In December, our Faculty received news that six of our graduate students have been chosen for the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships/Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) Competition. We saw this news as an opportunity to highlight some of our extraordinary graduate students and their research.
Our spotlight today is shining on PhD student Kamogelo Amanda Matebekwane, one of the six competitors. Amanda currently works as a research assistant in the Faculty’s research unit (CERCD.ca).
Born and raised in beautiful Botswana, in the southern part of Africa, Amanda carries with her the Botswana values of humility, kindness, compassion, unity, and selflessness. Amanda says, “I bring these values to Canada to learn and appreciate the co-existence of human and non-human beings on treaty lands.”
A passion for working with young children initially led Amanda to do her B.Ed.(’06) in Early Childhood Education (ECE) at the University of Botswana. This same passion brought her back to the University of Botswana to do her M.Ed.(’15). Amanda’s experience while working in Botswana, inspecting early childhood education centres for the local government, had opened her eyes to the gaps and challenges that existed in the well-being and education of children. For her master’s research, then, she focused her study on the well-being of orphans and vulnerable children and the extent to which support services met their basic and educational needs. Her findings confirmed that indeed, there was a significant gap between what children needed and what children were offered by both government and guardians. Amanda presented her master’s paper, “Determining Latent Factor Structure of the Orphans and Vulnerable Children Wellbeing Tool (OWT) Based on Botswana Sample,” at the 88th Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association in Chicago. After completing her master’s, Amanda decided to immigrate to Canada to join her husband and begin their life journey together.
On a cold night in early March 2017, Amanda arrived in Regina and experienced snow and subzero temperatures for the first time. She says, “The YQR airport doors opened to embrace me with a gulp of freezing air. I turned back and looked at my husband and said, ‘Oh no! I’m going back home!’ He laughed and said, ‘Welcome to Canada!'”
When she first arrived in Canada, Amanda had no interest in returning to university for her PhD. She had struggled financially with tuition and books attending the University of Botswana. However, when she learned about student loan opportunities in Canada, her passion for continuing her studies was rekindled. She says, “I took some time and searched for programs and institutions that offered outstanding programs at a reasonable price. The University of Regina stood out because of its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The other thing that caught my attention with U of R was the fact that it was offering relevant programs that address current issues affecting people living in Regina. Such programs include anti-oppressive education, anti-racism education as well as Indigeneity and decolonizing education. The support offered at the Faculty of Education has been absolutely amazing! The scholarships offered every term always motivate and inspire me to do my best.”
For her PhD research, Amanda is exploring the experiences of Black immigrant children, their families, and teachers within the Regina elementary public school system in the context of anti-Black racism education. She says, “I am so keen to engage young children in early childhood education settings to understand their lived experiences and at the same time magnify their voices.” Rather than considering children subjects in the research process, Amanda says, “I will be co-researching with them to understand how the education system can refuse the normativity and Eurocentric worldviews and integrate the children’s values and beliefs that they bring from their home countries. I strongly believe that in an increasingly multicultural society, we need to affirm racialized identities, find joy in human diversity, and be confident, collaborative, and caring in standing up for social justice.” Amanda’s research is supervised by Dr. Emily Ashton. Her committee members are Dr. Christine Massing, Dr. Donna Swapp, and Dr. Florence Luhanga (Faculty of Nursing).
Amanda recently published a personal essay:
Matebekwane, K. A. (2022). Counter-storytelling: A form of resistance and tool to reimagine more inclusive early childhood education spaces. in education, 28(1b), 116 – 125. https://doi.org/10.37119/ojs2022.v28i1b.661
Our current Dean, Dr. Jerome Cranston, will complete his term, and will then be joining the University of Saskatchewan campus community as the Vice-Provost: Student and Learning effective August 1, 2023.
In December, our Faculty received news that six of our graduate students have been chosen for the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships/Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) Competition. Our spotlight today is shining on PhD student Shannon Fayant (M.Ed.’06; B.Ed.’96, SUNTEP-Regina), one of the six competitors.
Shannon is a Métis woman and is currently the principal at F. W. Johnson Collegiate in Regina.
With 17 years of experience in administration with Regina Public Schools and a 26-year career in education, Shannon brings a wealth of knowledge and experiences to her research. A highlight for Shannon in her career journey was at Scott Collegiate, where she was principal for 5 years: “I was privileged to work on the community build of the mâmawêyatitân centre.” The mâmawêyatitân centre is a shared-use facility that houses multiple community partners, thus named “mâmawêyatitân,” which is Cree for “let’s all be together.”
Another meaningful experience was co-producing and co-hosting “The Four” through Access Communications with co-hosts Dr. Shauneen Pete, Bevann Fox, and Robyn Morin.
In the fall 2020, Shannon decided to return to the University of Regina for her PhD. Her research study is focused on theorizing a Métis educational leadership model with Métis women’s voices at the heart of the research, entitled Educational Leadership Stories of Métis Iskwêwak (Women). Shannon says, “I began my journey with the intent to contribute to theorizing of Indigenous Educational leadership through the perspective of an Indigenous Iskwêw leader. I quickly realized there was very little literature that gave Indigenous women an opportunity to share their experiences in education and the public education experience in leadership. Therefore, I decided to embrace the journey of providing Métis women the opportunity to share their experiences as leaders in education, to contribute to Métis leadership and this new knowledge, to assist in the leadership development of leading within reconciliation times.”
Dr. Michael Cappello is supervising Shannon’s research and her committee members are Dr. Melanie Brice, Dr. Pamela Osmond-Johnson and Dr. Sherry Farrell-Racette.
In December, our Faculty received news that six of our graduate students have been chosen for the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships/Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) Competition. Our spotlight today is shining on PhD student Tammy Ratt, one of the six competitors.
Tammy is currently a lecturer with the language department at First Nations University of Canada.
Since she was young, Tammy wanted to get her PhD. “I wanted to write self-help books…I don’t know why.” In pursuit of her dream, Tammy completed her B.Ed. degree (with a major in Indigenous Studies and minor in Cree) at First Nations University of Canada in 2007. She completed her first master’s in education (curriculum and instruction) from the University of Regina in 2016 but did the course-work route. She then registered in a Master’s in Indigenous Language Education (MILED, thesis-route) in 2020 at the First Nations University of Canada. “But then,” Tammy says, “I was so inspired by the MILED, I applied for a Phd in Education at the University of Regina.” Tammy will finish her course work this term and will start her comprehensive exams in the spring. Tammy jokes saying, “This University can’t get rid of me.”
Tammy’s doctoral research, supervised by Dr. Andrea Sterzuk, examines Indigenous language education using art as a method of transmission. Tammy says, “I chose my research topic because learning my language has been an uplifting journey. All these years and I am still finding myself. Learning my language makes me feel better about myself.” Tammy hopes that Indigenous youth will also have the opportunity to feel this way. She hopes to create language learning opportunities through the use of Indigenous art. “I love Indigenous art. It is soothing and healing. I think this research is the perfect way to do something challenging: learning language through art,” says Tammy.
Tammy’s published articles include the following:
Ratt, T., Daniels, B., Stevenson, R., & Sterzuk, A. (in press). “When I Chose to Become a Teacher, I was Agreeing to Perpetuating Colonialism”: Experiences of Colonialism in Saskatchewan Educational Systems. In N. Limerick, J. Schissel, M. López Gopar, & V. Huerta (Eds.), Colonialism, Language, and Education Across the Americas . Teachers College Press.
Ratt, T. (2022). Miskasowin asîhk (Finding Oneself on the Land). in education, 27(2b), 37-51.
In November, 17 thesis-route graduate students were awarded the FGSR Thesis-Only Scholarship (TOS). The intent of the TOS is to attract high quality students and grow research-based programs at the University of Regina (U of R). Holders of these awards are required to be fully-qualified thesis-based students in a Master’s or Doctoral degree program at the U of R. Master’s and PhD students must have a minimum of a first class average (equivalent to a minimum of) 80% at their previous institution (if first semester) and continuing students must maintain 80% throughout their programs.
Congratulations to the following graduate students who were awarded a combined total of a total of $30, 500:
Romina Bedogni Drago
Ricardo Arisnabarreta Montejo
Matteo Di Muro
UR Graduate Scholarship – Holders of these awards are required to be admitted as a fully qualified student in a Master’s or Doctoral degree program at the University of Regina. PhD students must have a minimum of a first class average (equivalent to a minimum of 80%) at their previous institution. Master’s students must have a minimum of 75% coming into their Master’s and must maintain 80% throughout their Master’s program.
The following 54 students were awarded a total of $68,400:
Kouabran Jean Dadie
Kamogelo Amanda Matebekwane
Matteo Di Muro
Meenal Gopikrishan Maheshwari
Maglin Stella Moorthy
In December, our Faculty received news that six of our graduate students have been chosen for the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships/Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) Competition. Our spotlight today is shining on 3rd-year PhD student Trudy Keil (BHK ’98, UBC; BEAD’05, MEd’15, UofR), one of the six competitors.
Trudy has been teaching with Regina Public Schools for 15 years. She currently teaches English as an Additional Language at Campbell Collegiate. Through her teaching experiences Trudy developed “an intense desire to improve teaching and learning conditions in Saskatchewan” which led her to pursuing a doctoral program in education.
“As an EAL teacher, advocating for students has long been an essential part of my job. Amidst education budget cuts and policy decisions that have harmed teachers and students, it was apparent that I needed to expand my advocacy beyond the school walls.” says Trudy.
Further, a successful experience with her master’s thesis, defended in 2015 entitled, “An Action Research Study: EAL and Content Teachers Collaborating to Support All Students at a Secondary School,” strengthened Trudy’s interest in doing more research: “I developed respectful and productive relationships with colleagues, learned a great deal about how to best support all students, and came to realize how much I enjoyed the research process,” says Trudy.
For her PhD dissertation, Trudy is exploring teacher activism within formal professional associations and through grassroots efforts. Inspired by her teaching experiences and teacher activism within and beyond the union, Trudy hopes “to inspire and empower Saskatchewan and Canadian teachers to view themselves as impactful political actors and, at the same time, draw widespread attention to the value of democratic, public education. It is important to conduct research on how teachers challenge dominant discourses because their successes can offer leadership and hope.”
Trudy’s dissertation research is supervised by Dr. Pamela Osmond-Johnson and committee members Dr. Christine Massing, Dr. Michele Sorensen, and Dr. Andrea Sterzuk. “I am extremely grateful to have such an amazing team of strong, female leaders supporting me in this journey,” says Trudy.
Our Autumn 2022 regular issue of [in education] is now available! A special issue will be published soon.
»Syrian Newcomer Students’ Feelings and Attitudes Regarding Their Education in Canada by Mohamad Ayoub & George Zhou pp. 2-22
»Practice-Based Research Policy in the Light of Indigenous Methodologies: The EU and Swedish Education by Eva Lindgren & Kristina Sehlin MacNeil pp. 23-38
»Confronting Partial Knowledge Through a Pedagogy of Discomfort: Notes on Anti-Oppressive Teaching by Michael Cappello & Claire Kreuger pp. 39-59
»Feminist Resistance Through the Lense of Everyday Lived Experiences of Young Women in India by Nabila Kazmi (she/her) pp. 60-76
»Overcoming the Challenges of Family Day Home Educators: A Family Ecological Theory Approach by Laura Woodman pp. 77-93
Teaching was something Jean Dufresne wanted to do from as far back as he can remember. The first university-trained teacher in his family, Jean says, “It started early for me. In Scouts, as a volunteer, even in the Naval Reserve, I was always placed in an instructional role.”
In terms of credentials, Jean’s path to a 35-year career as a teacher and then teacher educator was unusual: “I have a BA with a major in history and a minor in education,” says Jean, who graduated from Université Laval in Quebec City in the 80s.
Jean’s career included teaching social studies and history in both secondary and postsecondary settings, writing French immersion curriculum guides, and teaching in, and finally directing, the University of Regina’s Baccalauréat en Éducation française (le Bac) program. Jean became a specialist in language development and a specialist tutor for French tests. “I always thought I would be a history teacher and I became a French teacher. I was never the best at French in high school. Yet, I was lucky enough to be offered opportunities and flexible enough to give them a try,” says Jean.
These opportunities, Jean attributes to his relocation to Saskatchewan in the fall of ’86 to be with his future wife Anne Brochu Lambert, who was working with Radio Canada (French CBC). “There were 100 people like me in Quebec City. Here, I was special. In Québec, just one among others,” says Jean.
“I also came to see the prospects for becoming a teacher in Saskatchewan.” says Jean. To become a certified teacher here, Jean had to earn an extra 15 credits of French for the equivalent of a French minor. This he did through le Bac, becoming one of the students in the first cohort of the French education program in the final term. He did not know at the time that the longest stretch of his career would be with le Bac.
Jean was hired in ’87 at Dr. Martin LeBoldus where he taught mostly history and social studies until 1994, when he was seconded to the Ministry of Education for a 4-year project in which he wrote the curriculum guides for Secondary French Immersion (10, 20, 30, and Intégré A20 and B20). After this accomplishment, he went back to teaching, eventually returning to LeBoldus full-time and becoming department head in 2000/01.
Three years later, Jean was seconded to the le Bac program. Teaching at the University of Regina was a big transition. Jean says, “In 2003, school divisions were just starting to tighten their purses. The University felt rich by comparison. You could still print what you wanted to print. You were not counting your copies. Work was at another level, dealing more with adults. It was a welcome change. Same with the ministry, I was lucky. I’ve been lucky all my life. I worked hard; the harder you work the luckier you get. But luck is also a factor.”
Still, as a secondment, Jean didn’t know beyond his 2-year terms where he would be next. However, 2 years stretched into several years. As Jean says, “I ended up being lucky for 14 years. I also have my school division to thank for this. They allowed me to stay instead of recalling me, or asking me to resign.”
In 2017, at the 30-year mark with the Regina Catholic School Division, Jean retired and was officially employed by the University of Regina. Two years later, he accepted the role of director of le Bac, where he finished out his career.
The director’s role was challenging in many ways. “I wasn’t expecting to become le Bac director,” says Jean. “The Faculty suggested that I should apply, so I did. What I learned is that it took a lot of me. The price was steep. I really enjoyed the classroom teaching and dealing with my students with le Bac. I was essentially the pre-internship year secondary person, so I was able to teach a few courses with the same students, and be involved in a capacity that I understood: my courses, my old curriculum guide, my resources, my students—that part I enjoyed. Being a director, especially during a pandemic, became very demanding. There are aspects of the job, though it is essentially a program chair, that make it more challenging: For example, we have to budget the Federal Government funding and create annual financial reports.” Added to the situation was the loss of several staff members in le Bac (though since then le Bac has new staff members).
Moving online through the pandemic created another set of challenges. “You teach French education in Saskatchewan in French, so the environment is important. Some students flourished online but I think the majority did not and it did have consequences on language skills a little bit. We see the effect now with the internships; some students are in the classroom for the first time, and they are facing challenges that they haven’t met before,” says Jean.
Yet, the flip side of the challenges was the highlight for Jean: “There’s a good side: I finished my mandate, and my thanks to the faculty who trusted me enough to choose me as the director. That is important to me. It is hard work, but it is important, and I believe the work was done decently. This is certainly a highlight.”
Looking back, Jean remembers other interesting challenges/highlights: “When we did the program review, finishing it in 2006/07 with Bernard Laplante as director, that was challenging; that was interesting. We were looking at courses and programs, we tried to find a perfect mix of compulsory courses and electives and all that. We had language tests. Le Bac had good quality programs and we were growing. By 2019, le Bac had grown from 75 students to 166, but our resources didn’t follow so we had to be a little bit more modest and cap ourselves at 140.”
Reflecting further on the growth and changes he has seen in le Bac over the years, Jean says, “The first cohort of students going through the 4-year elementary French education program started in ’83. They did their second year at Université Laval in Quebec City. From the beginning, that ‘immersion year’ was important. In ’91, we created a secondary French education program. For le Bac, immigration really changed things around 2010. Francophone newcomers who wanted to become teachers came with individualized needs, and we had to adapt the program to help them achieve their goals. There is also a big difference between 2000 and 2020 in our approach to students. Recruiting and retaining students has become a survival issue, and we now do everything we can to recruit and keep students, which becomes a lot of extra work. In le Bac, we do tutorials to prepare students, we have really personalized services, small classes, and a team in Quebec City that follows them during their second year. The director goes to see the students in Quebec City each year and the deans are in touch with each other. We are trying to find alternatives to ensure every student who can be successful, is successful. This is also part of the Faculty’s philosophy.”
What Jean has learned over the years is that what matters in teacher education is “trust and personal contact.” Jean says, “Proper education is a professional relationship between people who are teaching and learning, and trust is important in that relationship. If students know and understand what we are doing and if they are respected, they go accordingly. If there is a lack of trust, and it happens sometimes, then it creates issues. When students first get out of the university they want to be the best teachers they can be; they’re really centered on their subject areas, but they figure out very quickly that relationship is key. There is no teaching without a relationship. Reconciliation helped us understand the weight, the heavy burden, of residential schools because there was a loss, or a lack of trust if there was trust in the beginning. If you don’t have trust, failure is almost certain.”
As parting advice, Jean recommends that the Faculty, “keep an eye on le Bac in the future. Continue to ensure that le Bac is staffed properly. Make sure French services are recognized and appreciated in the future as they are now, and not always seen as a burden even though it is extra work. La Cité is now a Faculty. This is great news; it means we now have La Cité colleagues to help us with faculty resources. However, there is a caveat, let’s be careful. We have to be sure that le Bac students are well-served by both Faculties. I hope the next dean will be able, as Dean Cranston has done, to figure out the role of le Bac program and make sure it has room to grow at the University of Regina.”
Overall, Jean’s feelings about his career are positive: “I’m very grateful to the Faculty, to le Bac program, and to Regina Catholic School Division because they’ve allowed me to grow in the profession. I understand things today I didn’t understand 20 years ago. For example, I understand more about reconciliation because I was part of this Faculty. I’ve had discussions with elders that I would not have had otherwise. I’m very grateful.”
“The last thing in the world I was ever going to do was become a teacher!” says Dr. Patrick Lewis, who ended up teaching 17 years in elementary school and another 18 years in preservice and in-service teacher education.
While he was a child, Patrick really enjoyed school until Grade 7, when he suddenly didn’t find school that engaging or much fun anymore. In fact, he ended up leaving high school early. But, fast-forward to 1985, and he and his partner Karen had a new little baby girl. “We were living in family housing at UBC, and I was starting graduate work in history for my master’s. I was realizing that I needed to do something more to support my family than fiddle away at graduate research and history, so I went across campus to the Faculty of Education and spoke to an associate dean there.”
Initially, Patrick intended to enroll in the secondary teacher education program because his undergrad degree was in political science and history, but because the associate dean encouraged him to take the elementary program, he made the switch, which turned out well: “The more time I spent in K-3, the more fun I was having. I got quite engaged and comfortable with learning alongside little people. Even during practicums, I saw the enormous growth that could happen with kids that age. So that really intrigued me and I stuck with it.”
After finishing his post-graduate certificate, Patrick was hired at Pender Island School. After teaching for 5 or 6 years, he began to realize that he needed a greater understanding of how to work with kids who struggle, so he returned to university to do his master’s degree. “I thought, ‘There has to be something I’m missing.’ I was working with young children and trying to figure out how to help kids who were struggling with mostly literacy and, to a lesser extent, numeracy skills,” he says.
His master’s research did give Patrick answers, but not the answers he initially expected: “I had an unconscious sense of this, but I developed a conscious sense of the importance of building relationships with learners. So it wasn’t so much about finding new mechanisms for literacy, for teaching and learning, but it was more about kids and the relationships,” says Patrick. In retrospect, Patrick recognizes that what he learned then about building relationships as a way to help struggling kids learn, was about dealing with trauma or complex trauma, something he and his spouse Karen Wallace have been exploring and writing about more recently.
After 10 years on Pender Island, Patrick and Karen decided it was time to pack up and travel. Patrick wanted to do more graduate work around narrative inquiry and storytelling and he was accepted to the University of Queensland in 1997. They sold their acreage and the family of four backpacked through the South Pacific and ended up in Brisbane, Australia where Patrick began his PhD. Having to leave Australia before he finished his studies, Patrick returned to Victoria, BC, to finish his PhD remotely. His dissertation was a narrative inquiry called “Looking for a Good Teacher.” Patrick says, “That’s pretty much what I’ve been doing since I started teaching—looking for a good teacher.”
In 2004, the University of Regina hired Patrick as an assistant professor in early childhood education. At the beginning, the position was a ‘test drive’ with Patrick living in Regina while Karen stayed in Victoria to allow their son to finish high school and to continue with her established counselling and art therapy practice. However, in 2007, they made the decision to move to Regina, committing to stay for 5 years. “Five years turned into 18 years (and 14 for Karen),” says Patrick.
Over his time here, Patrick saw the work of the Faculty evolving: “We went through program renewal and through processes of developing mission statements and visions, and our core belief. I got the impression even from the early days that we were moving toward equity, diversity, and inclusion. But, it didn’t always go smoothly.”
Though not naturally drawn to administrative roles, Patrick adopted several leadership roles along the way, such as early childhood education subject chair, co-organizer of the “talkin’ about schools and society” discussion series, Education Indigenous Advisory Circle co-chair, elementary program chair, and the associate dean of faculty development and human resources.
Patrick’s hope in taking on these responsibilities was always that “it would be an opportunity to make programming a more holistic experience for our preservice teachers in preparing them for the children they were going to work alongside in their classrooms. I wanted to open their eyes to the importance of diversity and inclusion, and to become aware of historical oppression, with Indigenous people, Black people, and so-called people of colour.”
The Play, Art, Narrative (PAN) summer institutes that Patrick and Karen taught for many years were also intended to open students’ eyes to the structural and systemic racism in educational practices, in what teachers do. “If I’m to believe the feedback from students, it changed a lot of teacher’s ideas and ways of thinking about teaching, so that was, I think, pretty good work,” says Patrick.
The work we do is “hugely significant,” says Patrick. “Our students will be with kids about 197 days of the year for almost 6 hours per day. It is vitally important that we not only prepare students for this incredibly sensitive and important work, but also that we help them understand the realities of school life, and help them to look beyond the students in front of them to see the lives of those students and understand the importance of developing relationships with them and their families. The importance of this work behooves us to make sure we are doing all we can to help our preservice and in-service teachers become empathetic, authentic, and good listeners.”
Patrick’s advice for the Faculty mirrors what he learned in his search for a good teacher: “Build relationships with people and listen to people—really, really listen to people so they know you heard them. It’s not about whether you agree with them or not. Let them know you heard them and that you understand how they are feeling or thinking about a situation.”
After retiring at the end of June 2022, Patrick says, “I had a very privileged and charmed life. I was really lucky to work with great faculty and support staff. I loved it there. I found everything that the Faculty was doing intriguing. I worked alongside six deans while I was there. In my travels through the committees and programs I was involved with, faculty engagement was really refreshing and hopeful.”
Affirmation of a job well done came in the form of the International Play Association’s Right to Play award which honoured Patrick in October for his career-long advocacy and service promoting the child’s right to play. A former student of Patrick’s, Whitney Blaisdell, who nominated him for the award, says, “Many may agree—this honour is very well-deserved.”