning and collection for new classroom materials. instruction for students from kindergarten to The facility is a shared resource that Grade 12. embodies the community spirit of the Education student, Ivy Waite, has spent University of Lethbridge Faculty of a lot of time in the facility, either attending Education, explains coordinator Bill Glaister. 18

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courses or conducting research for classes. “Anything you may need, you will find,” she says. The fifth-year student started her last practicum at Winston Churchill High School this fall and says the Curriculum Laboratory is a big help. “I’m so grateful to have the staff, resources and space of the lab to help me prepare for the final steps of my degree.” Like Waite, Roxane Holmes found the lab to be an enormous boost to her education as an undergraduate. It’s a resource she


Community Spaces curriculum laboratory

Patricia Pennock

The Wigham Donation

continues to use 16 years later, when she’s doing class planning for Grades 1 and 2. “They have all of the resources, so if you’re looking at getting a new curriculum, you can go through (the collection) and see what you want to get before you spend the money,” she says. Holmes often borrows hands-on tools like pop-up books and three-dimensional models for her classroom. Faculty of Education professor and Curriculum Laboratory user, Dr. Robin

Bright, says the resources are delightfully upto-date, particularly the children’s literature section. “We house exemplary children’s literature and it’s the best literature that’s available.” Bright, who often teaches in the lab, says the space is conducive to having students learn to teach. The facility includes a reading corner, for instance, where students can practice reading to children. “It’s not just the materials, it’s also the space.”

After graduating from education in 1981, Patricia Pennock’s parents, Darol and Evelyn Wigham, decided to make a donation to the Curriculum Laboratory that had supported her educational experience. The donation created the Wigham Family Collection and Reading area in 1982, which now contains 6,400 of the best non-fiction and fiction literature for children and young adults. Pennock says the donation fit well with her parents’ belief in supporting higher education. Over the years, the Wighams contributed to countless University of Lethbridge initiatives. Contributing to the Faculty of Education was an easy choice for her parents, who’d seen her thrive during her four years on campus. “I loved the city, I loved the university – I loved everything about it,” says Pennock. “It was just a wonderful place. Whenever I hear someone’s child is heading to the U of L, I’m really happy for them.” Th e Le g ac y |

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Embracing Blackfoot Culture in the Classroom

Master Teacher, Johnel Tailfeathers, earned her Bachelor of Education degree in 1989 and began introducing Blackfoot language and customs into Lethbridge schools

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Johnel Tailfeathers was never taught about her Blackfoot heritage. “Our parents pushed us away from it, thinking they were doing us a favour,” she relates. “Our people were so vilified. I finally had the opportunity to learn about myself when I came to the University of Lethbridge and started taking Native American Studies. I couldn’t believe the wonderful things our culture encompasses.” Tailfeathers earned her Bachelor of Education degree in 1989 and began introducing Blackfoot language and customs into Lethbridge schools. Along the way she

completed a master of education and is now pursuing a doctorate. In 1995 she returned to the U of L to join the Faculty of Education’s ongoing efforts to foster cross-cultural cooperation and knowledge. Tailfeathers exemplifies her tradition’s values of equality, respect, and generosity. Her gentle, caring warmth filters into every corner of the department, but she is especially fond of Itaohkanao’pi, (The Meeting Place). “It’s the Native Studies lounge,” she explains. “It’s used by everybody, not just the First Nations students.”


Itaohkanao’pi

“When I was going to university there were just a handful of First Nations students. Now you see them everywhere. They are young people who are finally having the opportunity and encouragement to go on with their education.” Johnel Tailfeathers

Tailfeathers makes a point of offering broad shoulders and a listening ear to all students. “If they’re having problems, I like to help,” she says. Each fall she conducts a workshop creating awareness of Native culture and issues for everyone who enters the Faculty. Throughout the year her classes often result in publication of First Nations materials which strengthen teaching curriculums and enhance student resumes. Tailfeathers’ work on numerous committees and the development of the Niitsitapi Blackfoot Teacher Education Program has

quietly driven forward positive change. As she supervises interns across territory the Blackfeet have occupied for thousands of years Tailfeathers senses a responsibility to past generations. “I see the Sweetgrass Hills and think about my grandmothers,” she reflects. “I realize I’m entering schools in Blackfoot country where our people haven’t been before. It’s important for me to do a good job and create good relations.” Tailfeathers never dreamt she would one day be the voice, hands and feet of her ancestors. “When I was going to university

there were just a handful of First Nations students. Now you see them everywhere. They are young people who are finally having the opportunity and encouragement to go on with their education.” She is quick to deflect any credit. “I’ll forever be grateful to the University of Lethbridge,” she says. “In that sense it becomes true to its name, the Medicine Rock – a healing place.”

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Master of Counselling student, Jack Lilja.

“It took a long time to find a Master’s program from a highly respected institution that fits into my already busy schedule. The online format of the Master of Counselling program at the U of L’s Faculty of Education offers the perfect combination of excellent courses and flexibility. “ Master of Counselling student, Jack Lilja

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Online Community

Master of Counselling program creates closeness despite distance “We really try to make sure that students are constantly applying material to their lives, to their clients’ lives, so there’s an integrative sense of wholeness to what they’re learning.” Dr. Dawn McBride While your undergraduate career was all about drinking coffee and debating existentialism, a family and full-time job now make these luxuries impossible. As a busy professional, school has to fit around your life – not the other way around. That’s why the University of Lethbridge Faculty of Education offers a distance Master of Counselling graduate program for those interested in becoming a professional counsellor or registered psychologist. “The average student is someone who’s working, has a family, and wants to get a master’s degree in counselling,” explains assistant professor and registered psychologist Dr. Dawn McBride. The blended distance and face-toface program gives students flexibility in scheduling their time and allows them to learn from home.

Through summer institutes and practicum seminars, students meet one another and their instructors face-to-face, and develop a rapport that complements online communication. The program also harnesses technologies like web video-conferencing, online course platforms and discussion forums. Students are given training to use the technologies effectively. “We have people in place to help them learn the technology so it’s not an intimidating experience,” says McBride. Alumna Donna Piercy earned her Master of Counselling degree recently, after twoand-a-half years of study. With certification in rehabilitation medicine and a degree in physical education, she’s now able to help people become healthier, inside and out. But she admits she was initially apprehensive about a distance format. “I was

shocked that I got to know my classmates and professors so well.” Piercy, who describes herself as a “social person,” was delighted at the sense of community. She figures the communication was excellent largely because of an online format that required all students – even the shy – to participate. “In a classroom, there are a lot of people who sit and don’t talk. Online, everyone has to post equally.” Not only does a sense of community help students support each other, but it enables a deeper understanding of the material, McBride explains. “We really try to make sure that students are constantly applying material to their lives, to their clients’ lives, so there’s an integrative sense of wholeness to what they’re learning”.

Building community from the inside out One of the advantages of being a smaller program, is close interaction between faculty, staff and students, explains program manager Susan Pollock. “Within the program we have small class sizes and that allows for a lot of contact and mentoring,” she says. “The faculty connections help open doors for students when they’re enhancing their careers.” Administrators also work with students “oneon-one” to ensure they’re getting what they need. This reinforces an environment where students

are supported in all stages of the program, she says. But creating a supportive distance program also helps the communities students live in. “Not only does the distance program allow them to stay working, but the community retains people who provide integral services. In this way it helps benefit the communities as well as the students,” says Pollock. www.becomeacounsellor.ca

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Teacher Mentors Shaping tomorrow’s teachers today

“It’s important to have someone with experience guide student teachers through unexpected situations. Teacher mentors are there where theory runs out.” Ken Rogers

Back row: Teacher Mentors, Cathy Martens, Ken Rogers, Terry Roth, Kristy Kempt Front row: Blake Vaselenak, Dustin Vaselenak, and PSIII intern, Lani Knowles Most everyone can relate to the nervous excitement of walking into a classroom for the first time as a new student, but comparatively few people know what it’s like to walk into a classroom for the first time as a new teacher. That’s one of the main reasons the Teacher Mentors program was created. Designed to help ease the transition from student to teacher during Education 2500, PSI, PSII, and PSIII, the Teacher Mentors program has connected thousands of Faculty of Education students with dedicated and experienced teaching professionals who provide much needed support, advice, and encouragement to students embarking on the career. Ken Rogers (BMus/BEd’86) has been a teacher for 23 years, and a teacher mentor since 1988. As a mentor, Rogers says he gains as much as he gives. “Student teachers come in with new ideas, new techniques, and new theories, and they’re always filled with contagious enthusiasm. Every 24

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student teacher I mentor is another opportunity for me to reevaluate my teaching style,” Rogers says. “From the student teacher’s perspective, it’s all about having support. Teaching is often very different from what one expects. It’s important to have someone with experience guide student teachers through unexpected situations. Teacher mentors are there where theory runs out.” Terry Roth (BA’71) and Cathy Martens (BEd’84), teacher mentors since 2005 and 1987 respectively, say that one of the greatest benefits of the program is the immediate feedback student teachers receive from both mentors and students in the class. “Mentorship gives student teachers a reality check on what works in the classroom; it presents opportunities on how to structure a learning environment. Student teachers are exposed to successful models of good teaching,” Roth says. “As a mentor I help “ground” the student teacher’s ideas, ensure that they’re practical, and offer suggestions based in my


Community Partners

“Education students thoroughly develop their teaching skills before they become teachers themselves.”

Dr. Pamela Adams

Faculty of Education Field Experience office Kelly Vaselenak and Dr. Pamela Adams

Excelling in the Field own teaching experience. ” “The best part of mentoring is watching student teachers connect with kids, and realize themselves when a lesson they’ve prepared and taught has been successful,” says Martens. “I want my students to rush to the door when a student teacher walks into the class room.” Kristy Kempt (BEd’03) has been a mentor since 2004, but it wasn’t very long ago that she was a student teacher herself. Kempt says she got involved with mentoring as a way to give back to a program that gave her career a strong start. “I had a great experience with my own mentor, and I wanted to help other student teachers in the same way,” Kempt says. “When you know you have support, it’s easier to discover your own unique teaching style, which ultimately makes you more successful as a teacher.”

The Field Experience office at the Faculty of Education is the nucleus of the practicum program, and a hub of activity throughout the scholastic year. The office arranges practicum placements for student teachers each semester, placing all Education 2500, PSI, PSII, and PSIII students in various schools around southern Alberta, across Canada, and beyond, and connects each one of them with a teacher mentor to guide them on their journey. Pamela Adams, Assistant Dean Field Experiences, says that the practicum program is unique in its duration, design, and approach – which makes an Education degree from the University of Lethbridge one of the most highly respected designations of its kind.

“Our Education students go through approximately 27 weeks of professional training in the field, and work very closely with teachers throughout their practicum,” Adams says. “It’s a very well structured and closely monitored program that helps education students thoroughly develop their teaching skills before they become teachers themselves.” In 2009, the Field Experience office will place approximately 1000 new student teachers in schools. Adams says that every year the feedback from teacher mentors, Superintendents, and school boards is increasingly positive. “I’ve heard our student teachers described as “Monday morning ready”,” Adams says. “There’s no better feedback than that.” Th e Le g ac y |

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AISI Research that connects communities From the beginning, the Faculty of Education has viewed research as a community undertaking

Researchers Maurice Hollingsworth and Guy Pomahac are avid proponents of this philosophy. As the faculty coordinators for the Alberta Initiative for School Improvement (AISI), they are committed to fostering communication between the university and the broader educational community.

“We try to connect the university’s expertise to people’s needs in the field.” Guy Pomahac AISI is a nine-year-old program that provides resources for hundreds of schoolbased research projects across the province, with research elements receiving guidance from academics at Alberta’s major universities. In the province’s southern educational regions, the U of L’s Hollingsworth and Pomahac coordinate these research efforts. “We try to connect the university’s expertise to people’s needs in the field,” says Pomahac. “We like to describe ourselves as ‘conduits.’ ” The initiative allows for grassroots research that involves teachers, academics and other experts within the school systems. Each year, AISI supports hundreds of projects, ranging from digital learning and leadership to differentiated learning and literacy . “The bottom line is what’s going to benefit students,” says Pomahac. Two recent projects that involved U of L professors include an analysis of High 26

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School completion rates and the educational experiences of First Nations Métis and Inuit (FNMI) students. The findings that emerge from the projects led to recommendations to Alberta Education and potential policy changes that improve the educational experience of Alberta’s K-12 students. But AISI isn’t just a boon for the school districts – it enhances educational research at the U of L, too. Collaborating with schools and Alberta Education enriches U of L research. The research on high school completion rates couldn’t have been completed without provincial input, for instance. Hollingsworth and Pomahac point out AISI is also a great networking initiative, connecting teachers (who are often isolated in their classrooms), academics, and student teachers. Education students at U of L are often invited to the annual AISI conference, as well. “It’s been an opportunity and a delight to see students make connections with professionals in the field which, for some of them, has led to employment,” says Hollingsworth. “It’s also good for students to see teachers in that life-long learning mode.” The educational community can now connect online thanks to a site created by Hollingsworth and Pomahac. The U of L AISI page includes information on Zone 6 projects and opportunities for teachers to connect with project coordinators. www.uleth.ca/edu/aisi/


Partners in Research

Maurice Hollingsworth and Guy Pomahac Th e Le g ac y |

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Shared Vision Current Students

Tomorrow’s Teachers Making an Impact Today

Education Undergraduate Society The Education Undergraduate Society (EUS) has always been a way for students in the Faculty of Education to connect in the spirit of camaraderie and support. But now, more than ever, the EUS is also a way for Education students to become active participants in the greater community, giving undergrads the opportunity to constructively contribute to the municipalities and schools that they will be working in. Karen Davis, EUS president for 2009, sees the EUS shift in focus from student-centered to community-centered as a positive change with far reaching impacts. “The benefits are significant on both sides of the equation,” Davis says. “As students in the faculty, we spend a lot of time in the community – perhaps more than we do on campus. Supporting the community and the schools makes for a better experience for everyone.” 28

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The EUS has begun running several new programs in recent years, all geared toward more active community involvement and the betterment of the education system at large. One of the most well-received is the student backpack initiative, whereby each class in the faculty is given a new backpack and a list of suggested school items with which to fill it. The brimming backpacks are then returned to the EUS and distributed to schools, destined for kids that otherwise go without basic supplies. “The students really get into it,” Davis says. “We’ve had classes return three or four full backpacks, rather than just the one they were assigned.” A second community initiative which was launched two years ago – Anti-bullying Awareness Week – is receiving accolades province-wide. The seven-day event features various speakers from the Alberta Teacher’s

Association, covering topics that surround the issue of bullying. One of the lectures during last year’s event covered the topic of cyberbullying, informing teachers and teachers-to-be on the signs to watch for and ways to deal with the problem of students being bullied over e-mail and text messages. EUS members also volunteer with many community organizations, including the local food bank. “Our goal is to be as active and helpful in the community as we can be,” Davis says of EUS members. “Being involved creates a better community of teachers and a better environment for students.” www.uleth.ca/edu/eus


Shared Vision First Year Teacher

Trials and Triumphs Ricardo Avelar’s experiences as a first year teacher When Ricardo Avelar (BA/BEd’08) graduated from the Faculty of Education in the spring of 2008, he felt excited to begin his career as a high school English teacher, and very prepared to do the job. When he began teaching at Winston Churchill High School that fall, facing 30 or so new faces every hour, five days a week, Avelar realized there was a lot more to being a good teacher than he’d expected. “The transition was huge,” Avelar admits. “Getting ready for my classes each day took much more time than I anticipated. When I was a student, I could decide to put things off at night if I was tired. As a teacher, I can’t do that. I have to walk into the classroom prepared, no matter what.” Workload was one surprise, but even more startling to Avelar was the revelation that teaching is as much about managing circumstances as imparting knowledge. “I was ready for the technical aspects – creating lesson plans, doing assessments – the Faculty of Education really prepares you for that.” Avelar says. “It was the social aspects of teaching that caught me off guard. Dealing with parents and friends, contending with the fact that students may not have had anything to eat, or not slept the night before. You know you’ll encounter life issues, but dealing with them is much different than you think it will be.” Avelar says that the small class sizes at

the University of Lethbridge, particularly in the third and fourth years of study, were enormously beneficial in terms of the quality of education he received. One-on-one time with his professors and the ability to develop supportive relationships with fellow students made all the difference. “It’s a great program,” Avelar says. “I felt very ready, logistically, when I graduated.” Despite unforeseen challenges, Avelar quickly discovered he had a knack for connecting with students and devising creative solutions for classroom obstacles. Like all first year teachers, Avelar’s performance was subject to review by the school principal. Much to his delight, Avelar was informed

that he was going to be nominated for the respected Edwin Parr award, which recognizes exceptional new teachers who go above and beyond for their students. Avelar won for Zone 6, which encompasses southern Alberta below Calgary. “It was a very fun and positive experience,” Avelar recalls. “My students were really supportive.” Avelar will return to Winston Churchill this fall. He loves the school and hopes to teach there for a long time, but has ambition to return to the role of student himself in the future, applying his classroom experiences to further learning. Th e Le g ac y |

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Twenty-five Years An important milestone with the program’s first graduates, Irwin Warkentin and Paul Hawryluk

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GR A DUAT E S T UDI E S A S t e rlin g P ast , A Go ld en F u tu r e

The year was 1984. Apple had recently revealed the Macintosh personal computer to the world. Brian Mulroney would soon be sworn in as Canada’s 18th Prime Minister. Great Britain had reached an agreement with China regarding the future of Hong Kong. And at the University of Lethbridge, 12 students were admitted into the school’s first-ever Graduate Studies program, offered through the Faculty of Education.

program for advancing their careers in ways that would not otherwise have been possible. “I was absolutely awestruck by the program,” says Hawryluk. “I taught for 15 years before going back to school myself, and the program really validated my experiences and my own expertise. I never intended to go on to do a PhD, but I did, directly as a result of the great experience I had at U of L.”

Faculty of Education Graduate Studies and Research office L to R: Shari Platt, Dr. Richard Butt, Joyce Ito, Margaret Joblonkay, Susan Pollock, and Michelle Snyder It’s been 25 years since then, but Dr. Richard Butt, Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies and Research in the Faculty of Education, remembers the inaugural year of the program very well. Butt was hired to help get the Masters of Education program up and running, and has been at the U of L ever since. “It’s been the best faculty I’ve worked in,” Butt says. “It’s very satisfying to be in a place where the program is respected by students as well as in the field.” When it began, the Masters of Education program focused on professional development, the foundations of education, and research. That focus remains intact today, supplemented by an ever-expanding list of elective courses designed to allow students to customize their programs to suit individual goals and interests. Flexibility is a big part of what made the program so appealing for its two first graduates, Paul Hawryluk and Irwin Warkentin. Both men recall their Masters experience as challenging, but also highly enriching, and both give credit to the

Warkentin’s sentiments are similar. “The grad program gave me the tools to take my career to another level,” he says. “The courses energized me. They re-instilled my belief in teaching. If I hadn’t taken the program, I’m not sure I would have stayed in the profession.” While the Graduate Studies program continues to evolve and expand – recently added elective courses include First Nation, Métis, and Inuit Education; Literacy in Education; and Leadership in Information Technology – the core curriculum continues to foster professional development and life-long learning. Small class sizes and a cohort approach to the work (students work in teams throughout the duration of the program) facilitate strong social connections and expedites time to graduation. Students take an average of three years to complete the program, with a graduation rate of 95 per cent. The Faculty of Education is in the process of developing a proposal for a PhD in Education.

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“I feel a deep sense of gratitude to the U of L – not only for all that the University provided me with in those early formative years, but also for all that it has since provided through continued and varied involvements. It’s important for me to give back to an institution that gives so much.”

Giving Back

Mardi Renyk (BASc ’72, BEd ’89)

The generosity of education alumni helps ensure the strength and vitality of the U of L for years to come. It’s a gift that extends beyond the University and changes our community. Every gift makes a difference. www.ulethbridge.ca/giving University Advancement | University of Lethbridge | 4401 University Drive W | Lethbridge, Alberta T1K 3M4 403-329-2582 | 403-329-5130 | advancement@uleth.ca

Dear Alumni: In an effort to stay in touch and also for us to learn what is new with you, please log on to the University of Lethbridge Alumni site at www.uleth.ca/alumni and complete the electronic address update form. You can also update your information by emailing alumni@uleth.ca or by calling 403-317-2825 or toll-free 1-866-552-2582. We encourage you to update your information to ensure that you receive University of Lethbridge publications, eNewletters, as well as invitations to events. We would also like to share your alumni stories in our publications and online so please do keep in touch with us! Best regards, Your friends at the Faculty of Education

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Faculty of Education University of Lethbridge 4401 University Drive W Lethbridge, AB T1K 3M4 Phone: 403-329-2051 ulethbridge.ca/edu becomeateacher.ca

U of L Faculty of Education Legacy Magazine 2009  

University of Lethbridge Faculty of Education annual publication.

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