Hot off the press, Dissident Knowledge in Higher Education, edited by Drs. Marc Spooner and James McNinch, pulls together the papers and discussions presented at the Public Engagement and the Politics of Evidence pre-symposium (2014-2015) and symposium (July, 2015) hosted by the University of Regina. Along with the preface and introduction by Marc Spooner and James McNinch, Dissident Knowledge includes a foreward by Leonardo Zeus, and chapters by Noam Chomsky, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Yvonna Lincoln, Norman Denzin, Michelle Fine, Budd Hall, Patti Lather, Marie Battiste, Eve Tuck, Sandy Grande, Rosalind Gill, Joel Westheimer, Christopher Meyers and Peter McLaren, which “delve into the effects of colonialism, neoliberalism, and audit culture on higher education” and offer “promising avenues of resistance” (University of Regina Press).
Dr. Marc Spooner and Dr. James McNinch will be hosting a book launch
Sunday, May 27th 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Place: Booth #22, Congress Book Expo, Centre for Kinesiology, University of Regina
All our welcome
“Fueling the current onslaught on higher education is the perfect storm of neoliberalism at its apex, totalitarianism on the rise, and enduring legacies of colonialism, white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, and imperialism. Education has never been guarded from such forces, but nor has it ever been free of contestation, and higher education in particular has long perpetuated injustice even as it seeded revolutions. Such is the searing analysis and nurturing of hope offered by an all-star collection of scholars.” – Kevin Kumashiro, author of Bad Teacher!: How Blaming Teachers Distorts the Bigger Picture
“[A] rich examination of the impact of corporatization of our universities, as well as how they can be reclaimed.” – James Turk, editor of Academic Freedom in Conflict
“This book maps the path toward a university based on ethics and justice rather than corporate needs. It reaches anyone who wants to understand the social, political, and economic trends that define our times.” – William Ayers, author of Teaching with Conscience in an Imperfect World
“The space for dissent and democratic debate is quickly shrinking both in public life and academic institutions. This volume helps readers ask critical and conscious questions about what it means to contend for truth.” – Gloria Ladson-Billings, author of The Dreamkeepers
In the late summer and fall, 4th-year education students participate in Internship Seminars where they will meet the teachers with whom they will be working for the fall term. The interns then go out into schools for the fall term. The number of field experiences in our education programs is a distinctive aspect of our Faculty, and a reason many choose the University of Regina for their teacher-education program.
The following are the Fall 2018 Internship Seminar Dates:
August 22 – 23 (U. of R.)
September 6 – 7 (Travelodge; Regina)
September 13 -14 (Travelodge; Regina)
September 20 – 21 (Travelodge; Regina)
September 27 – 28 (Travelodge; Regina)
(Lunch will be provided both days for all seminars)
The Faculty of Education is pleased to announce that we will be welcoming Dr. Cristyne Hébert to our Faculty as an Assistant Professor on July 1, 2018 in a tenure-track position working in the area of Assessment and Evaluation.
Dr. Hébert earned a PhD in Education from York University in 2015 where she is currently a postdoctoral researcher. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships (including a SSHRC doctoral fellowship), authored many refereed publications and has extensive university teaching experience stemming from time spent in four Canadian universities. We know that Dr. Hébert will make strong contributions in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service. We look forward to having her as a member of the Faculty and our community.
Heartfelt thanks to the members of the search committee: Dr. Paul Clarke (Chair), Dr. Christine Massing, Dr. Marc Spooner, Dr. Joël Thibeault and Dr. Kristi Wright (Psychology), and special thanks to Laurie Lindsay for all her organizational work.
On Tuesday, April 10, graduate students from Dr. Marc Spooner’s ED 800 course, an introduction to educational research, hosted a Poster Fair, sharing their poster research proposals around (new and interesting) food and conversations. Spooner, who invited faculty to attend, says, “This is a perfect opportunity for our graduate students to see what ED 800 and research is all about and for faculty to see and discuss what our students are thinking about researching.” Through experiences such as this, Spooner says, students gain “some conference-like experience in a warm, familiar, and supportive environment.”
On March 26, Education students from Audrey Aamodt’s Treaties in the Classroom (ECCU 400) section overcame their own discomfort to engage in conversations with peers and profs in the hallways at the University of Regina about the many ways of taking action towards reconciliation. Aamodt says, “Students decided to host these conversations in the halls of the University to remind themselves/us that they not only belong, and have a responsibility, to the more intimate Faculty of Education, but are also part of this larger learning community and beyond.”
Bert Fox High School students and their teacher Sheena Koops, as regular facilitators of the Blanket Exercise, travelled from Fort Qu’Appelle to join the conversations, to raise awareness about the Blanket Exercise, which is an activity in which “participants take on the roles of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Standing on blankets that represent the land, they walk through pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization and resistance ” (Source).
SUNTEP students and their instructors Brenna Pacholko and Russell Fayant visited the stations, and offered, in instructor Aamodt’s words, “critical and courageous conversations with students and myself.” Aamodt adds, “We extend gratitude for their generosity, wisdom, and patience with us.”
Regarding what the students learned, Aamodt says, “I think the most important overall learning that could potentially come out of this experience for us was that listening to and reflecting on critiques takes practice and is necessary. Treaty Education, along with potentially associated reconciliation, decolonization, indigenization, and social justice efforts should always be submitted to critical reflection and none are without tension. So, we ask who benefited from this event and if it was truly ‘action.’ Perhaps it didn’t amount to anything of significance, except to make us feel good. Then, we reminded one another about Pam Palmater’s claim that “if it feels good, it’s not reconciliation.”
As for her own learning, Aamodt adds, ” I have learned how I might better invite students to consider who might be the right people to talk about particular issues, some of the problems with being perceived as positioning ourselves (settler-Canadians) as experts about MMIW, residential school legacies & intergenerational trauma, FNMI identities-histories-cultures-communities, FNMI languages, reconciliation, decolonization, indigenization, and even treaties.”
Below are student comments about what they were doing, and what they thought about its importance.
It is with pleasure that we announce the renewal of Dr. Valerie Mulholland to her role as Associate Dean, Student Services and Undergraduate Programs for an additional two year term (ending June 30, 2020). The Review Committee commented that Dr. Mulholland is an integral part of the success of the faculty.
Q & A with Dr. Pamela Osmond-Johnson, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, Faculty of Education, University of Regina
Recipient of the 2017 Pat Clifford Award
1. As an emerging researcher, how did you feel when you heard you were the recipient of the Pat Clifford Award?
It was great to have my work around teacher professionalism recognized. Broadening understandings of the work of teachers and the valuing of teacher voice in educational policy is critically important to the future of the teaching profession and I was pleased that the awards committee placed value on that area of scholarship.
Broadening understandings of the work of teachers and the valuing of teacher voice in educational policy is critically important to the future of the teaching profession
2. What commonly held assumptions do you attempt to disrupt in your research?
The idea that teachers simply deliver curriculum, that a teacher stands in front of students and teaches all day. Teaching is surely the most important work they do but it’s their involvements during the regular school day in extra-classroom work that will really serve them in the work they do with students: their involvement in high quality professional learning, in mentoring other teachers, in curriculum development, and in collaborative work with their colleagues. Those experiences build professional capital and capacity to not only be better teachers themselves, but also to aid others in being better teachers.
3. What is the state of educators’ professional learning in Canada?
Teacher professional learning is certainly a hot button topic in Canada, particularly in tough economic times. It’s often the first item cut from budgets since it “doesn’t directly impact the classroom” (which is so far from the truth). That being said, we have some very strong teacher federations in this country who are advocating for access to relevant and practical professional learning. Across the country, there are many innovative and exciting learning opportunities for teachers but they are not always equitable in terms of ease of access. Teachers working in the north, in rural areas, and French educators seem to have more difficulty identifying quality PL, either because of the high travel cost or the lack of qualified facilitators.
4. What is your definition of the teacher role? What practical differences will result from redefining the teacher role?
For me, the work of teachers extends beyond the work they do directly with students. Teachers should also be engaged with the broader context of schooling – as leaders, as learners, as innovators, as mentors, and as collaborators. Their voices should matter in the creation of our policies and how we go about defining what is important in education. Practically, reconceptualising the work of teachers in this manner means rethinking the daily schedule for teachers. In Canada, we place the most emphasis on teaching time, which constitutes anywhere from 100% to 80% of teachers work during regular school time. This leaves little time for any of the extra-classroom work that I mentioned. In other countries, teachers spend much less time actually teaching (less than half their day in Singapore, for instance) and spend much more time working with their colleagues and participating in governance. This would be a huge paradigm shift but one that could potentially really improve education in terms of honing the skills of individual teachers while simultaneously developing the capacity of the profession to contribute to educational decision making more broadly.
5. In your own experience as an educator, what was a defining moment, when you knew that the way educational policies and the system defined your role as a teacher was inadequate for the practical realities of your role?
I had just finished my Master’s and was asked by the University to come to a conference and present a paper I wrote. The school division wouldn’t grant my request for leave. It sent a clear message to me that my research and my voice didn’t matter. I decided then and there that I would spend the rest of my professional career advocating that these things did matter.
6. Was it due to your efforts that the recent name change from Educational Administration to Educational Leadership in your department came to be? Why is this an important change for our Faculty?
This was an idea that had been discussed long before I came to the Faculty. I put the idea out there again and my colleagues were totally on board. Our programming has certainly evolved in response to the needs of our partners, and now conceptualizes school leadership as including, but not limited to, formal administrative roles. Informal leadership from teachers is equally important, and in many cases, is often the driving force behind educational change. We wanted to make sure the program name was inclusive of the content with which students are engaging and reflective of our belief that leadership isn’t just for school principals.
7. What has surprised you most about the findings in your research?
The resiliency of teachers to continue to exert their voices and to continue to strive to be heard in the face of a mountain of challenges. Participants in my research tell me they do what they do because they know it helps them better their practice and improve teaching and learning, not only in their own classrooms, but beyond to the classrooms and schools of others. They give up their weekends and evenings, and they drive hundreds of kilometers, just to continue their learning and extend their professional networks because they consider it a professional responsibility to always be learning from and with other teachers. And yet, they also tell me they feel guilty for doing so because they are missing class time. That’s the saddest part for me: hearing the stories of guilt. If these experiences were embedded in their daily work and accepted as part of the role of teachers, perhaps they wouldn’t feel so bad? This is an area the profession certainly needs to continue to work on.
8. Has the focus of your research changed since you began your study? If so, how and why?
Somewhat. In the beginning, I was specifically focused on teacher involvement in action research. Now my work is much broader and focuses on teacher engagement in a host of extra-classroom work – I see the boundaries of the work of teachers in a much bigger way than I did 10 years ago when I started this journey.
9. What are your plans for overcoming systemic obstacles to redefining the role of teachers? (How do we empower educators in Canada?)
I think the teacher federations’ professional agendas are an important piece of this puzzle. They have a legal mandate to advocate for the profession and so I see their work in supporting this reconceptualization as incredibly important. This doesn’t mean strikes and traditional labour action typically associated with unions. Rather, I see advocacy as being a little more outspoken and proactive on policy issues, particularly around professional learning and other issues of professionalism, than has been the case for some federations. However, the onus also falls on current teachers to become involved in their federations, to add to that collective capacity. “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean” (Ryunosuke Satoro).
On Friday, March 2, a make-shift Theatre in the Round in the Faculty of Education drama room set the stage for Globe Theatre Actors Daniel Fong, Angela Kemp, David Light, and Kaitlyn Semple as well as Craig Salkeld, the Performance Pianist, to perform two short excerpts from Us, which is currently being performed at the Globe Theatre Main Stage.
“Us is a heartwarming, brand new musical that explores what happens when LGBTQ+ youth come together in a group of peers at a summer camp. Created by award-winning playwright and radio producer Kelley Jo Burke and internationally renowned singer-songwriter-pianist Jeffery Straker, Us is an uplifting play about “coming in”—finding acceptance within yourself and in your community.” (Globe Theatre)
Arts Ed students were privileged to be part of this up-close performance and discussion as part of their PLACE experience. Playwright and alumna Kelley Jo Burke talked about her experience at Camp fYrefly, where she listened to LGBTQ+ youth and counsellors talk about their experiences of coming together at summer camp, the research she drew on in writing the script for this fictional play. Other members of the creative team, such as Director and Musical Director Valerie Ann Pearson and Set and Costume Designer Wes D. Pearce, discussed the thought behind their areas of development for the musical.
A panel presentation followed the performance moderated by Dr. Kathryn Ricketts. Panel participants discussed the importance of the play (and summer camp) for youth who have identified as LGBTQ+, who are needing to find an Us to which they belong, and addressed current issues around diversity and inclusion.
On February 28, 2018, Dr. Ian Matheson successfully defended his dissertation Unpacking Reading Comprehension by Text Type: An Examination of Reading Strategy Use and Cognitive Functioning in Poor and Typically-Achieving Comprehenders at Queen’s University, Faculty of Education.
Dr. Derek Berg (Queen’s University) served as Ian’s Supervisor and the following were his committee members: Dr. Nancy Hutchinson (Queen’s University) and Dr. Don Klinger (Queen’s University). External to Faculty was Dr. Valerie Kuhlmeier (Queen’s University), Head/Delegate was Dr. Kristy Timmons (Queen’s University), External to University was Dr. Dawn Buzza (Wilfrid Laurier) and the Chair was Dr. Anthony Goerzen (Queen’s University).
In his study, Dr. Matheson examined how students build comprehension with different types of text. Poor comprehenders and typically achieving comprehenders, as determined by a standardized measure for general reading comprehension, were compared in their reading comprehension and reading strategy use across narrative, expository, and graphic text. Ian also examined the influence of cognitive functioning on reading comprehension, and to what extent cognitive functions can explain the difference in reading comprehension between poor and typically achieving comprehenders. This research was partially exploratory, where he aimed to validate existing research on cognitive functions, reading strategies, and reading comprehension of text, as well as to contribute new research that distinguishes between text types. Past research has shown that cognitive functions predict reading comprehension and that poor comprehenders have poorer cognitive functioning and use fewer reading strategies than their peers. However, no research to date has made distinctions between different types of text, specifically graphic text, and how cognitive functioning and reading strategy use relate to comprehension.