Category: Student Success Stories

One student’s journey toward reconciliation

“I know in the long run it isn’t much at all, but in my way, in my journey to reconciliation, I can do this one thing.”

Aysha Yaqoob is no stranger to feelings of discomfort and dislocation. Born in Saudi Arabia and immigrating to Canada at the age of 2 with her parents, who were originally from Pakistan, Yaqoob’s early years were spent moving from place to place in the Greater Toronto Area. Then, in 2008, her family moved to Saskatoon, where Aysha attended school from Grade 7 to 12.

Attending 15 different schools during her K-12 years gave Aysha keen insight into feelings of marginality, which were amplified by being a visibly Muslim student. The lack of representation she saw in professional roles combined with her feelings of marginality sparked a desire in Aysha to work with marginal and at-risk youth, and influenced her decision to become an English teacher.

“In high school I had a great group of English teachers, and they hung out in a nice pack. It was there where I saw how dedicated they were and how fun teaching could be, and I observed their interest in teaching us not only about Shakespeare and poetry, but also about real world problems. However, there were no teachers that looked like me; all the teachers were White, and I wondered, ‘If I feel this, other students must feel this as well.’”

Dr. Mike Cappello and Aysha Yaqoob, Spring Convocation 2018

University gave Aysha a sense of control over her learning: “I had full autonomy of where I wanted to push my learning. I remember sitting in Mike Cappello’s ECS class, and seeing a White male talking so strongly about White privilege and what it means to oppress students of colour, and me being one of the very few students in our program who were of colour, and Muslim, visibly Muslim; it felt weird to see someone saying the words I could relate to.” Aysha wanted to learn more about representation: “After that, in every single class I took, I wanted to explore more into representation, and representing marginal and Indigenous students. All my profs were so willing to let me do assignments, I never had a prof who said you have to stick with my assignment. It was so great, I got to push my education and learning in areas that I was interested in. I was really able to shape my journey the way I wanted.”

These experiences changed how Aysha viewed education. She says, “It made me see that there are teachers who are trying to change the system right now, and trying to make students of colour feel represented and welcome. It was so nice.”

Dr. Jenn de Lugt and Aysha Yaqoob, Convocation Spring 2018

Up to that point, Aysha says she had been quiet and shy, but feeling supported at University helped her find and use her voice. “I remember that during the time when the Muslim ban was going on, I got up in front of my peers and let them know how I felt, how cornered and unsupported I felt. I invited them to a vigil at Victoria Park…Even talking about this gives me goose bumps. Just seeing all of the support I had from my peers and colleagues and professors made me want to speak up about these issues all the more. Since then I’ve been a non-stop machine; I don’t have an off button,” she says.

In 2017, as part of the Education Students’ Society executive, Aysha organized a Professional Development event called Meet-a-Muslim. She says, “I wanted to dispel misinformation about Muslims, so I invited everyone to come out and hear what it was like growing up Muslim, and about how the travel ban was affecting us. I wanted it to be an open safe space to ask questions and dialogue.” For people who are often misportrayed, Aysha explains “My go-to is to just ask questions. I’d rather you ask a billion questions than just assume.” In her quest for how to go about designing the event, Drs. Jennifer Tupper and Mike Cappello advised her to have an open dialogue with a panel. In hindsight, Aysha is glad about the panel format: “It was great that it was that way because a lot of topics came up that I wouldn’t have touched on because for me they were everyday things, even questions about why I wear the hijab and why my sister doesn’t, basic questions about Islam, and my view point on conflicts around the world. I’m not a token representative of all Muslims, so the panel gave a variety of viewpoints,” she says. The event was well-attended, one of the busiest ESS events that year, with 50-60 people attending. CBC covered the event and it was also live-streamed on Facebook.

Aysha at Convocation in Spring 2018. Photo credit: Shuana Niessen

“My parents look at me now, and they are surprised too, saying ‘You were never like this; you were so quiet and felt uncomfortable with public speaking.’ Now every chance I get, I’m out there.” Aysha credits her transformation as growing out of her experience of feeling supported by her peers and professors: It was “having that moment where I felt enough support to be vulnerable and express how I felt, and sharing that ‘your silence is hurting me,’ and getting their response in return,” she says.

Still quiet in some ways, Aysha likes to achieve extraordinary things while maintaining a low profile. Though she only walked the Faculty of Education’s halls for four years, Aysha managed to earn both a B.Ed. (English Language Arts and Social Studies) and a B. A. in English. Students typically take five years to finish a combined degree program, but Aysha, taking between six and eight classes per term, finished in four years. Aysha laughs, saying, “Nicole Glas, [Student Services Coordinator] asked her ‘Are you sure?’ I said ‘absolutely,’ but I got to the point where I wasn’t sure…I even had a course during internship!”

Pencils of Hope
As if squeezing a 5-year program into four years wasn’t enough, along with serving in the Education Students’ Society for two years (one as VP of Communications), and organizing Meet-a-Muslim night, Aysha maintained her own photography business, and founded a charitable organization called Pencils of Hope.

It was during her second term of University that a plan to support marginalized youth formed in her mind: “The principal from Chief Kahkewistahaw Community School, came in to our class to talk about schooling and education and how it is important for U of R grads to go out on reserves and experience teaching there. I chatted with him later about funding, and learned that federal funding on reserves, and schools on reserves, is significantly less than funding for schools off reserves. I had thought all schools were the same! I remember going home to my parents and talking about it: ‘I want to do something; already there’s such a drastic change between conditions on and off reserves. And all the discrimination that goes on…it doesn’t seem right that in education, especially,—we say Canada has such great education and equal access to education but it doesn’t seem like it.’ So, my parents asked me what I wanted to do. I said ‘I don’t know, but I want to do something.’ Over breakfast, we talked about names, and I thought ‘Pencils of Hope’ was a good name and my dad said, ‘What do you want to do with that?’ I talked to the principal again, and I said, ‘Why don’t I try this? I’m a photographer by hobby. I’ll donate everything I make through photography to this cause. If I can get enough funds, will you accept my gift of supplies to this school?’ I tried it out my first year and it worked out really well.”

Since then the organization has “snowballed,” says Aysha. Sponsors started making small donations. A committee was formed. For the first three years, Pencils of Hope partnered with one school each year. But this year, the committee decided to partner with four schools. “Four schools was a huge difference. We received a grant from Taking it Global, which offered a rising youth grant.”

Donations and, therefore, spending has increased substantially over the four years of existence. The first year the group spent $750 on supplies and this year they spent over $4000, with carry over for next year. Pencils of Hope has made some changes to their vision as well: “This year we’ve changed our vision to match the Calls to Action. So from here on out we made a vow to partner with at least one school on a reserve.” The group is also making supplies available to individual students who may not be in a school that is in partnership with Pencils of Hope.

For Aysha, this work has been part of her journey toward reconciliation. “I know in the long run it isn’t much at all, but in my way, in my journey to reconciliation, I can do this one thing.”

Doing this project in a good way, a humble way, has been one of Aysha’s goals: “When we talk about Pencils of Hope, I don’t like to be called the founder. It is still a journey, still a process; I’m still learning, of course. Meeting with different elders and profs and being able to exchange knowledge, learn indigenous ways of knowing and culture, and how to go about this in a more humble way, it’s been very uncomfortable, but it’s been a great kind of uncomfortable…It’s not learning if it’s not uncomfortable.”

Aysha has learned many things along her journey, but one thing stands out in her mind, “It’s hard doing it alone, not fun to do it alone.” She advises others who would like to do something similar to, “Get many people involved and see what they will do.”

Now a first-year teacher at Balfour Collegiate, Aysha plans to carry on with the work of Pencils of Hope, with the support of her committee, family and community. “I anticipate it is going to be busy, but to me that is a good thing, to me that means more schools and more partnerships, and more relationships—expanding.”
By Shuana Niessen

Student awarded 2017 TriSask Coach of the Year

Sean Hooper, 2017 Saskatchewan Triathlon Coach of the Year Award. Photo credit Shuana Niessen

Sean Hooper, a 3rd-year Elementary Education student, was recipient of the 2017 Saskatchewan Triathlon Coach of the Year Award.

Sean Hooper, born and raised in Regina, has been coaching for six years with Regina Multisport Club’s Fundamentals, a program that he and his father started in 2012. “We noticed that a lot of kids, as young as 3 or 4, had never done anything like [triathlon races] and they were turned off by the experience, or really anxious and crying,” Sean explains, “We wanted FUNdamentals to be something that would prepare kids for an event like the Icebreaker, now called the Brent Gibson Memorial Icebreaker.” And, they wanted kids to have fun at the same time.

Sean and his father also hoped to change the way sport programs for children are offered: “At this age, the whole concept of the program that we would like to support is the long-term athlete development model.” Sean believes this model is why Canada has such a strong athletic community despite our population size. “We do so many sports as kids, and we have that physical literacy that we can apply to whatever we are passionate about later on.”

Triathlon itself incorporates cycling, swimming, and running. But Sean encourages the athletes to try other sports. “We only have practices twice a week. We are trying to move kids and parents to do multisports, such as hockey, basketball, and soccer….We have parents say, ‘my kid is really good at running,’ and they think that their child should focus on running. I say, ‘let them test the water; let them make the decision.’ That is where athletes come from; they have internal motivation,” Sean says.

Coaching is what led Sean into the field of education, though he didn’t start there. “I’ve been going to University for a while. I started in the Arts, went to Kinesiology, then I took some science. After third year, I sat down to figure out what I wanted to do. What is the career I want to go to every day? Education was what I decided on. I was in Kinesiology initially because I really enjoy coaching and fitness, but I thought more about the rudimentary aspect of coaching. It was about being able to see people grow based on my teachings, and about the relationship…that was really important to me and motivated me in my coaching,” says Sean.

Sean finds coaching influences his teaching philosophy. As with sports and needing to have a good experience, Sean says, “people learn best when the subject matter is associated with emotion. The lessons I remember best from school are when I did an activity or had some kind of experience from it.” For his 3-week pre-internship experience, Sean says, for “each of my lessons, I’ve tried to add an activity or something interesting so that students can take the information and apply it or gain some kind of experience from it.” Like sport literacy developed through multiple experiences, Sean views learning styles as something you develop in children: “The brain is malleable, and it is my job as a teacher to open avenues to different methods of thinking. I don’t think kids should be taught in one way, because they have potential to learn in many ways. Making those variations is what’s important instead of putting kids on a track where they are comfortable.”

As a competitive triathlete since the age of 13, Sean draws on former experiences with coaches to inform both his coaching and teaching practices. “Good coaches are humble and work in tandem with their athletes: they’re not too controlling and they communicate. I think an educator has to be the same. If you are too controlling in your classroom, then you are going to have students who resent you, or feel pressured, almost like they’re not the ones who want to do the learning. A good coach inspires the athlete to want to do better, and that comes from building relationships. When you establish a relationship, students are more likely to want to learn what you need to teach them.”

As with any relationship, respect is important. Sean says, “Respect is an abstract term; even saying it is kind of weird. It’s all about the subtleties in your actions, how you talk to people and how you respond to them and their questions and the way they perform.”

One of Sean’s favourite sayings comes from one of his former coaches, Steve Davis, “Do no harm.” As an athlete, Sean knows that you can be hard enough on yourself, and it is not necessary for a coach to get upset because you are doing that anyways.

Another life lesson Sean has drawn from his experience as an athlete is something another coach taught him, “Don’t focus on your pain; focus on your technique. Focus on something that is going to make you faster instead of the pain. When applied to life this means, if you are going through hard times, why focus on the negative things? That will just slow you down. Do something that helps you overcome the pain. That’s what I try to tell kids. Pain is going to happen. Never stop running. Never give up.”

In the past six years, Sean has coached more than 300 athletes. One of the athletes from his program made this comment, “Sean is a great coach. He makes our training fun by adding games and challenging us to go faster. He keeps us focused. I am much stronger and faster now and that is awesome.”(Quote from Regina Multisport Instagram account.) Sean received his award in March, 2018

Injury does not stop baton twirling champion named a Finalist for the 2017 Sask Sport Athlete of the Year

IN JUNE 2017, WHEN JASMINE RUNGE, A BATON TWIRLING ATHLETE, WAS INJURED BY HER BATON CAUSING PERMANENT BLINDNESS IN HER LEFT EYE, SHE THOUGHT SHE WAS SEEING THE YEARS OF PRACTICE AND TRAINING GOING TO WASTE.

“I was definitely heartbroken; it happened at a competition and I didn’t know what to do. Usually, when I get hurt, people ask ‘Are you okay?’ and I say, ‘Yeah, I’m okay. It’s fine,’ but this was the first time I replied, ‘I’m not okay!’ So I knew it was serious in that moment and it was heartbreaking to
know that I might not come back from this. Lots of people thought I was done for the year, even my coach. It was hard because I had put my whole life into baton … It always came first because that is what I loved and what I excelled at,” Jasmine says.

After Jasmine received the news from her optometrist that she would be able to twirl again, but that it would be hard, Jasmine thought, “I’m a role model in this sport, and if I quit now, with the two biggest competitions of the year coming up—all the work from the age of 7 was building up to these competitions, and to not complete it—I knew I had to push for it, and do what I wanted to do and achieve the goals I had set for this year.”

Jasmine did compete at the International Championships despite the injury, and she brought home a Gold Medal in 3-Baton. “I got a lot of attention because I had to compete with an eye patch. My sport is all about vision! I don’t have depth perception, so it is a harder struggle now,” she explains.

The following are the list of titles Jasmine received in 2017, after her injury:

  • 2017 Canadian Baton Twirling Federation (CBTF) Athlete of the Year – Overall
  • 2017 Athlete of the Year – Senior Female
  • 2017 Grand National Duet Champions
  • 2017 Grand National Solo, 2-Baton, and 3-Baton Champion
  • 2017 Sharon Holliday Memorial Award for Sportsmanship
  • 2017Finalist in the Youth-Female Athlete of the Year for the Saskatchewan Sport Awards, an annual awards program of Sask Sport designed to celebrate and promote the outstanding achievements of Saskatchewan amateur athletes,coaches, officials and volunteers.

“Lots of people were surprised with how well I did. My coach said it is muscle memory. All the practicing I had done from September to December and everything I have learned up to this point had benefited me.”

A defining moment, when Jasmine really knew that this was her sport, was when she was performing at Grand Nationals, where there is a winner at every level, and where you compete against each other until one winner becomes the Grand National Champion. “I was Grand National Champion of solo, 2 baton, 3 baton and duet with my partner Julee Stewart. I thought, ‘This is me, I just came off that big injury and was still able to push through and win these awards. This is meant for me.’”

But topping it all off for Jasmine, was winning the Sharon Holliday Memorial Sportsmanship award, because the sportsmanship award meant that Jasmine
had competed and won the awards she had wanted to win since she was young, all the while showing respect and fairness to her competitors.

When asked how it feels to be a Finalist in the Youth-Female Sask Sport Athlete of the Year Awards, Jasmine replied, “It’s a big achievement in baton. It’s
been quite a while since we’ve been in these nominations. Sask Sport takes athletes from all the different sports in Saskatchewan. It’s pretty big for our
sport to be recognized over other ones, considering we aren’t well-known.”

One thing Jasmine wishes people understood about her sport is “the difficulty of it. It is actually a sport. Some people think because it is not in the
Olympics, it doesn’t count as a sport. I’ve been to six World Championships: those are our Olympics.”

It’s hard to think otherwise when considering the amount of time Jasmine spends training: “I practice two hours Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
mornings and after university Tuesday and Thursday, all day Saturday with my team, Sundown Optimist Buffalo Gals (Martin School of Dance and Baton Twirling) and all day Sunday on my own.” Jasmine squeezes in University homework time around class time and practice time. “Baton has really helped me with time management and organization,” she explains.

With regards to teaching, Jasmine feels baton has taught her about managing active children. Her studies have helped her understand her own experience in school: “I didn’t know there were different styles of learning, like active learners. I always got in trouble at school for being fidgety. It wasn’t until my University courses that I learned that I’m an active learner. For me to remember stuff, I need to be moving and doing things. I couldn’t ever remember my school work, but could always remember my baton routines and tricks. …I struggled a lot in elementary and high school.” Now Jasmine also realizes she needed more encouragement and so she says, “I want to be a teacher, so I can help the kids who are struggling in the same way I was.”

As for future baton plans, Jasmine intends to keep competing and hopes to make it to Worlds again, “which is an outstanding feeling,” she says. Jasmine plans to retire in her 10th year, which will coincide with her final year of her Education degree, so she thinks that will be a good time to retire from competitions. After retiring, she would like to coach baton: “I want to give back all that it has given to me. I want to encourage and help girls and boys to achieve their goals.”

Bac alumni recipients of the Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching

*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.

Reposted from http://www.canadashistory.ca/Awards/Governor-General-s-History-Awards/Award-Recipients/2017/Naomi-Fortier-Frecon-and-Leia-Laing

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.

*About Treaty4Project http://treaty4thenextgeneration.blogspot.ca/

 

 

Grad student elected new president of Basketball Saskatchewan

Photo: Kelsey, Jeremy Sundeen and Dr. Kathleen Nolan

Grad student Jeremy Sundeen of Regina has been elected  as new President of Basketball Saskatchewan. Sundeen who is originally from Fort Qu’Appelle, was part of two Fort Qu’Appelle Gold medal winning high school basketball teams in 2002 and 2004.  Sundeen has been a teacher, official and coach in Meadow Lake and in Regina, and presently coaches at Sheldon-Williams Collegiate. Sundeen has been on the BSI board for 6 years and served as the VP of Athletes.  He brings a positive combination of rural and urban experiences as well as experience as an athlete, coach and official. More recently Jeremy Sundeen was a part of a host committee which hosted the 2016 women’s national championships at the University of Regina in July, 2016. Basketball Saskatchewan will also be hosting the 2017 U15 Nationals this upcoming July at the University of Regina featuring the best basketball players in Canada in their respective age categories.

Sundeen replaces, Mark Benesh who is stepping down as President of Basketball Saskatchewan after 8 years in that role and 14 years of being a board member.  Benesh, who led Leboldus Golden Suns to its first provincial High School Basketball championship in 1980, went on to play 5 years with the University of Regina Cougars where he was a two-time GPAC all-star and Cougar MVP in 1985.  Benesh has coached a variety of sports over the last 25 years in the southwest, is a school Superintendent with Chinook and is presently coach of the Great Plains Men’s Basketball team.  Benesh is extremely proud of the growth of basketball in the province at the grass roots level and at the elite level as Saskatchewan won its first ever gold medal at the 2015 National Basketball Championships.  He is also proud of the work of the BSI office, its provincial coaches, and the various coaches around the province who every day build of a love of the game with kids.  Benesh’s involvement in sports will be continuing as he has accepted the position of chairperson for the upcoming Western Canada Games being held in Swift Current in 2019.

Bryan Akre of Outlook (17 years) and Brent Hebert of Regina (7 years) have also stepped off the board.  Basketball Saskatchewan would like to thank Bryan, Brent and Mark for their contributions in the development of basketball in the province.  Along with Jeremy Sundeen, the board consists of Penny Anderson (Melfort), Andrew Herrick (Swift Current), James Hillis (Regina), Rick Johnson (Saskatoon), Trevor Ostig (Middle Lake), Mike Rathwell (North Battleford), Scott Sather (Regina), Gabby Schuback (Regina), Kevin Shalley (Regina), Harold Shutiak (Saskatoon), Jessie Smoliak (Estevan), and Rick Wingate (Saskatoon).

Posted by Basketball Saskatchewan February 7, 2017

Student Success Celebrated

2017 Student Success Celebration

Student Success Celebration Photos (to view slide cursor over the photo and click on the arrow)

The Faculty of Education, along with partners SUNTEP Regina and YNTEP (via Skype), gathered to celebrate student success on March 7, 2017. The organizing committee from the Student Program Centre, Dr. Val Mulholland and Wanneta Martin, invited faculty from SUNTEP, YNTEP, and the Faculty of Education program chairs and student societies to forward names of students who have made contributions to learning and to leadership in the Faculty of Education through scholarship, activism, and engagement in coursework.

Dean Jennifer Tupper brought greetings, reminding students that their successes reflect the motto of our faculty: Inspiring and Transforming Education.

SUNTEP Regina’s new Michif 100 course was celebrated at the event. Coordinator Janice Thompson spoke to the uniqueness of the SUNTEP Regina program, being the first post-secondary institution to offer such a course.

The new Arts Education program exhibited a commemorative piece by artist and second-year student Molly Johnson.

Students listed below were recognized by faculty members or student societies for having made a significant contribution to teaching, learning and/or leadership in their classes, field placements, or in the community.:

Michela Adlem
Karie Aikman
Regina Akok
Leanne Allen-Bader
Bailey Antonishyn
Amy Arnal
Nicole Aulie
Molly Basnicki
Kimberley Bateman
Jessica Bec
Haylie Bedore
Raquel Bellefleur
Mari-Anne Berriault
Brandon Bezanson
Robert Blenkin
Melayne Borys
Mélissa Bouffard
Curtis Bourassa
Orisha Boychuk
Karlee Brennan
Dori-Lyn Brezinski
Abby Bristow
Taryn Buhler
Sarah Burns
Amy Campbell
Melaynie Campbell
Jolene Campbell
Stefanie Cook
Petina Cook
Kaitlin Corbin
Rose Couture
Shannon Cranch
Annamarie Cressman
Chelsea Croft
Rachel Davis
Samantha Dech
Arnaud Demaria
Diana Demaria
Jillian Dempsey
Austin Denham
Allison Doetzel
Jaicee Draper
Catherine Duffy
Josée Dumont
Robyn Dyck
Jacquelyn Easton
Courtney Einsiedler
Allison Entem
Emily Eskowich
Jordan Ethier
Jaiden Evans
Martin Farrow
Alexandra Fenson
Elise Fettes
Kara Fidelack
Kyla Fidelack
Payden Fraser
Taylor Frei
Dawn Ganshirt
Alicia Garlock
Sally Generoux
Lolery George
Nicole Gerbert
Spencer Giffin
Hillary Gladish
Chloe Golden
Erin Goodpipe
Ashley Grandfield
Todd Greenwood
Brittany Haidt
Jenna Hansen
Tara Hanson
Taylor Harder
Kylie Harder
Allyson Haukeness
Madison Hawkes
Laura Heinmiller
Kayla Henderson
Colin Hickman
Robyn Hilderbrand
Sarah Hoag
April Hoffman
Andrea Hoffman
Courtney Horsman
Victoria Howe
Kaila Huber
Rachel Hussey
Melanie Ilnisky
Benjamin Ironstand
Rachelle Ismond
Celeste Jensen
Venus Kay
Amy Kapeller
Shayla Kapila
Chelsea Driedger
Kalen Kehrig
Beth Kelln
Kourtney Kerelation
Hojeong Kim
Sarah Kirschman
Samantha Kitzul
Amy Klassen
Kristen Klatt
Landen Kleisinger
Shaelyn Knudson
Shaunee Kobialko
David Korchinski
Jasmine Korpan
Brennan Kowalski
Vanessa Kushniruk
Payton Kuster
Rachelle Lamontagne
Brittany Larson
Kendra Leier
Janelle Letkemann
Sharon Lewis
Aleesha Lichtman
Amanda Livingstone
Latasha Luchsinger
Hanna Macaulaly
Tianna Macdonald
Stephanie Maier
Marie Louise Malick
Daylia Martin
Amy Martin
Melissa McCormick
Matthew McKee
Laine McLaren
Liard McMillan
Brigid McNutt
Miranda McPhee
Christopher Merk
Jaylee Michel
Matthew Mickleborough
Renee Molesky
Amanda Moosemay
Harper Morland
Brenna Morris
Renee Muir
Craig Munroe
Kayley Murdoch
Noelle Nestman
Jenna Neufeld
Cole Nicolson
Crystal Norris
Christina Oberlin
Daniel Odendaal
Lexy Osborne
Brandi Ottenbreit
Barbara Owens
Julia Papic
Deanna Patterson
Danielle Pelletier
Leta Perepeluk
Josie Phillips
Jasmine Phillips
Katelyn Pippus
Sarah Pitman
Cassandra Poirier
Sébastien Potvin
Jessica Pouliot
Mackenzie Raedeke
Elio Ramirez
Sarah Redmond
Eve Reed
Jessica Reid
Sara Reimer
Julie Rempel
Zachary Renwick
Ellen Revet
Holly Robinson
Brooke Robson
Kaitlyn Rohrke
Sarah Ross
Jolene Ross
Jenna Rudolph
Sara Salazar
Avery Saunders
Teagan Schiltz
Rina Schmidt
Karley Schwab
Carmelle Seiferling
Kirsten Selinger
Zachary Sellers
Madisson Shearer
Nissa Shiell
Bailie Shindle
Paddra Shing
Laura Simpson
Gillian Smith
Valerie Snider
Karae Sotropa
Alexandra Specht
Jacob Stebner
Peter Steele
Melissa Stephens
Daniel St-Jacques
Paula Stoker
Shelby Stratechuk
Kelsie Sutherland
Michelle Sweeting
Christina Thiel
Debra Townend-Callaghan
Leigh Tremblay
Rhandi Turton
Jessamy Unger
Jayda Van Betuw
David Vanderberg
Leanne Varley
Bryce Voogd
Tiana Waldbauer
Trisha Wallington
Kristen Wallington
Kayla Ward
Timothy Wasyliw
Jessica Weber
Katlyn Weisberg
Raelyn Weisgerber
Corina Wesdyk
Kaitlin Wesnoski
William Whitten
Lacey Wicks
Cameron Wiest
Dana Wilbraham
Tanya Wilkins
Jillana Willford
Benjamin Woolhead

Student Artwork Commemorates Arts Education Program

Artist and second-year Arts Education student, Molly Johnson, with her commemorative work of art. Photo credit: Shuana Niessen

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:

 

Disrupted Studies: A Teacher-Researcher Success Story

Sylvia Smith

 

Typically, our Teacher-Researcher story features teachers who have completed their M.Ed. programs, having successfully defended their theses. However, one of the realities of educational journeys, especially for adult learners, is that they are often disrupted by life and circumstance. The following is an interview with Ottawa teacher and U of R grad student, Sylvia Smith, whose academic journey has been disrupted mostly because of a grad student project that has been taken up nationally: the Project of Heart. In fact, Smith won the Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2011 because of this project.

1. Why did you choose to do your graduate degree at the Faculty of Education, University of Regina? (especially given your location in Ottawa.)

At the time, my mom and dad were still alive and I had family in Saskatchewan. My family went there every summer to visit. Since I was a teacher and had summers off, it seemed like a fruitful way to combine my interest in graduate work as well as to keep the family connection going.

2. How would you describe your experience as a student at the U of R?

I have had nothing but GREAT experiences as a student at the U of R! Our second daughter was quite young and needed childcare when I started my course work in 2007, and we were able to enrol her in the summer programs that were held right at the University…in the gym in fact! So it was a very stress-free endeavour! We (myself, my partner and daughter) stayed in the residence there, had the childcare taken care of, and I was free to attend my courses!

3. While studying with us, you developed the Project of Heart. Briefly outline what a Project of Heart looks like.POH 003

Initially Project of Heart (POH) had five distinct parts, and now it has six. Part 1 dealt with learning about the Indian Residential Schools (IRS), why they were created, how many there were, what the conditions were like for the students, and so on. Because there were virtually no resources for teaching about the IRS at the time, materials donated by Legacy of Hope (LOH) filled the kits. With respect to the loss of life and deaths due to the IRS, I relied on primary source documents that I got from visiting Library and Archives Canada. The primary source documents were ways for the students to see that these children actually existed and that they never stopped resisting attempts to make their lives better, even if it meant fleeing the schools and many of them, dying while trying. These primary source documents brought the horrors of so many of these schools to life!

Part 2 is where the students choose a particular Indian Residential School and then learn something about the Nation on whose land that School stood, and their contributions to Canadian society. The facilitator or teacher can proceed with doing this part in whatever way that best meets the learners’ needs. Often, it is the first time that students find out the name of the Original Peoples of the territory that they’re living on. What students find out after doing this part, is that no matter how hard the Canadian Government tried to “kill the Indian within the child,” they were not successful. Students are able to see—and feel—that Indigenous peoples and their cultures must be incredibly resilient to have survived an onslaught that started 500 years ago and continues to this day.

Part 3 is the first gesture of reconciliation. It is the part where students take what information they’ve gleaned from doing Parts 1 and 2, and use their skill/talent at communicating, through art, their feelings. They may feel sadness, anger, or they may not even know how to feel. They may feel hope, especially after finding out that Indigenous people are not a dying race—that there are many who are devoted to rebuilding their communities and relearning their languages…and know that there is a place for them in today’s society. But whatever it is they are feeling, they communicate it through art. They decorate a small wooden tile, each tile symbolically representative of the life of one child who died. This child’s memory is brought back to life.

Part 4 is where an Indian Residential School survivor (or a cultural worker or an IRS intergenerational survivor, or an Elder) comes to the school (or church or business) and answers questions, gives a teaching, or just talks to the students about life. Normally, if it’s a survivor, she will answer questions from the group. This is where the lived experiential knowledge is transmitted to the learners.

Part 5 is the social justice piece, the second gesture of reconciliation where settlers who are doing this project, “walk the talk.” This part is missing from most government promises. Our Canadian Government, under the leadership of Mr. Harper, said we were sorry. But we didn’t mean it, because there were NO actions undertaken that would prove that we (as a country) were sorry. Project of Heart provides a way for its learners to truly enact our citizenship responsibilities, putting empathy into action, in a respectful way. (We want to build trust. We want to walk with, not over, Aboriginal people.) It demonstrates to Indigenous people that non-Aboriginals are prepared to act in support of their resistance struggles, whether it be for justice for the horrific number of Indigenous women and girls who have gone missing or murdered, or the over-the-top numbers of Aboriginal kids who are in state care through various ministries of child and social services.

Part 6 is a relatively recent addition. It was instituted after the TRC National Event in Saskatchewan while under the care of Charlene Bearhead. One of the teachers in Saskatoon Catholic Board, Lynette Brossart, and her students, who had completed Project of Heart, were invited to come to the National Event. Lynette was very concerned to find out that there were IRS Survivors there who had never heard of Project of Heart and felt the need to do something about it. She came up with the idea of the learner groups making cards for the survivors. With this step, when there are events that Survivors are attending, they could be given a card with one Project of Heart tile attached to it, that would let them know that the learners cared about them, and that they were learning about their situation so that this would never happen again. It worked! Project of Heart had now come full circle.

4. What were the circumstances that led you to develop the Project of Heart?P1080462

There were a few ‘circumstances’ that led to the development of the project, but the easiest to explain is the fact that I couldn’t justify to my Grade 10 students why such a major part of our history was invisible. Young people will challenge their teachers if something doesn’t make sense, and in the only mandatory history course there is in Ontario high schools (contemporary Canadian History), there was a huge, absolutely gaping void. When a particularly inquiring student, Andrea, was finding evidence in her research that was creating a cognitive dissonance for her (it was the number of students that had perished while at the schools) she would not give up trying to figure out why this egregious part of history was so neglected. I had no choice but to be gently led by her curiosity, fast-becoming-anger. Our textbook dedicated two paragraphs (63 words) to the IRS era. Andrea couldn’t believe it, and I couldn’t either. So between her righteous anger and my integrity on the line as a history teacher, we decided that if the textbook couldn’t tell us the truth, we would find it and learn it on our own! And not only that, but also we’d help others whom we knew were as ignorant, maybe even more-so, than we were! So Andrea got to work, continuing her research and at the same time, building contacts in both the Aboriginal and settler community that could help her and her classmates make sense of their past. They all felt betrayed. They had grown up proud to be Canadian, and now that identity was being challenged in a major way.

In a nutshell, there were a lot of relationships made, guest speakers invited, (IRS survivors in the community), and activists who supported the students in this educational endeavour right from the start. The students did what was within their capability to do (write proposals so we could get some money to buy the wooden tiles, and pay honouraria for Aboriginal guests to come and talk to us) and I did my part. Project of Heart began with the first ceremony to honour the children who had died.

This is where the U of R comes into the story: While the students were busy making poster boards, learning, and going class-to-class to invite students in other rooms to participate in their teach-ins and guest speakers, I was taking Dr. Spooner’s Social Justice course. I Skyped into the evening class once per week from Ottawa (I was the box-head that spoke through a TV)!

The first Truth and Reconciliation Commission had been struck, and there was a call for proposals to do “Commemorative Projects.” I thought, “Why not? Let’s do what we’re doing in the class already, and just formalize it?” I decided to ask permission to do a Project of Heart proposal in place of the essay assignment for the class: putting what we were doing, and the purpose for what we were doing on paper was the only thing that was missing. Articulating the project would allow other groups to join the effort.

Dr. Spooner accepted the proposal as my project, and Project of Heart became formalized: It was envisioned, and its parts fully explained. Supporters came through to help us build the teaching module. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers supplied all the boxes, free of charge. The Legacy of Hope Foundation gifted us with thousands of dollars worth of resources with which we would fill the kits. I would purchase the small tiles and fill the kit with a pre-arranged number. And perhaps the most important thing—cost—I wanted potential users to know that they could experience this transformative learning, for less than the cost of textbook. The only caveat was that their heart had to be in it, and they had to be willing to engage the Indigenous community. Project of Heart would only work if it was centered on Indigenous people and their experiences.

So, it is these resources that I sent out to any learner group who wanted them. It was truly a labour of love. My partner created the website (www.projectofheart.ca) where groups who do the project could upload pictures and a report on their experiences doing Project of Heart. This part was essential because as schools and other learner groups reported on their experiences, they gave ideas and inspiration to other groups. I insured that faciliator directions were packed in the boxes and that an inventory of what was included in the kit was included.

5. Has the POH made it difficult for you to finish your M.Ed. studies?

Yes, doing POH has made it difficult to finish my M.Ed. I started my thesis work in 2011. I was interested in finding out what teachers’ perceptions were of doing Project of Heart. I had done all the interviews and when the tough work began, we had an illness in the family and I too became very over-stressed. My work suffered. And the longer one leaves the work, the more difficult it is to come back to it. I’m also older, and don’t have as much energy as I used to have. But I am trying to complete it before next spring. In the interim, the landscape has changed so much. When I’d started, materials on Indian Residential Schools were almost nil. Now there are lots! And POH has grown exponentially! So what was supposed to be “snapshot in time” has now become much more, and figuring out how it’s all going to come together is challenging.

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If you are teaching in Saskatchewan and interested in doing a Project of Heart with your class check out the Saskatchewan Project of Heart website: www.projectofheart.ca/sk Let us know if you are doing a Project of Heart so we can add a report to the site. (shuana.niessen@uregina.ca)

 

Kim Sadowsky, 2015 Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching

In October 2015, Kim Sadowsky, a teacher at Thom Collegiate and a Master’s of Education (Curriculum & Instruction) student in the Faculty of Education, University of Regina, was announced one of six winners of the 2015 Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Recipients of this award are celebrated for their achievements in teaching Canadian history. Kim’s success is due to the design of her Native Studies class, which explores the question, “Who is a Treaty Person?” The class re-enacts Canadian history throughout the semester in a simulation.

The following is Kim’s description of the course:

“In Native Studies 10/30, students embark on a Treaty simulation that lasts the entire semester and takes them through an intricate role-play where students become the Indigenous peoples of Treaty #4 territory in what is now Saskatchewan. It is a living simulation where each day the students are playing out key events in Canada’s history and drawing their own conclusions about how the events of the past have influenced their place in Canada today as Treaty people. Their course goal is to create an inquiry-based or social-action project that demonstrates their knowledge of Canada’s Treaty relationships and encourages others to acknowledge that ‘We Are All Treaty People’ and as such have a responsibility in understanding and acknowledging our shared history of this land.

The semester begins with one simple question: “Who is a Treaty person?” From this question, our entire course unravels as students relive Canadian history from both an Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspective. The goal of the course is for students to begin to act on their understanding that being a Treaty person carries a massive responsibility in working towards decolonizing and reconciling Treaty relationships.

Students and even the teacher play the role of either the Indigenous peoples or the Government of Canada as they take part in the simulation. They begin with Treaty negotiations as the classroom is transformed into a historical time warp. Eventually, students are assigned reserves (certain areas of the classroom) in which they are to live. The Residential school, offices of the Indian Agents, and the Prime Ministers headquarters are also assigned locations in the classroom.

Throughout the semester, students experience day-to-day scenarios in which history is played out: Everything from the Indian Act, to attending residential school or being forced to leave their reserve because of Enfranchisement is re-enacted. Later in the semester, they visit ideas of revitalization and resource development on reserve, truth and reconciliation, and current events from society and politics.

Nearing the end of the course when the residential school is closed, students discuss the contemporary effects of inter-generational traumas and current social issues that have resulted from Canadian history. They explore their own family roots and stories, acknowledging their identities within this history. Students piece together how the past has impacted their understanding of the present, and as a result, they create hopeful healing and possibilities for the future. They acknowledge and celebrate the success and contributions of Canada’s Indigenous peoples to the building of Canada and society today.

During the simulation students gain knowledge and empathy as they navigate thru Canadian history and critically develop the skills to investigate the perspectives of various decisions that were made by the Canadian government and Indigenous people.

As much as possible, the content of the course is delivered in the oral tradition to honour Indigenous ways of knowing. Primary sources are used as much as possible if there are to be written documents. The students have access to elders, residential school survivors, local authors, politicians, and familial stories to really make this history live.

Students are connecting with material that makes it real and meaningful. It is one thing to learn about decolonizing from books… it is quite another thing to live it. That is what the simulation attempts to do.

The students’ final project is to create and show an exhibition of their learning. The outcome is to demonstrate their understanding of how Treaty relationships throughout Canadian history have shaped Canada today as well as acknowledge their roles as Treaty people. Whether class project or an individual work of art, writing, dance, or music, the results have been extraordinary. Not only have the students displayed internalization of knowledge, but also, as an educator, I have learned so much about Canadian history as a result of this simulation. The students have humbled me with their ability to become so completely passionate about history, moving learning far beyond the walls of the classroom!”

Kim graduated from the U of R, with a B.Ed. degree in 2001, with a major in Social Studies, and minor in Physical Education. In the program at that time, Kim says her experience was that, “the conversation around the impacts of colonization and Treaty relationships were totally absent.” She views this absence as reflecting a “systemic amnesia” that has existed in our society in regards to our shared history and the overall resistance to learning about it. What she is now learning about Indigenous history, along with her students, allows her, “to see that there were complete chapters in our shared history that had been left out.” Thus, when a colleague, David Benjoe, who was leaving Thom after paving the way for the Native Studies course, said to Kim, “You need to teach this course,” Kim felt unqualified. She says, “I was terrified. I knew nothing about Native Studies…and I was not Indigenous.” However, with David’s encouragement to “just be honest, respectful, kind and funny,” Kim agreed to teach the course.

With guidance from David and others, Kim found that being non-Indigenous opened up spaces for learning where students were the knowledge keepers in the classroom, not her. This allowed for opportunities to connect with families and community, moving learning beyond the classroom walls. In fact, she has since understood how important her role as a non-Indigenous person is in decolonizing her classroom through these learnings.

“To have been teaching for 15 years and to only now connect the dots of colonization, especially as a Social Studies/History teacher…It is shameful,” says Kim. This regret has been the driving force behind her course and how she teaches it.

Kim is passionate about “addressing the gaps that exist within our system when it comes to education and whose history is being taught and whose is being left out,” because she believes it “is integral when moving forward.”

As a M.Ed. student “surrounded by some pretty phenomenal professors at both the First Nations University and the University of Regina,” Kim is able to see that the Faculty of Education is also moving forward and addressing the gaps. She says, “The education program has changed a lot since I went through it. The U of R today is a different place and is engaging in authentic learning opportunities for future educators in a deeper understanding of the impacts of colonization and Treaty relationships and how this impacts the way we teach. The need to decolonize is now prevalent in the Education Faculty and gives much hope.”

Kim recognizes the importance and central role education has in the process of reconciliation and the hope of rebuilding the relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. “We must realize that education had a key role in creating a legacy of hurt, pain, fear, racism, and so on, and as educators we have a massive responsibility in contributing to the healing process through education,” she says.

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As part of the Building Our Home Fire project, students created commemorative tokens, which are exhibited in the hallway at Thom Collegiate. Photo credit: Shuana Niessen

Unlearning colonized history and decolonizing relationships involves not only the content that is taught but also how the content is taught. Kim says, “I cannot stress enough, the importance of teaching Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from an Indigenous perspective. Many of these stories, events and accounts of Canadian history have been completely left out. By digging deeper and challenging uncomfortable learning students are able to recognize circumstances, events and key moments in Canadian history where we have struggled together as Treaty people.”

Kim’s passion has ignited the interest of others at Thom Collegiate. This fall, over 25 classes from a variety of subject areas took part in the “Building Our Home Fire” project, which explored the legacy of the residential school system. Participating students and teachers found it to be “an incredible experience.”