*Naomi Fortier-Fréçon et Leia Laing
Lauréates du Prix d’histoire du Gouverneur général pour l’excellence en enseignement 2017
Naomi Fortier-Fréçon and Leia Laing
Recipients of the 2017 Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching
Projet multi-écoles, Regina (Saskatchewan)
Le Treaty4Project a principalement pour but d’aider les élèves à comprendre les liens qui relient leur génération au Traité 4 en Saskatchewan, aujourd’hui et dans les années à venir. Grâce à la participation d’aînés, d’artistes autochtones, de professeurs d’université, d’activistes et d’étudiants en éducation, le projet donne aux élèves l’occasion d’échanger avec des membres de la communauté et d’acquérir les connaissances fondamentales dont ils ont besoin pour s’attaquer à des dossiers très complexes. Le projet a été mis sur pied en 2015 avec le soutien du Saskatchewan Arts Board et comporte maintenant deux composantes. La première est une conférence pour les élèves du secondaire à l’Université des Premières Nations du Canada où l’on propose aux participants des ateliers, des discussions de groupe et des réflexions sur l’histoire du traité et l’éducation. En 2016 s’est ajoutée une nouvelle composante faisant appel aux élèves du niveau élémentaire; ces derniers ont alors collaboré avec un artiste local à un projet visant à explorer le concept de réconciliation. Mme Fortier-Fréçon et Mme Laing sont des enseignantes d’histoire du Canada enthousiastes et dévouées et le Treaty4Project est un bon exemple de la façon dont les enseignants peuvent intégrer des gestes de réconciliation concrets dans leur salle de classe.
Multi-school project, Regina (Saskatchewan)
The principal aim of the Treaty4Project is for students to understand their generation’s relationship with Treaty 4 in Saskatchewan, both today and in the future. Through the participation of elders, Indigenous artists, university professors, activists, and education students, the project provides students with a chance to engage with community members and gain the fundamental knowledge they need to tackle very complex issues. The project was first implemented in 2015 with the support of the Saskatchewan Arts Board and now has two main components. The first is a youth conference for high school students at the First Nations University of Canada, which features workshops, group discussions, and reflections on treaty history and education. As a new component in 2016, elementary students collaborate with a local artist on a project that explores the concept of reconciliation. Ms. Fortier-Fréçon and Ms. Laing are enthusiastic and dedicated to teaching Canadian history and the Treaty4Project serves as an example of how educators can incorporate meaningful acts of reconciliation in their classroom.
Naomi Fortier-Fréçon is a graduate of the Bac program and currently a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education (Supervisor: Fadila Boutouchent). Leia Laing is a graduate of the Bac program. Both are French immersion teachers at Campbell Collegiate in Regina, Saskatchewan.
Naomi and Leia will be presented with the Governor General’s History Award at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, ON, on November 22, 2017.
“Dr. Pamela Osmond-Johnson’s research is redefining the role of teachers as innovation leaders.”
“Dr. Osmond-Johnson’s research reveals the benefits of teachers assuming leadership roles in designing their own PD and influencing school improvement, and it has the potential to redefine the teaching profession while heightening the quality of instructional practices and learning.”
TORONTO – November 9, 2017 – The EdCan Network is pleased to honour Dr. Pamela Osmond-Johnson – Assistant Professor of Educational Administration at the University of Regina – as the recipient of the 2017 Pat Clifford Award for Early Career Research in Education. This prestigious award recognizes her extensive research around teacher professional development (PD) across Canada, which has the potential to reform policies in support of equitable, job-embedded and teacher-driven professional learning.
During Dr. Osmond-Johnson’s 10 years of teaching in Newfoundland and Labrador, it became apparent the limited time, resources, and support that teachers were granted to guide their own professional learning based on their unique classroom needs. This experience fueled her motivation to elevate teacher voice within school systems. Dr. Osmond-Johnson has since collaborated on numerous high-profile research projects and hopes to eventually establish a national platform that will provide key data on teacher professional learning opportunities across the country.
As co-investigator of “The State of Professional Learning in Canada,” Dr. Osmond-Johnson is working with a team of researchers to study teacher PD across Canada. The group has undertaken case studies in British Columbia, Ontario, and Alberta and explores teachers’ experiences and level of autonomy in directing their own learning. The study further highlights the significant role that teachers’ unions can play in providing high-quality PD – indeed a tool for school improvement – which challenges the body of research that characterizes these unions as barriers to educational change. She is also spearheading a research project in Saskatchewan that explores the Facilitator Community, an initiative where classroom teachers develop and deliver PD for their fellow educators. Internationally, Dr. Osmond-Johnson has contributed to a comparative study of teacher PD policies and practices in Canada, Finland, China, Singapore and Australia.
“Teachers learn best when they collaborate with their peers,” explains Dr. Osmond-Johnson. “To do this, teachers need professional learning integrated into their daily classroom practice where they self-assess their practice to improve their own teaching and learning. This is especially true for teachers living in remote locations and who are in short-term contracts, as well as early career and francophone teachers, who are less likely to have these opportunities.”
The Pat Clifford Award Selection Committee was impressed with the relevancy and originality of Dr. Osmond-Johnson’s work, including her determined efforts to scale her research to a pan-Canadian and international level.
“Dr. Osmond-Johnson maintains teacher professionalism as a central tenet of student success, and her research revealing the gaps that exist in access to high-quality professional learning underpins a significant avenue for improving quality of teaching and learning,” says Dr. Michele Jacobsen, Professor and Associate Dean at the University of Calgary’s Werklund School of Education, and Chair of the Pat Clifford Award Selection Committee.
The Pat Clifford Award recognizes the work of emerging researchers – their research contributions, their promise, and their commitment to breaking new ground or revisiting commonly held assumptions in education policy, practice or theory in Canada.
*About Pat Clifford*
Pat Clifford was one of the co-founders of *The Galileo Educational Network* http://www.galileo.org/, which is based in Calgary, Alberta. Pat had an extensive teaching background from primary through graduate level, and was the recipient of numerous awards for both research and teaching practice. Pat passed away in August of 2008 but she left a gift to us in her teaching, scholarly writing, poetry and stories. As a teacher, Pat was steadfast in her belief that each child had the right to succeed brilliantly, and brought to them her own love of literature, writing and history. This award is dedicated to her memory.
*About the EdCan Network*
The EdCan Network is the independent national organization with over 75,000 members working tirelessly to ensure that *all *students discover their place, purpose and path.
Congratulations to Sylvia Smith, Founder of Project of Heart, who received the President’s Distinguished Graduate Student Award at the fall 2017 convocation. This award recognizes outstanding academic performance and is granted to a student whose graduating thesis, exhibition, or performance and the corresponding defense was deemed meritorious by the examining committee.
“GREAT! In some ways, I can’t believe it’s actually finished. I’ve never really thought of myself as an academic and certainly, with ‘life’ intruding the way it tends to, I never thought I would finish the darned thing. I’m just so lucky to have had a wonderfully supportive spouse and thesis committee (Dr. Carol Schick actually came out of retirement to help out) because they certainly didn’t have to do what they did.”
What excites you about your thesis?
“What excites me so very much is that my findings have already been referenced to support work being done around reconciliation and the necessity of teaching *for* justice and more practically, *doing* it. ”
Sylvia’s master’s thesis is called: Teachers’ Perceptions of Project of Heart, An Indian Residential School Education Project
The purpose of this study was to gain insight into how settler teachers took up an arts and activist-based Indian Residential School Commemoration Project called Project of Heart. More specifically, it sought to assess whether or not the research participants were led to transformation, demonstrated through disrupting “common sense” (racist) behaviours of teachers and students as well as through their engagement in social justice work that Project of Heart espouses.
Since 2007, Ontario school boards have been required by Ministry policy to teach the “Aboriginal Perspective” in their high school courses, yet at the time of the study (2010), there were still very few resources available for educators to do so. There were even fewer resources available to teach about the Indian Residential School era. Project of Heart was created by an Ontario teacher and her students in 2007 in order to address this egregious situation.
The study was guided by grounded theory methods and the findings suggest that while Project of Heart did not achieve “transformation” in its participants as assessed through teachers’ lack of completion of the social justice requirement, teachers indicated that both students and teachers benefitted greatly because of the relevance of the learning.
Defended: April 2017
Supervisor: Dr. Marc Spooner
External Examiner: Dr. Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and professor for the School of Social Work at McGill University
Thesis committee members: Dr. Ken Montgomery, University of Windsor, Dean, Faculty of Education and Dr. Carol Shick, former Canada Research Chair in Social Justice and Aboriginal Education
Guy Vanderhaeghe BEd’78 Lifetime Achievement Award
Vanderhaeghe is best known for his trilogy of award-winning literary westerns. His honours include three Governor General Awards for Literature, a Faber Prize in Britain, the Lieutenant-Governor’s Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts, and the Order of Canada. Book lovers around the world know him as an exceptional storyteller, but for many in the University of Regina alumni community he is also an admired educator, cherished friend, and someone who is as humble as he is talented. Read more
Dr. Margaret Dagenais BSc’71, CVTED’87, BVTED’91, MEd’97, PhD’11 Dr. Robert and Norma Ferguson Award for Outstanding Service to the University of Regina and the Alumni Association
Dagenais has served the University of Regina Alumni Association as a board member, committee member, on the executive and as a representative to the University of Regina Senate. She has also shared her considerable expertise through her work on the CIDA funded University of Malawi Polytechnic Technical, Entrepreneurial, Vocational Education Training Reform project. Read more:
fYrefly in Schools has been awarded a Youth Leadership Award from Prairieaction Foundation (PAF). This is the first year that PAF invited applications for Youth Leadership Awards, which recognize youth and youth initiatives that address safety by promoting healthy relationships and anti-violence initiatives.
The award and a cheque for $3,000 was presented by the Lieutenant-Governor the Honourable Vaughn Solomon Schofield at Government House on May l5, 2017. Christian Andrew, a trans fYrefly summer student (and a secondary English pre-intern in the Faculty of Education), accepted the award and spoke briefly about the work fYrefly is doing to give voice to marginalized youth. Director of fYrefly in Schools Dr. James McNinch reports that during a conversation, the Lieutenant Governor said “she was aware of the good work we were doing and would like to know of any events that she might attend.”
fYrefly in Schools will be using the award money to fund two Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) mini-conferences in Saskatoon and Regina. McNinch says, “GSA members and student leaders will gather to learn about gender and sexual equity and strategies to make their schools more welcoming and inclusive to gender and sexually diverse students.” (One was held in Saskatoon last weekend). A Regina GSA mini-conference will be held on May 27, 2017.
Prairieaction Foundation has an interesting history dating back to the 1989 mass murder of women at a polytechnique in Montreal. The prairie-based non-profit is dedicated to reducing violence and abuse in our society.
Along with the recognition this award conveys, Jenn will also receive a year’s membership in CAEP and an honorarium. She will receive the award on Tuesday, May 30 at the CAEP Annual General Meeting, and has been invited to share her work at the annual Wine and Cheese on May 29, 2017.
Artist and second-year Arts Education student, Molly Johnson, was commissioned to produce the commemorative piece that will be installed in the Faculty of Education to celebrate the Arts Education program’s 34 successful years in the Faculty of Education and the Fall 2016 introduction of the new Arts Ed program.
Visual Education Chair, Dr. Valerie Triggs says, “The Faculty of Education decided to invite proposals for a work of commemorative art to celebrate the years that the Arts Education program has been in the Faculty and also the transition to the new program. We received many excellent proposals. The selection committee decided to award the commission for this commemorative work of art to Molly Johnson.”
The Faculty also approached the MAP (Media, Arts, and Performance) Faculty, requesting an artist-mentor to work alongside Molly. Dr. Triggs says, “We had the privilege of connecting with a graduate student from MAP, Jennifer Shelly Keturakis.”
On her role as mentor, Jennifer says it was an honour to work with Molly; she is “self-directed, motivated, intelligent and articulate…I had one set of expectations of what my input would be because I made some assumptions based on her being a second year [student], based on my own experience as a second year, but I quickly had to pick a different role.”
Molly’s artwork was exhibited and celebrated on March 7, 2017 at the Student Success Celebration.
To hear Molly’s explanation of her work, view the following video:
Congratulations to Dr. Christine Massing, who has been awarded the Phi Delta Kappa Doctoral (PDK) Dissertation Award for 2016. This is a $1000 award scholarship from the University of Alberta. Christine will present her research on April 19, 2017 at the PDK final meeting of the year.
Congratulations to Dr. Alec Couros, an international leader in educational technology, digital literacy, and social media, who was honored on November 3 by MindShare Learning with the EdTech Leader of the Year (Post Secondary) award. The announcement was made at the 7th Canadian EdTech Leadership Summit in Toronto. MindShare Learning aims to transform learning in the 21st century through innovative educational practices in and beyond Canada.
Read about MindShare Learning.
Assistant Professor in Early Childhood Education, Dr. Christine Massing, was recognized by the Canadian Association of Teacher Education(CATE) with the CATE Award for her doctoral dissertation, An Ethnographic Study of Immigrant and Refugee Women’sKnowledge Construction in an Early Childhood Teacher Education Program at the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE) Congress held in Calgary in May, 2016.
This honor acknowledges Christine’s excellent work and important contribution to Canadian teacher education research.
The following is an interview with Christine about her research, which explored how immigrant and refugee women construct understandings of the authoritative or dominant discourse of early childhood in relation to their own beliefs, values, knowledges, and experiences:
What circumstances/situation led you to research the topic of your dissertation?
At the time I was contemplating doctoral studies, I was teaching in an early childhood program specifically designed for immigrants and refugees. At the end of my first year, one of my students, a refugee from Somalia who had raised 10 university-educated children, expressed to me that she now realized that her approach to mediating her children’s disputes had been “wrong.” Through conversations with my students over the next year, I came to understand that some of the theories and practices they were learning in the program were dissonant with their own understandings. Because I have also lived and taught in diverse contexts—Japan, Egypt, Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, and in two First Nations communities here in Canada—their comments resonated with me to some extent (although as a temporary visitor I did not experience such discontinuities between worldviews as acutely as my students did). I felt concerned that many of these women—all of whom had extensive experience as mothers, teachers, or caregivers in their home countries—might believe that they needed to abandon all that they knew about teaching and caring for young children to be accepted in Canadian school and preschool settings. Despite their candor, I sensed that they were reticent to be too critical of the program and, by extension, me as an instructor so I felt I might elicit more details as a researcher.
How has your research impacted your personal and/or professional life?
On a personal level, I have appreciated the friendships I have developed with many of my research participants and I have learned so much from them. Professionally, this research has assisted me in identifying some of the funds of knowledge that immigrants and refugees bring to early childhood theory and practice, which, in turn, enriches my own work with teacher candidates. I hope to mobilize these new understandings to guide teacher candidates toward being more responsive to culturally and linguistically diverse children and their families. This research has also deepened my understanding of how teacher candidates navigate unfamiliar content in their coursework and internships and inflect their practice with their own beliefs and values. If students have time and space for dialogue with the content and practices they are learning, they can populate their practice with their own intentions and meanings and make it their own.
What do you hope your research might accomplish in the field of education?
When I undertook this research, I had the impression that my immigrant and refugee students simply appropriated the dominant practices because they wanted to “fit in” and be seen as professionals. However, I was surprised to find that in some situations the participants rebelled against the authoritative practices, instead enacting their own beliefs and practices when their supervisors were not looking. Therefore, they risked failing their placements because they strongly believed that some of the dominant practices were not in the best interests of the children. It is my hope that early childhood sites and teacher education programs will begin to acknowledge the validity of what Bakhtin refers to as “multiple, polyphonic voices” so culturally and linguistically diverse teacher candidates can imbue their practice with their own knowledges and beliefs. I believe that such practices will provide richer and more meaningful experiences for immigrant and refugee children and their families who will be supported in their diverse ways of being and becoming.
Was it difficult to achieve your research goals? How did you overcome obstacles (if any), whether personal or professional?
The primary concern I had in doing this research was gaining the trust of participants because I was researching in a program for immigrant and refugee early childhood students and was very obviously an outsider. Although the participants knew that I was a doctoral student and early childhood instructor, for three semesters, I sat in classes alongside them and participated in all of the course experiences as a student in the program. Many of my participants were Muslim so the fact that I had lived and worked in Egypt was particularly helpful in building trust. They did come to accept me as “one of them” so much so that they invited me to participate in their activities and transgressions (such as skipping class!).
The following excerpt from Christine’s dissertation illustrates the tensions faced by immigrant/refugee early childhood students, something she considers to be at the heart of her research:
Ameena’s explanation actualizes this tension between personal or cultural ways of being with children and the authoritative discourse of professionalism: “Professional means you do how they teach you [in the ECTE program] even if they (supervisor or instructors) don’t see you…. Joanne [an educator], she’s more professional in how she talks to the kids, how the kids love her. Everything she does in a real way, the right way, and a real way” (Interview, February 28, 2013). Joanne is perceived as holding the “right” professional knowledge, but she is also “real,” acting intuitively and applying what she personally knows about children. Consistent with Wenger’s (2000) work, the professional educator must be able to mobilize her personal understandings and refine the expected competencies. Since the practical knowledges of immigrant and refugee students or educators are excluded from the authoritative discourse, it is difficult for them to legitimately apply their own understandings in this manner. Essentially, these women are positioned as needing to change themselves otherwise their learning trajectory will never lead to full, legitimate participation in the early childhood community of practice (Wenger, 1998).
Abstract: In my former role as an early childhood education instructor working with immigrant and refugee women, I came to understand that they might experience a dissonance between the authoritative discourse (Bahktin, 1981) of early childhood, inscribed with western theories and values, taught in the program and their own intuitive, tacit, and practical knowledges. The purpose of this study, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Killam Trusts, was to explore how twenty immigrant/refugee women constructed understandings of this authoritative discourse as they negotiated their professional identities during their coursework and field placements in an early childhood teacher education program. Using an ethnographic methodology, I was immersed in the participants’ coursework and practicum experiences for two to three days a week over three semesters of study, collecting qualitative data through field notes, spatial mapping, interviews, focus groups, and artifacts/documents. One of the most significant findings of this research pertained to the participants’ own responses when confronted by discontinuities between the professional expectations in the field and their own knowledges, practices, beliefs, and values. Consistent with the limited scholarship in this field, the participants did sometimes feel compelled to suppress their own beliefs and enact what they had learned in the program in order to be seen as professionals. However, this research elucidated two additional responses. First, the participants sometimes resisted or rejected the authoritative discourse in favour of their own cultural practices. On other occasions, they authored their own hybridized professional identities derived both from the professional expectations in the community of practice as well as from their own cultural and religious beliefs and values about how to teach and care for young children. This research contributes to our understanding of the knowledges and experiences immigrant and refugee women bring to the field which can be mobilized to support the meaningful inclusion of immigrant/refugee children and their families in schools or early childhood settings.
Supervisor: Dr. Anna Kirova, professor of early childhood education at the University of Alberta,
Committee members: Dr. Heather Blair and Dr. Lynne Wiltse.
Date defended: October 26