Author: Editor Ed News

Bereavement Notice

The faculty and staff of the Faculty of Education extend our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Education student Viktoria Forseth who passed away suddenly on October 19.

The funeral service for Viktoria will be held at the Oxbow Prairie Horizon School, Oxbow, SK. on Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. with Mrs. Sandy Dalziel officiating. The interment will take place at the Frobisher Cemetery. A luncheon will follow at the Frobisher Union Church.

Donations in memory of Viktoria can be made to the YMCA Youth Programs, c/o YMCA Downtown, 2400 13th Ave., Regina, SK. S4P 0V9.

Full Obituary for Viktoria Forseth

PhD candidates recipients of research awards

Miranda Field, PhD candidate, award recipient
Shana Cardinal, PhD Candidate, award recipient

PhD Candidates (Education Psychology) Miranda Field and Shana Cardinal are recipients of Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre (IPHRC) and the Saskatchewan Centre for Patient Oriented Research (SCPOR) Research Awards. Each has been awarded $30,000 for their research, which aligns with IPHRC/SCPOR’s goals.

Miranda’s research will focus on the role of place within Indigenous mental health healing and learning and Shana’s research will focus on Indigenous perspectives of intergenerational trauma on student mental health.

The IPHRC/SCPOR award provides them with opportunity to pursue studies and research full-time, as well as to participate as IPHRC/SCPOR Trainees within a “growing hub of people engaging in decolonizing and emancipatory research that is designed to continuously improve the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples in Saskatchewan.” Congratulations Miranda and Shana

Alumna recipient of Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence in STEM

In May 2019, alumna Heather Faris (formerly Haynes) got the news that she was a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for teaching excellence in STEM. Regina-raised Faris’s first thoughts were, “It’s just what I do! Talent is from God. I have a wonderful opportunity in this school to get to be the off-beat, artsy-thinking teacher. I’m like, get an award for it?! I did not expect it and it was such an honour!” Faris adds, “When my principal told me that she was working with a group of people to nominate me, it brings a person to tears, it’s so humbling…but at the same time affirms that this is what I am built and born to do.”

Surprisingly, Faris wasn’t always headed for the teaching profession. She had an interest in biology, which began with dissecting earthworms in Grade 7 and with a love for the outdoors: “Just being outside on the farm with my Grandpa, walking in the fields, gardening, and knowing that I loved being outside in a way that not everybody did.” Thus, her first year at the University of Regina, after graduating from Sister McGuigan High School in 1989, was spent studying biology with the goal of becoming a vet. “My art teacher, Rand Teed, had set me up in high school with the Regina Animal Clinic,” she explains. Then, because she would “pass out every time they started to operate,” Faris decided some hands on experience at the Humane Society would help her and it did.

However, two years of working with animals at the Humane Society had given Faris a clearer view of what she wanted to do: she decided to become a teacher. “I was that kid who had the classroom set up in my basement and corrected work. I found it really fun then,” she laughs. In 1995, Faris graduated with her B.Ed. After travelling a bit, she then came back to teach as a substitute in Regina Catholic schools. After only two days of subbing, she was interviewed and given a short term contract at St. Augustine Community School to teach Grades 5 to 8 science. Then she was hired full-time at Archbishop M. C. O’Neill High School. Thus began her, at this point, 22-year teaching career, including teaching science at Dr. Martin LeBoldus and currently senior science teacher at Miller Comprehensive High School.

When asked what qualities she thinks make for excellence in teaching, Faris responded, “There are a lot of qualities that make a good teacher that I possess but others don’t necessarily possess. And others possess qualities that make them good teachers that I don’t necessarily possess. So we are not all the same, we are very different. But a quality that makes me a good teacher is that I’m creative. I love creating, I wake up in the night because I realize how I can re-imagine that lesson and make it better. That’s one of my strengths.” Faris believes that all scientists are creative beings, pointing to Leeuwenhoek, DaVinci, and Bacon.

A second quality is being observant. Faris’s science teaching has been inspired by what an art teacher once told her: “Draw what you see, not what you think you see.” For Faris that means, “Observe what you see, what you hear, what you smell, what you taste, what you touch. Not what you think you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.” One can achieve this, she says, “by really being in the moment. I tell my students to walk through life with their eyes open. That means don’t put in the headphones, or put up the hoodie. Look around and ask, ‘Why does grass not grow under a pine tree but it grows under the deciduous trees? Why do these trees have seeds and those trees do not? Trust in yourself to hypothesize as to why.’ It’s the synthesis of life when you walk with your eyes open.”

Passion for learning is a third quality that Faris thinks is important to demonstrate. She is a model of active learning for her students as she continues to learn. As an example, she says, “All my students know I have guitar lessons on Tuesdays at 3:30.”

Faris’s passion for learning extends to her craft in teaching biology. In 2010, Faris returned to the U of R to do a Master’s in Education. Through her research, she tested her own hypotheses about teaching and learning biology. She knew the follow-the-recipe approach to labs had to change for science to become richer and more engaging for her students. Following a set of instructions and modelling the steps was not giving students an understanding of why the experiment worked or didn’t work. She developed a new lab procedure, which she now calls an investigation or inquiry rather than lab: “I called it turning labs inside out. Push the bottom to the top. Leave the middle out, get there how you want to.” In their investigations, students are given an endpoint, for instance to create osmosis diffusion, and they are given all the materials they need to achieve the endpoint. No instructions are given. Students then spend one day in the library to discover how the materials work and what they do. Then they are given five days to play. They work in teams and can consult with other teams, but not her. At the end, students do photo write ups. “The story takes us on paths of things that didn’t work and things that did, to the end point. So much of science is what didn’t work. Like cancer research is not a direct path to success. The students told me it taught them to stick with it and not to give up. And how big small successes were when they had a hypothesis about something such as how benedict solution works.” The research validated what Faris was doing and hearing from her students about how they were engaged.

Excellence, for Faris, has also developed through participating in curriculum development with the Ministry of Education, through research opportunities such as an NSERC CRYSTAL project, and through seeing connections within the science curriculums, such as biochemistry and its connection to the health sciences and body systems.

Faris sees her role as being effective because of her care of students, more than a love for science: “I don’t just teach my students science. Science is my vehicle. At the end of the day, it is not about these facts of science. At the end of the day if I can teach them about the love of learning, about being their awesome selves, and being where they are. They come here to learn about who they want to be in the world.” Her students are the wind beneath her wings: “When they come in and say this is my favourite class, I say, really? We havent even done anything cool yet.”

As Faris considers her future steps, she says, “I’m just walking and things unfold. We will have to see how it unfolds. I’ve never experienced a change I didn’t like better.”

Alumni Gathering 2019

We were honoured with the presence of around 55 of our alumni, and former and current faculty and staff on the evening of October 9, 2019. Alumnus Joseph Naytowhow and Dr. Anna-Leah King offered a song to start the evening in a good way and Joseph also ended the evening with a song. Our speaker, Dr. Niigaanwewidam Sinclair, inspired attendees with his experiences of teaching students outside his own culture and experiences, and linked this to the importance of engaging with the TRC’s calls to action for education. Sinclair explained that competence in a profession can only be achieved if we have been educated about the culture and people in our locations. For Saskatchewan educators it is essential to understand the cultures and experiences of Indigenous peoples in Treaty 4 and 6, especially those living under the Indian Act with its economic and other restrictions. Knowing the history and impacts of colonization is essential to becoming competent as educators. Miigwetch to Dr. Sinclair for honouring us with his knowledge.

Thanks to all who came out to the event. Looking forward to next year’s gathering.

 

 

The importance of indigenous research methodology

Elder Alma Poitras speaking about her research with her daughter Evelyn assisting at the computer

A crowd gathered for the second annual Indigenous Research event, hosted by the Faculty of Education’s Research & Graduate Programs office and First Nations University, Thursday, September 26, as part of the University of Regina’s Indigenous Research Showcase Week. Elder and Master’s student Alma Poitrois shared about her research, taking the audience through several layers of circles, offering a deeper understanding of her Indigenous worldview and a natural curriculum.

Following a break of bannock and tea, a panel moderated by Dr. Kathleen O’Reilly discussed “What is an indigenous research methodology? and Why is it important?” To begin the panel discussion, Dr. Angelina Weenie offered naskwahamākēwin, accompanying the women with song, to honour their courage and process. Dr. Angelina Weenie, Dr. Anna-Leah King, Mary Sasakamoose, and Ida Swan shared their thoughts about indigenous research methodology and its importance from their own experiences and research.  The panel discussion highlighted the importance of ceremony as part of the research,  of language, of engaging with the heart, of mother, of story, and of song and drum.

Standing room only at the 2nd Annual Indigenous Research Event
Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Programs, Dr. Twyla Salm
Elder Alma Poitras
Dr. Kathleen O’Reilly moderated the panel
Dr. Angelina Weenie
PhD candidate, Mary Sasakamoose
PhD candidate, Ida Swan
Dr. Anna-Leah King
Tania Gates, Research & Graduate Program Facilitator, at the book display

WestCAST 2020 | PD opportunity for up to 8 undergraduate students

The Faculty of Education will be sponsoring up to 8 undergrad students to present at WestCAST 2020!

What is WestCAST? An undergraduate conference for preservice and in-service teachers, grad students, and teacher educators hosted by Western Faculties of Education.

Where: University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, BC
When: February 19-21, 2020

Information session: Friday, October 4, 1:00 p.m. in Ed 341
Proposal writing and presentation development mentoring will be provided.
Proposals are due November 8, 2019

*Note you must be in year 2 or beyond to qualify

**The Faculty of Education will cover registration, accommodation, and travel to and from the conference

 

For more information, contact
Dr. Pamela Osmond-Johnson,
Associate Dean of Student Services and Undergraduate Programs
Email: Pamela.Osmond-Johnson@uregina.ca