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Faculty of Education 2010

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

• 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

2

Dean’s Message

4

At a Glance

8

Alumni Successes

11 Educational Research

Contributors Marguerite Anderson Amanda Berg Richard Butt Ken Heidebrecht Chris Hibbard Michael Holly Joyce Ito Carol Knibbs Lori Lavallee Rod Leland Craig Loewen Greg Martin Diane McKenzie Darcy McKenna Elizabeth McLachlan Rick Mrazek Darcy Novakowski Shari Platt Susan Pollock Wayne Street Kelly Vaselenak Printing University of Lethbridge Printing Services Thank you Galt Museum Nikka Yuko Gardens Wind River Glass Ltd.

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Partners in Education

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Current Students

The Legacy is produced by the Faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge in collaboration with the Communications Office.

Correspondence is welcome and may be addressed to:

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Inspiring Teachers

Faculty of Education University of Lethbridge 4401 University Drive W Lethbridge, AB T1K 3M4 edu.communications@uleth.ca 403-332-4550

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Welcome to Legacy. This edition focuses on confidence – patience, action, and wisdom contribute to the shaping of teacher confidence. Confidence. What does it mean to be confident? We sometimes use the word self-confident, but what other kind of confidence could there be? And how do we become confident? Surely confidence is built slowly, through exploration and experimentation, trial and error, small steps, and many mistakes. As our skills grow we become more confident in what we are able to achieve. Confidence is built from (and through) action, patience and perseverance. Our mentors guide us as we explore, fail and try again. I often hear from our student teachers about how their confidence grows as they progress through our teacher preparation program. Their stories always include a special teacher who helped them gain confidence when there was none. Mentorship matters. As a faculty we too appreciate the master teachers, mentor teachers, supervisors, and others who contribute so much to our success. Thank you for working alongside us, enhancing all that we do in developing and delivering our programs in the Faculty of Education.

Craig Loewen, PhD Interim Dean of Education 2

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Master Teachers with Craig Loewen, Dean, Faculty of Education L - R: Terry Kerkhoff, Bob Miller, Johnel Tailfeathers, Craig Loewen, Sharon Mombourquette, Cory Beres, Sharon Hierath, Donna McKay

Photographer: Rod Leland

Opening Words

At a Glance

Creativity

Teaching Fellow: Keith Roscoe

CAETL Teaching Fellows demonstrate both commitment to excellence in their own teaching and willingness to champion the importance of teaching development in the U of L community. Appointed Teaching Fellow, Dr. Keith Roscoe is an associate professor and science education specialist in the Faculty of Education with a strong background in teaching development. He is principal author of the science methods textbook, Scientific Literacy For Canadian Students: Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, and his current research focuses on classroom management and assessment.

Confidence

Board of Governors Teaching Chair: Robin Bright The teaching chair is awarded to a faculty member who demonstrates an ongoing commitment to teaching excellence and scholarship within the U of L community.

Dr. Robin M. Bright has been appointed to the Board of Governors Teaching Chair for 2010. In addition to working with the CAETL team on multiple projects that include a focus on technology in teaching, she is embarking on a study concerned with on-screen learning and literacy development of post-secondary students within the Faculty of Education and across the university.

Respect Dr. Earl joined the University of Lethbridge in 1967 as a professor, and was a key architect in shaping the highly recognized teacher preparation program. He helped develop the practicum that eventually became the 27-week field experience component of the program (currently, one of the most extensive in Canada). It became a foundation of theory and practice that he knew could outshine some of the larger institutions. “I think we came to be recognized as a prestigious, decent and noteworthy institution,” Dr. Earl once said in an interview. “Our students were sought after not only in Western Canada, but in the United States.”

27 weeks of field experience

some of the most extensive teacher practicum experience offered in the country

Writer: Lori Lavallee, Photographer: Ken Heidebrecht

In Memoriam: Aubrey Earl

Future

Celebrating Students

Diane Howe was presented with the William Aberhart gold medal in Education at the Spring 2010 Convocation. She is thankful to have had the opportunity to complete the five year Education program. Now teaching Grade 7, she is “daily reaping the rewards” of having been enrolled in a quality program. Lisa Jensen is deeply honoured to be recognized by the Faculty of Education through the presentation of the prestigious Gold Medal for demonstrating exceptional levels of academic excellence. “The Faculty of Education has an amazing program, with excellent professors and top-quality students.”

“Students are not just numbers in a classroom they are individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and expectations. As a teacher, my role is to access this diversity so it can enhance the learning experience. Teaching is about nurturing students to become critical and self-reflective thinkers;

The Faculty of Education is pleased to welcome two of our newest graduate study instructors – provisional psychologist and lecturer Jennifer Thanhausser joins the Master of Counselling program; and Carmen Mombourquette comes to the MEd Leadership program after serving as head of Toronto’s Northmount School for Boys.

the world to a teacher. The teacher must be confident about his own abilities as the task before him is

providing the opportunity to

monumental, nothing short

grow beyond the limits they

of helping to shape lives. In

once thought possible.”

the same vein, developing

Jennifer Thanhausser Faculty of Education

The Future Looks Bright

“The word confidence means

that same sense of confidence in students and their abilities becomes for the teacher, the evidence of success.” Carmen Mombourquette Faculty of Education Th e Le g acy |

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At a Glance

Welcome New U of L President, Dr. Mike Mahon

On Tuesday, October 12, the Faculty of Education along with community education partners from the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA), Red Crow College, Lethbridge Public School District 51, Holy Spirit, the College of Alberta School Superintendents (CASS), Graduate Studies, and Education Undergraduate Society (EUS), welcomed new University of Lethbridge president, Dr. Mike Mahon. Members of the EUS guided Dr. Mahon and his wife, Maureen, on a tour of Turcotte Hall. There was classroom interaction with students, meeting with faculty and staff, and entertainment over lunch by Frank Gnandt’s LCI Choir.

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Writer: Wayne Street, Photographer: Ken Heidebrecht

Welcome

Collaboration

Celebrating excellence in graduate student research...

Faculty of Education Graduate Studies Students Receive SHRRC Awards

Honouring a Decade of Deanship “It’s not so much what I’ve achieved over the last 10 years, rather it’s what we’ve all achieved together,” says Dr. Jane O’Dea. “I was tremendously fortunate to become dean of a faculty that has a fabulous tradition of collaboration and partnership with the professional community.” Considering these words, it was only apt that Dr. O’Dea’s celebration in honour of her “term completion” reflected community.

Graduate students, Danille Lazzaretto-Green and Ainslee Kimmel, receive SSHRC awards of $17,500 each to continue their studies in the Master of Education, Counselling Psychology cohort. Ainslee’s topic of study is on the psychological impact of wildfires, and Danille will be working on a qualitative study on the psycho-social needs of incarcerated First Nations women. Th e Le g acy |

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Global Education

Alberta Curriculum goes international with the help of Faculty of Education alumni, Howard Stribbell (BA/BEd ’98, MEd ’04)

Imagine an international school offering world class study based upon an Alberta curriculum in all grade levels. Take a pin and hover over a map of China. Insert it in an area called Macao, located 60 km southwest of Hong Kong. Now picture a facility that accommodates 900 students, located on a large and modern university campus. Here you will find the first Alberta accredited offshore school, The International School of Macao (TIS), where all classes are taught in English. What makes the Alberta curriculum so attractive within an international context? According to Howard Stribbell, “the answer lies in the foundation of the Alberta curriculum - critical thinking.” As a teacher he gained a first-hand understanding of the infinite benefits of preparing students to be a part of a global community. “Global education is about allowing students to bring their individual backgrounds to the classroom, in order to create an environment that supports the integration of these differences,” Stribbell explains.

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Essentially, it’s about providing the opportunity for an enriched educational experience, and about having the framework that allows a school to foster a specific type of learning environment. This is a vision to which Stribbell has devoted his career. In 2006 Stribbell found himself vice principal of TIS. “I wanted to take the strength of the Alberta curriculum and use it to build an amazing school,” he says. “Our students are working in programs that are set up to prepare them for an English university.” Although Macao is now the world’s fastest growing economy with well paid employment opportunities, all of last year’s graduates chose to continue their education, some at the University of Lethbridge. When making an official visit to our campus to speak to prospective student teachers or recruit certified teachers, Stribbell makes a point of visiting these former students. With his recent appointment as Head of Schools, Stribbell has a new opportunity to further his commitment to global education.

Writer: Lori Lavallee, Photographs courtesy of Howard Stribbell

Alumni Success

“Global education is about allowing students to bring their individual backgrounds to the classroom, in order to create an environment that supports the integration of these differences.� Howard Stribbell Th e Le g acy |

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Alumni Success

Listening Through Literacy

Life lessons, language and learning have contributed to U of L alumnus, Janet Pletz’ remarkable relationship with her students and continued research in literacy and innovative curriculum methods in the classroom. “If you give children the permissions and invitations to think deeply about themselves, they have a lot to say,” Pletz explains. “The more teachers work with literature in the classroom, the deeper those conversations become.” The challenges and opportunities of language developed early in Pletz’ career. “My post secondary education spans four decades,” she remarks. While at the University of Victoria, Pletz’ experiences working with students in adaptive physical education introduced her to alternative methods of communication. “I realized in order to effectively work with my students, I needed to teach myself sign language.” Upon 10

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graduation, Pletz taught sign language with the Victoria School District, and it was there she was surprised to learn she too was hearing impaired. After traveling the world for ten years with her husband and children, Pletz returned to Canada, inspired by self-discovery overseas. “I became aware of my developing experiences in world literacies, identity and education in global and cultural contexts,” Pletz says. “Those years overseas stirred a prevailing passion to pursue further education, and the natural choice was to become a teacher.” Pletz enrolled at the University of Calgary, and taught in early childhood classrooms. “My curiosity and questions motivated me to enroll in a Master’s degree at the University of Lethbridge,” Pletz says. “The more I sunk my teeth into learning, the more questions I wanted to answer. During my three years

at the U of L, I explored and delved deeper into literacy education in practice, and my research on young children’s sense of voice with interactions of picture books.” Through those interactions and the support of advisor, Dr. Leah Fowler, Pletz explored the impact of literature on young minds. “By engaging students with picture book literature, I began to understand how children develop a sense of self and voice,” she explains. After graduating in 2008, Pletz’s education continues. As a PhD student at UBC Pletz is further expanding her discoveries in literacy engagement. “If we can give children a gift, it’s recognizing who they are and their importance in their community. Their voices are necessary, and by involving them through literature we are better able to listen to them, and value their experiences.”

Writer: Amanda Berg, Photographer: Rod Leland

Janet Pletz’ (MEd ‘08) research reveals the importance of the child’s voice in community

Educational Research

Exploring Faith in the Classrooms

Writer: Lori Lavallee, Photographer: Rod Leland

University Scholar, Dr. Amy von Heyking investigates the impact of religion on public education

What contribution does faith-informed education make to a liberal democracy? Are there multiple, educational models that need to be considered? Most definitely, and Alberta is a fertile province for academics interested in researching citizenship education. In addition to being one of the few provinces that has retained its publicly-funded separate school system, Alberta is the only province to fund its charter schools with public monies. Numerous faith-informed programs and schools have also been integrated into the public system, as fully-funded alternative programs. “Clearly, what we have is  a willingness to identify and promote alternative educational models within our province” says Dr. Amy von Heyking. In other parts of Canada, movements to extend public funding to faith-informed schools have typically been met with resistance.

“In public or politicized debates about the issue, religious instruction is often associated with narrow mindedness and a lack of tolerance,”  says von Heyking. 

“Clearly, what we have is a willingness to identify and promote alternative educational models within our province.”

Dr. Amy von Heyking

As an educational historian, she is interested in documenting the institutional histories of faith-informed schools that have made the shift from independent to public systems; recording stakeholders’ perceptions of what they have gained or lost in the process. “We need judicious scholarship that explores

the impact of religious faith on the nature of schooling and, more specifically the ability of schools to meet the civic education outcomes as defined by the province of Alberta,” von Heyking explains. Her two-year University Scholar research grant, recently awarded by the Office of the Vice-President (Academic), will allow her to make a substantial contribution to this body of knowledge. In conjunction with her research partner, Dr. Lance Grigg, von Heyking has already conducted an exploratory study examining the impact that faith-based curricula has on citizenship outcomes in one school in southern Alberta. As a University Scholar she is able to devote additional time to research and will continue exploring the relationship between citizenship and religious education in a range of publicly funded faith-informed schools around the province. Th e Le g ac y |

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Writer: Lori Lavallee, Photographer: Rod Leland

Educational Research

Educating With Global Perspective in Mind Dr. Kas Mazurek believes that understanding the profession of teaching begins with the understanding of other nations This spring, a poster promoting Lethbridge Public Interest Research Group’s (LPIRG) 2nd Annual Student Speaker Challenge boldly asked: “What are you doing in university and what good is that to the rest of the world?” Although directed to all post-secondary students, in an era of globalization, this challenge has particular relevance for future educators.

Training teachers to compete in a global economy means ”...ensuring that they have an understanding of how education objectives and practices work with other cultural components within a given society.” Dr. Kas Mazurek A researcher with a special interest in comparative studies in the U of L Faculty of Education, Dr. Kas Mazurek emphasizes that, as an educator, understanding your profession begins with understanding the education systems of other nations. He is also adamant that we should never rely soley on the “knowledge and experience that local researchers, practitioners and education systems possess and generate.” Instead, we need to draw on the best practices from the widest pool of information.

“Professional knowledge is out there to be reinvented, in terms of successes and mistakes,” Mazurek says. Training teachers to compete in a global economy means “ensuring that they have an understanding of how educational objectives and practices work with other cultural components within a given society.” Technology has, of course, made it convenient for us to draw from a much broader knowledge base and better understand all education systems and societies, including our own. But in order for future educators to fully understand what is required of them in professional practice, many choose to get global experience. The Faculty of Education has placed practicum students in Africa, Europe, Australia and North America. The possibilities for teaching internships in international settings is essentially limitless and again technology plays a critical role: improving our ability to communicate between schools and faculties of education, enabling faculty supervisors to provide quality support to students without necessarily visiting that location. Mazurek has, however, travelled extensively throughout the world as a researcher and has been known to conduct supervision in this capacity. Continuing, he points out that students can experience international placements approved by the Faculty of Education Field Experiences Office. They move forward by obtaining travel visas and work permits. For Mazurek, refining knowledge and continual experimentation are fundamental and ongoing aspects of teacher education and practice. He’s immensely pleased to see that so many Faculty graduates have such an acute understanding of the value they have to offer the world, through international professional practica. Th e Le g ac y |

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Educational Research

A Matter of Assessment Dr. Nola Aitken’s work with Alberta Education examines the importance of the teacher’s role in assessing student learning and achievement What is the most effective way to assess the progress of a student? Who has a stake in the results, and how can exams be redesigned to fairly and accurately evaluate a student’s comprehensive knowledge? These questions and many more were examined in a two-year project, The Alberta Student Assessment Study (ASAS) initiated by Alberta Education. Included in the design and execution was Dr. Nola Aitken of the Faculty of Education. Dr. Aitken’s experience with assessment and leadership practices extends throughout her career. “I specialized in test development and mathematics, working for Alberta Education for five years assisting teachers with writing exam questions,” she says. After joining the Faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge in 1992, Dr. Aitken has been involved in the MEd Leadership program and teaches assessment courses at the undergraduate level. Dr. Aitken notes that the role of examinations has been a defining factor for evaluating quality of education throughout the school system. “Assessment covers all areas; it’s used as a complete evaluation of a student’s knowledge and a guide for teaching,” says Dr. Aitken. “It’s also a means of self-assessment for the student, although there are many stakeholders influenced by the results, from the teachers and parents to 14

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schools and their districts.” The ASAS reported on optimal assessment theory, policies, and practice; educational leadership practices; and professional development. “Data was collected from all the stakeholders through focus groups, interviews and questionnaires,” Dr. Aitken says. “Over 3000 individuals from 20 schools participated in the study.” The responses from those groups revealed some interesting findings. “There were many factors which emerged once the data was compiled. From student concerns related to perceptions of unfair marking practices, to parents’ concerns with the appropriateness of provincial examinations at the grade three level, recommendations were made to redesign assessments and provide for further professional development for teachers.” Dr. Aitken also pointed out the need for strong administrative leadership. “Clear communication and thorough understandings of the statistical data from school boards and principals promotes confidence and success throughout the education system.” The complete study can be found at the Alberta Education website, http://education. alberta.ca/department/ipr.aspx

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Writer: Amanda Berg, Photographer: Rod Leland

Educational Research

Leading Through Literacy

“Canadian literature isn’t just about mountains, snow and pinecones,” says Dr. Leah Fowler, University of Lethbridge Faculty of Education professor and recipient of the prestigious 2010 Distinguished Teaching Award. “The intellect found in Canadian writing is high; it’s an expression of our culture: courageous, honest, diverse and accessible.” Fowler’s research into Canadian literature pedagogy emphasizes the importance and significance of Canadian writers in the classroom. “Canadian writing shapes our society and engages the media, ” says Fowler. “Understanding what good writing looks like and knowing Canadian writers is fundamental to experiencing our Canadian voices – from stories from First Nations’ writers to stories of our newest immigrants. These narratives are essential: a humanizing and restorative education for all of us.” “As a teaching professor, my job is to help student teachers develop empathic 16

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relationships in society. Canadian literature, notably the significant publications emerging from young adult fiction, provides experiences for our students that change behaviour and allow them to participate in a more ethical society,” says Fowler. Authoring a Canadian Writers in Conversation series, and Reading Canada: Pedagogy and Fiction for Young Adults (a co-authored text with Dr. Wendy Donawa) are two of Fowler’s current research books headed for publication. A Curriculum of Difficulty: Narrative Research in Education and the Practice of Teaching, published in New York (2006) illustrates a theoretical frame for narrative research and includes Fowler’s own literary teaching stories. That book contributes to pedagogical understandings regarding difficulty in teaching. But “Canadian literature is a hopeful place to work,” Fowler adds. “Students want to be part of the conversation of our country. It’s up to our teachers to light that

fire for our youth and inspire those flames to spread healthy being and good citizenship throughout our society. Canadian culture is defined by our multicultural fabric, our awareness and empathy; Canadian literature can connect our experiences to our actions, through reading and understanding.” The relationship between effective pedagogical methods and literacy is at the heart of Fowler’s continued research. “There are direct connections between literacy and poverty, literacy and wellness, literacy and lifespan, and literacy and socioeconomic status,” she says. “Teaching is an incredible responsibility and worthy profession which benefits all peoples and communities. Teachers need to cultivate wise brains and hearts; we are models to society presenting our best authentic selves in the classroom so students may engage fully and become all that they can in life.”

Writer: Amanda Berg, Photographer: Rod Leland

The relationship between effective pedagogical methods and literacy is at the heart of Dr. Leah Fowler’s continued research

Cross-Campus Community

The Vital Nature of Breadth and Depth Dr. Chris Nicol, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science is a firm believer of preparing students through the liberal education philosophy and cross-campus collaboration

L to R: Dr. Chris Nicol, Peter Zajiczek, and Teena Cormack Dr. Chris Nicol, Dean of Arts and Science at the University of Lethbridge, is a firm believer in the University’s liberal education philosophy and the vital nature of crosscampus collaboration, particularly between Arts and Science and Education, in shaping teachers of excellence.

in a wide array of areas in order to answer unexpected questions from curious students. There has to be breadth to what you’re doing as well as depth so that, when you get off the wall questions, you’re well equipped to answer them. That is the preparation we’re seeking to give.”

Writer: Stacy Seguin, Photographer: Rod Leland

“The University has always had highly-integrated programming across the Faculties. This builds a long-term ability to be flexible and adapt to a changing environment.” “The University has always had highlyintegrated programming across Faculties. This builds a long-term ability to be flexible and adapt to a changing environment,” explains Nicol. “The whole philosophy here has been to have a broad educational perspective. I think education students, particularly, require a strong foundation

Dr. Chris Nicol

Over the years, Nicol has spoken with many graduates who have come to appreciate the variety of skills they gained while taking courses from the many disciplines offered through Arts and Science, and the opportunities they had to work closely with professors. According to Nicol, “many students talk about how they have had

an opportunity here to be involved in the development of new knowledge through research and scholarly activity. There are lots of opportunities for them to be involved in things like independent study courses, or working directly with researchers the Dr. Janiceon Rahn researchers’ scholarly programs of activity. This is also true in the Faculty of Education, where students acquire an appreciation for the process of discovering new things and the importance of taking that into the classroom.” After at least two years of Arts and Science experience, students enter the Faculty of Education with a breadth and depth of knowledge, an emerging understanding of research techniques and purposes, and are well prepared to learn the educational content, curriculum and pedagogy that are behind the University’s well- known reputation for shaping future teachers of excellence.

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Writer: Chris Hibbard Photographer: MIchael Holly

Partners in Education

Educating at All Levels Alumni Gordon Thomas (BEd ‘77) is making a difference in both the classroom and through his work with the Alberta Teachers’ Association University of Lethbridge Faculty of Education alumni, Gordon Thomas, is the current executive secretary for the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA). When not in the office he can be found with his wife - a justice in the provincial court of appeals - travelling the world together. For seven years following his graduation, Thomas taught social studies and drama at Sturgeon Composite High School in northern Alberta. While there, he earned an MEd and a PhD from the University of Alberta. “On that journey toward my graduate degrees, I was invited to apply to join the ATA’s Professional Development program team, working to improve the standards around teaching quality and qualifications in the province.” Thomas found the work interesting, a different way to contribute to something bigger. “It felt like a way to be involved in both governance, and in improving education in classrooms at all levels,” he says. Starting as an executive assistant in Professional Development, Thomas spent the next 14 years working in teacher education and certification. He guided curriculum change, student and teacher evaluation practices, performed field service via workshops, and taught at the university level. In 2002, Thomas became executive secretary for the ATA – a position that he finds demanding but rewarding. “A lot of my work involves relationships with others,” he says, “be it working with government organizations, universities, or school boards. We are all partners in that respect. But my formal duties have a great deal to do with our own governance as an association.” The teachers elected to be on the ATA’s Provincial Executive Council meet eight times each year, dealing with an array of issues facing the teaching profession in the province. The Council receives recommendations and provides direction; some of which involve matters of professional discipline or competency. “We view each scenario that arises

as being unique and special,” Thomas says. “Each case requires investigation, evidence collection, its own impartial hearing, and subsequent decisions being made.” These scenarios may include conflict resolution, teacher-parent relations, and more. Thomas was always drawn to teaching. His father taught high school in Lethbridge – and along with some very good teachers in his own schooling, he was led down the path toward making a difference. “I still have that desire,” Thomas says. “For the members of the profession, I want to create conditions that will improve teaching as a trade, serve the public interest and be of benefit to professional teachers. This job allows me to do that.” Through his time with the ATA, Thomas has worked through the teacher’s strike of 2002, and the subsequent Alberta’s Commission on Learning (from which many good recommendations were implemented). Thomas is familiar with current headlines regarding proposed changes to Grade 12 final examinations. “As a teachers’ collective of over 35,000 educators,” Thomas notes, “we think that putting 50 per cent grading weight on just one day’s worth of multiple choice questions doesn’t seem like a valid measurement. We would rather see 80 per cent of the weight placed on in-term classroom performance, and we believe that the teacher’s assessments of student are even more important. But there are many more discussions to come,” Thomas says. Thomas’ memories of being a student at the U of L are fond ones. “Those times were really happy and constructive for me,” he says. “There was enormous assistance provided between preparation, immersion through practicum, and graduation. A great deal of what I learned then, I practice today. The personalities and teachers I met while I was there were tremendous models for me. Their commitment was truly inspiring.” Th e Le g ac y |

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Awahtoonskii’p: Making Our Rounds “Taking people to these sacred sites and having them actively engage, “praying there, making offerings, eating, visiting with one another, laughing, telling stories . . . by doing that we’re repatriating the sites, we’re bringing them back to the realm of Blackfoot being,”

People travel for many reasons. Of those who travel for pleasure, many seek to escape their daily routines, perhaps to redefine themselves. In recent years tourism agencies have been keen to promote the idea of seeking these kinds of experiences right in our own back yards. As Southern Albertans we live in the heart of Blackfoot territory, and yet what do we really know of Blackfoot culture or the responsibilities we may have to the land that sustains us? Blackfeet people will tell you that the land is their knowledge base; that wisdom is found within the land’s sacred sites. Within the Faculty of Education, the dissemination of this type of knowledge has been taking place through innovative programming. The Niitsitapi Teacher Education Program was a primary example as its fundamental purpose is to graduate qualified teachers who possess “an understanding of Blackfoot epistemology, pedagogy and ideology,” and have them apply this knowledge in the classroom. The MEd (FNMI Curriculum Leadership) builds on this undergraduate program. At the University of Lethbridge, Dr. Cynthia Chambers 20

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Dr. Cynthia Chambers

and Narcisse Blood, coordinator of Kainai Studies at Red Crow Community College have developed and co-taught a number of courses together, most notably Education 5510, which has essentially been set up both as an alternative to a traditional study tour and as “an opposition.” “Instead of people going all over to look at education elsewhere” why not ask ourselves what can be learned [here] from this place?” Cynthia wondered. At Red Crow Communitiy College, students had already been visiting sacred sites within Blackfoot territory, “as a result of funding received through a traditional land use study,” says Narcisse. Initially a course offering at the undergraduate level, Education 5510 is now being offered as a graduate seminar called Blackfoot Pedagogy (Practice of Teaching Series). Taking people to these sacred sites and having them actively engage, “praying there, making offerings, eating, visiting with one another, laughing, telling stories . . . by doing that we’re repatriating the sites, we’re bringing them back to the realm of Blackfoot being,” she says.

Writer: Lori Lavallee Photographer: Rod Leland

Awahtoonskii’p

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Writer: Lori Lavallee Photography: Rod Leland

Graduate Studies

Neuroscience Research in the Classroom

Spearheaded by Drs. Nancy Grigg and Bryan Kolb, University of Lethbridge Education and Neuroscience Experts Collaborate to Launch Unique Masters Degree Program for Teachers

Writer: Lori Lavallee Photographer: Rod Leland

One of former Faculty of Education Dean Jane O’Dea’s long-awaited visions has finally become a reality with the recent launch of the Inclusive Education and Neuroscience M.Ed program. Recalling their early discussions about her desire to expose teachers to the principles of brain development, Dr. Bryan Kolb says, “Jane was eager to take the knowledge that we were generating and somehow apply it to classroom practice.” This three-year program, the first of its kind in Western Canada, is intended for practicing teachers as well as administrative and leadership professionals. Students in the program will explore the direct application of this neuroscience research to the classroom. “The whole premise of the program is to take the research and apply it to teaching practices in the classroom “ says Sue Bengry, former Director of Student Services, Lethbridge School District 51. Teachers “need to know about the principles of brain development in order to understand the impact these processes have on behaviours,” Kolb says. Whereas “most of the body develops from a genetic blueprint, the brain develops in response to experiences. So you are your brain.” “Teachers are eager to learn about the newest neuroscience findings and how these findings might influence our instructional practices and the design of classroom environments,” says Dr. Nancy Grigg. “In the past, we could only assume that kids with learning disabilities had neurological damage or dysfunction.” Having a foundation in brain-based learning will allow educators to adapt their teaching methods to ensure the best results; essentially providing students with practical “workarounds,” to their learning challenges. Although this particular program is geared towards experienced teachers, “down the road it would be useful to have all education students taking neuropsychology courses,” says Kolb.

Translating research into practice is, of course, a complex process. “But when educators and neuroscientists begin to work together, the gap between neuroscience research and classroom practice starts to close,” says Grigg. Policy makers, educators and parents have also been wrestling with the issue of how to better deliver inclusive education. In 2007, Alberta Education conducted a review of the existing practices. Two years later, a public discussion was launched to consider the future of education as a whole, “Inspiring Education: A Dialogue with Albertans.” Moreover, a whole new “project” was established to create a proposed framework for replacing the current special education system with an “inclusive education system.” The formulation of this “Setting the Direction Framework,” and its subsequent presentation to the Minister was a resounding success, for until recently there has been little or no consensus on these matters. “Although there has always been a strong philosophical push towards students with special educational needs spending most or all of their time with non-disabled students, implementation of this practice has varied,” Grigg explains. Clearly, support for inclusive education is strong on all fronts, and the discipline of neuropsychology will undoubtedly continue to infuse the movement with the data it requires to grow and remain confident. We have been preparing for this moment and are proud to witness the Department of Neuroscience and the Faculty of Education boldly step forward in partnership, better prepared to educate today’s educators. “Every teacher needs to have some understanding of how children learn and I’m not surprised that the U of L, a leader in teacher education, is moving in this direction. With its expertise and small size, this school has the ability to adapt to changes more easily than traditional institutions,” says the Honourable Dave Hancock.

Inclusive education is generally understood to be the practice of placing learners with special educational needs with non-disabled students. “It is not meant to be about diagnosis and placement,” the Honourable Dave Hancock, Minister of Education emphasizes. “Rather, it refers to an education system where every child has access to what they need to succeed. The fundamental questions are, “how do we provide adaptation to the curriculum so teachers don’t have to do it on an individual basis and how do we ensure that school boards are appropriately funded for the students they have?” Th e Le g ac y |

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Support Staff

Paving a Future Teacher’s Path to Success In her role as advisor, Brenda Bell provides required details and broader vision to Faculty of Education students

Within the Faculty of Education, the goal is to graduate “fine teachers,” says Dr. John Poulsen, Assistant Dean. “We have the luxury of having a program that is desired, a good product.” Obviously, recruitment is never an issue, but neither is retention. “Our Student Program Services office is proud of our part in student success.” Take a moment to consider Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, as a framework for graduating excellent teachers. Brenda Bell, Academic Advisor, works with students through each phase of development, wherever she is needed. At the base of the pyramid is the recruitment component, where prospective students learn about eligibility. “This can be very different for each student, depending on what they are bringing into the program and what they hope to get out of it,” she says. Next, it’s admissions. It may be helpful 24

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to think of the next few steps as a bit of a race: Students move into a starting line-up and Brenda starts to prep them, providing them with information about requirements, options and timeframes. “We need to ensure that students can graduate at the time they want to graduate,” John explains. During each part of the relay, Brenda continues to help them to tailor their program. “We are always operating between providing the required details and keeping in mind the broader picture.” It’s about ensuring every student has the best run possible. Unfortunately, delays and disqualifications do occur. After all, Student Program Services is also the “keeper of the rigour.” “Teaching is a profession where you have to be fully committed; it has to take over your life, otherwise your success is not assured,” John explains. “But if a student is floundering, we are there to offer guidance and provide

support.” We have a 98% retention rate and of those who leave, it’s generally because they decide that “teaching is not for them or teaching is not for them right now.” From a financial perspective, critics argue that students need to be made accountable at all junctures, including course selection; that student advisors are expensive and that schools need to migrate towards self-serve technologies. Costs aside, student advisors of Brenda’s calibre clearly support the objective of personal accountability. “It’s not just about providing information, it’s about making connections,” she emphasizes. In conversing with her, Brenda’s passion for her work is permeable; her greatest desire is to help students make informed decisions so they can become the project managers of their entire careers. Now that’s self actualization, all around!

Writer: Lori Lavallee Photographer: Rod Leland

L to R: Chelsey Merkel, Brenda Bell, and Scott Fairs

Current Student

Belize Field Experience Student teacher, Irfaan Sorathia goes to Belize for practical teaching experience Arranging a placement can be a challenge, whether for an employment position or an education internship, but every now and then the stars just seem to line up and magic is born. When Debby Sollway, Admin Support, suggested an international placement to Irfaan Sorathia, he was sold in an instant.

“The goal is to go beyond what you are teaching, the pedagogy, and essentially make the kind of contribution that is actually needed.”

Writer: Lori Lavallee Photograph courtesy of Irfaan Sorathia

Irfaan Sorathia “I started by considering my options, but in the end I decided that if I was going to be dealing with cultural differences in an educational setting, it would be more practical to go to an English-speaking country.” Fast-forward to fall 2010: Irfaan arrives in the only country in Central America where English is the official language, Belize. At the teacher orientation Irfaan learns that he will not be teaching math or physics and PE as expected; that he will not have the opportunity to teach any academic subjects. Despite his initial disappointment, Irfaan quickly assesses the bigger picture and identifies new challenges. “The students come from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds and educational experiences, many with limited access to materials or even qualified teachers,” he explains. “The goal is to go beyond what you are teaching, the pedagogy,” and essentially make the kind of contribution that is actually needed. With Irfaan, one gets the sense that his professional attitude, his ability to assess, adapt and sincerely respond, is not born

from an acquired skill set and youthful countenance, but rather from a place of deeper wisdom. Originally from Calgary, Irfaan’s postsecondary choices have been an evolution strongly influenced by the humanistic values he shared with his late mother. His first academic choice was engineering, but despite his engagement with the subject matter, he soon discovered that he needed more “people interaction.” After switching to a business major, Irfaan was clearly drawn to the concept of socially responsible marketing, the idea that

companies need to consider what is in the best interests of society, in both the short and long term. Still struggling to identify his niche, he then completed a Bachelor of Science degree in preparation for a teaching career. Irfaan’s ability to adapt, coupled with his strong sense of purpose will undoubtedly bode well for him in an educational career. In considering his future, Irfaan explains that his vision is “continuing to evolve the more I talk to others. Educational Research may be in order, but it needs to have some practicality.” When the time is right he will surely know. Th e Le g ac y |

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Current Student

When Two Dreams Meet Current student, Holly Portas discovers her place in education through a teaching experience that happened halfway around the world “Greater cultural awareness and acceptance can be achieved simply by children sharing stories of their lives”

Writer: Elizabeth McLachlan, Photographer: Rod Leland

Holly Portas

The impoverished people of Bali dreamt of lifting their children from poverty through education; Holly Portas dreamt of educating children. Neither foresaw what would happen when the two dreams met. In 2003, Holly travelled to Malaysia as a work exchange student with the University of Lethbridge. She fell in love with the people and shortly after graduating returned to Asia to teach English as a Second Language. She joined the East Bali Poverty Project, a non-profit organization driven by the Balinese. “I was a Westerner and they let me in,” she says. “It was amazing, because they have such different traditions and beliefs. They taught me a lot about acceptance and understanding, and what it means to be a friend.” After volunteering for six months in remote mountain schools, Holly took a paying position with the Centre for British Teachers (CfBT) and moved to Malaysia to continue her work in a government boarding school. But she didn’t leave her Balinese friends behind. To help both groups improve their English she started a pen-pal project between them. “It was a clash of cultures,” she states. The welltravelled Malaysian students had upper-middleclass urban backgrounds, while the Balinese were poor, rural and had never left their isolated villages. “The kids in Malaysia were growing up in a strict

Islamic environment and the kids in Bali were Hindu.” The circumstances provided opportunities to discuss differences, highlighting the importance of respect and sensitivity. Holly was overwhelmed by the students’ enthusiasm and the open-hearted way they responded to one another. “There were no generalizations about other cultures, no biases, no extremism.” The project resulted in dramatic improvements in communicative English skills. It garnered research funding from CfBT and drew international attention as a model for teaching English in rural and impoverished areas. Holly and the organizations with which she worked were especially gratified that “greater cultural awareness and acceptance can be achieved simply by children sharing stories of one another’s lives.” After four-and-a-half years, Holly returned to Canada and entered the U of L Faculty of Education. In Canadian classrooms she plans to replicate her Bali/Malaysian experience. “We are blessed to have so many cultures here, whether European or First Nations or Inuit. I’d like to develop a project where children teach their own cultures to other children.” What happens when two dreams meet? In this case, a chain reaction of global understanding.

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Career Coaching Across the Curriculum

“...[The point is to] foster thought around what they’d like their futures to be like, so that those decisions can emerge over time.”

Dr. Kerry Bernes

Children of today will enter a radically different workplace of tomorrow thanks to increasing globalization and technological advancement. Educators must prepare them to succeed in occupations that may not yet exist. Dr. Kerry Bernes and his students in the University of Lethbridge Faculty of Education are doing just that. A unique Career Education elective and PSIII focus, developed by Bernes, teaches future educators to incorporate career coaching into subjects across the curriculum, from Kindergarten to Grade 12. “The point is not to establish a career path for someone in Grade 2,” states Bernes. “It’s to foster thought around what they’d like their futures to be like, so that those decisions can emerge over time.” Alberta Education funded the pilot project after a survey of almost 10,000 students, parents and staff indicated that most feel the education system doesn’t provide enough assistance with vocation planning. Course graduate Kristin Dow agrees. “I took one class in High School, C.A.L.M. (Career and Life Management), that was designed to help me choose a career. Instead it left me overwhelmed and stressed. The Career Education elective was one of the most eye-opening, interesting and practical classes of my degree. It prepared us to reach students in a way few other teachers have.” Those taking the elective create projects

integrating lifework awareness into the subjects they’ll teach in their practicums. In Okotoks, Alberta, Duana Webb’s Social Studies module helping Grade 1 students identify interests, abilities and talents was so successful she was asked to train other teachers in the linkaging method. Jasmyn Kennedy’s unit, Dare to D.R.E.A.M. (Discuss, Reflect, Explore, Act, Put in Motion) helped Junior High School girls set goals to achieve “personally meaningful occupations based on happiness, passions and interests.” Ninety-four percent of participating school children rated the activities they encountered in the career and life planning lessons as either ‘good’ or ‘great,’ in terms of usefulness,” says Bernes. Interns involved in the project receive a $1500 honorarium, plus expenses. According to Bernes, they also gain “a stronger sense of purpose and passion,” and greater refinement of their own goals. “It allowed me to understand who I am,” says Kennedy. This fall, a PSIII student will take the initiative to Mexico. “The literature needs us to think about the impact in other regions, particularly the third world,” states Bernes. “If we could continue with funding, I’d love to make it an international program.”

“I had an amazing experience with my career education project,” says current student Bevan Bartley, who linked vocations in the energy sector to Grade 4 Social Studies and Digital Literacies curriculums. Students studied occupations in the oil and gas industry and produced Power Point presentations they shared with the class. “A lot of them were able to research careers their parents have,” he states. “This was exciting for them, because many didn’t know what their parents actually did.” Bartley’s faith in the career coaching initiative is absolute. “I think it is crucial in all aspects of education and at every grade level.” 28

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Writer: Elizabeth McLachlan, Photographer: Rod Leland

One of the challenges teachers face is to help students prepare for rapid change in the workplace and position them for career opportunities

Undergraduate Program

“The Career Education elective was one of the most eye-opening, interesting and practical classes of my degree. It prepared us to reach students in a way few other teachers have.�

Kristin Dow, current student

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Celebrating Legacy

A Decade of Leadership “I realized from the beginning, that our faculty could accomplish anything with its team of dedicated faculty, staff and administration.”

Dr. Jane O’Dea

As the curtain closes on Dr. Jane O’Dea’s term as Dean, she reflects upon the people and achievements which have shaped the successes of the Faculty of Education over the past decade. Since her inaugural year in 2000, O’Dea’s enthusiasm and leadership have seen continued growth, change and opportunity for the faculty. One of the many notable accomplishments during O’Dea’s tenure, was the establishment of the Niitsitapi Teacher Education Program 30

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in collaboration with Red Crow Community College, the Kainai School Board and the Blackfoot communities. “This program had great meaning and purpose for our faculty,” O’Dea explains. “Our campus and our community are situated in the heart of Blackfoot territory. Niitsitapi made us realize how much more we could learn and provided us access to people with extraordinary wisdom.” Earlier this year, O’Dea’s leadership and dedication to the Blackfoot community

saw her bestowed with the rare honour as a Blackfoot elder, overseen by Andy Blackwater. Always with consummate modesty, O’Dea bows to her colleagues as the true champions of the faculty. “The people I work with are phenomenally talented and committed,” O’Dea boasts. “I realized from the beginning, that our faculty could accomplish anything with its team of dedicated faculty, staff and administration.” A pianist and performer, O’Dea practiced

Writer: Amanda Berg, Photographer: Rod Leland

collaboration as a student of the arts and she carried those skills with her through her role as administrator. “Chamber music is my favourite to perform,” she says. “Everyone gets a chance to play the tune and a chance to play the supportive parts, which are essential to the entire piece. Each player decides how they’re going to play their part - but there’s an amazing collaborative spontaneity that happens. That is the example I tried to demonstrate as dean.” As O’Dea passes the baton to interim dean,

Dr. Craig Loewen, she looks forward to a new chapter in her career. She looks forward to returning to teaching, something she has always enjoyed. In 2010, the Minister of Advanced Education appointed Dr. O’Dea to the Campus Alberta Quality Council, a position she will hold for the next three years. “I see how fortunate Canadians are to have such outstanding education opportunities,” says O’Dea. “Education in our country has

fostered a forward-thinking society and contributed to an acceptance and celebration of our diversity. We must honour the right of each person to lead a good meaningful life, and we all must advocate for education that accommodates all abilities, for all people.”

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Confidence

Inspiring Teachers Teaching is a profession that goes beyond learning outcomes – it touches lives and impacts generations. As you’ll read on this page, our world is enriched by educators who continue to dedicate their lives to help individuals and communities reach their potential – even beyond their professional teaching careers.

Inspiration

“Teaching is a noble profession. It takes courage, patience and perseverance to face a class each day knowing that you are there to help develop young minds. Through teaching by example you instill in them an interest and an avid desire to learn. One needs to attempt to impart values like honesty, truthfulness and fairness. In fact, you are building the foundation for the rest of their lives.” Jennie Emery, retired teacher Picture taken in front of the Coaldale school named in her honour

“Teachers have always been good at building a capacity to dream. They do that by fostering a culture of respect, focusing on the future, and identifying unrealized talents within their students. I know that has been the case in my life. From an early age, teachers identified and nurtured leadership skills I didn’t see in myself. The lesson for teachers is that you often need to believe in students who don’t believe in themselves. That is the art of teaching.” Bob Tarleck, retired teacher and former mayor Picture taken in front of City Hall

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, eNewsletters, 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! For correspondence related to the Legacy Magazine email edu.communications@uleth.ca. Best regards, Your friends at the Faculty of Education 32

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come back for your graduate programs in education “Returning as a graduate student to the Faculty of Education has added a sense of vitality to my teaching and a depth to my understanding of literacy. I’m inspired to be a better student and a better teacher.” Solange Lalonde Current Graduate Studies Student Faculty of Education

You have your degree, now enhance your career. The possiblities are endless... Explore our offerings in graduate studies:

MASTER OF EDUCATION

• Educational Leadership (annual intake; 2012 Calgary-based cohort) • Counselling Psychology (next intake 2013) • Literacy: Reading and Writing the World (in progress) • Leadership in Information Technology in Education (in progress) • Inclusive Education and Neuroscience (in progress) • First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) Curriculum Leadership (in progress) • Literacy in Globalized Canadian Classrooms (next intake 2012) • Professional Learning and School-based Change (2012 Rocky View cohort) For information on programs and admissions please visit our website at www.uleth.ca/edu/grad

MASTER OF COUNSELLING (annual intake) For information on programs, specializations, or admissions please visit our website at www.uleth.ca/edu/master-counselling or contact master.counselling@uleth.ca

APPLICATION DEADLINE NOVEMBER 1

www.uleth.ca/edu/grad

Faculty of Education

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


Legacy 2010