Category: le Bac

Le Bac student helping to preserve Indigenous languages

4th-Year Baccalauréat en Éducation (Français) student Wahbi Zarry has beaten pandemic odds with his recently released video, 10 Days of Nakota, the second in a series of educational documentaries exploring Indigenous languages.

Produced and directed by Wahbi with director of photography and editor Tony Quiñones, the video documents Wahbi’s educational journey as he learns to speak Nakota in 10 days. The first video, 10 Days of Cree, was released in 2020. Despite the upheaval of the pandemic, including the loss of his father and uncle, Wahbi persevered to finish both his studies and the second video.

Wahbi conceived of the idea of the educational language videos after realizing how existing documentaries about Indigenous languages were slow-paced, not reflecting the vibrancy of the communities documented. “I mean there is no movement. We get the wrong idea about these communities. They are not at all like the documentaries; they are working, there are schools, there are education programs, people are fighting for their language, their culture, and I wanted to show it differently,” says Wahbi.

As a French language speaker who was born in Morocco and grew up in Paris, France, and who immigrated to Canada, where he learned English, and now Cree and Nakoda, Wahbi understands the value of language. “For me a language is what culture sounds like. Language is the mirror of culture. Losing the language is losing the communication part in a culture,” Wahbi is concerned about the loss of Indigenous languages worldwide. To save Indigenous languages, Wahbi says, we must “include the youth and create entertainment to learn this language.”

Enter: Crocus BigEagle and an entertaining video documenting Wahbi’s attempt to learn Nakota in 10 days.

Photo credit: Tony Quiñones.

In 10 Days of Nakota, 10-year-old Crocus BigEagle was Wahbi’s Nakota teacher; he smiles as he says, “She was sufficiently strict.” Their interactions are lighthearted and humorous. The final exam is conducted by the only remaining fluent speaker of Nakota, Elder Peter Bigstone (Ocean Man Nakoda First Nation). To receive his Nakota education, Wahbi moves from Ocean Man First Nation, to Regina, to Carry the Kettle Nakoda Nation, and finally to Pheasant Rump Nakota First Nation. While the video’s tone is entertaining and heart-warming, that there is only one fluent speaker left is felt poignantly.

Wahbi says, “When it comes to Indigenous language in general, it is something extremely important. What kinds of structures do we have to protect these languages?” Officialization of Indigenous languages is one of the solutions Wahbi suggests: “What we do for the French language needs to happen for Indigenous languages.” Wahbi adds, “Braille and sign language should also be official languages.”

By producing these videos, Wahbi says he has learned to think differently about the concept of identity: “I grew up in Europe where the concept of identity is considered a bit of racism, or chauvinism, but in the Indigenous communities of Canada, identity means something else: language, culture, including others, it means sharing the knowledge. Now I see identity really differently than before.”

Parts of the video were intentionally filmed on the University of Regina campus. Wahbi says, “I did very good to apply to the University of Regina. It is very important to me to represent the University. Being a student here was a blessing.” Wahbi funded these videos himself as a gift, a way of giving back to Canada, a country he says, “gave me the opportunities I needed to do what I wanted to do.”

As a result of the documentaries, Wahbi has been contacted by Indigenous communities and others from around the world. His videos have cleared up a misconception that “All First Nations speak the same language.” Wahbi hopes the next video will be set in New Zealand, learning the Māori language in 10 days.

Watch the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzIBEZIBrps

Alumnus positively influencing change

Alumnus Christian Mbanza (BEd’17–Le Bac) is currently a French Immersion Educator at École St. Mary Elementary School in Regina. You may have seen Christian in the news recently regarding his work to bring Black history into prairie classrooms.

Christian has a passion for history and it is one reason he became a teacher: “I have a passion, not only about important events throughout history, but the people who were able to influence society. I had a history teacher in high school who would always tell us that ‘those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it,’ and that continues to echo in my mind. I see how true that is throughout society today.”

Black history is a particular focus for Christian, who says, “I believe that teaching Black history is often misrepresented or ignored in general and has created a negative image and perception around Africans/African-Canadians. In order for the perception to change, we must first know the history and properly teach the history. When students, Black or White, learn about the positive contributions of Black people, whether it be in science, art, law, and so forth, they are able to gain an appreciation and a new understanding. To ensure that Black history is being implemented, I encourage teachers to use resources by Black authors, writers, artist, and refer to famous Black scientists and mathematicians and incorporate primary sources into reading lists.”

A second passion for Christian is people, especially youth, which is another reason he became a teacher: “An educator can positively influence and change the course of a person’s life and that has always been my goal in becoming an teacher,” says Christian.

After 5 years of teaching experience at the elementary level, Christian has had the opportunity to define and refine his teaching philosophy. He says, “Experience is the best teacher. I have learned that effective teachers allow their students to make connections between content and acquire new knowledge that transforms into new ideas. That is why teachers have such a crucial role in the advancement of the community. Further, I am a firm believer in the power of relationships. Strong, positive relationships between teachers and students in the classroom are fundamental to promoting academic and overall student growth.”

Christian values the B.Ed. program he took with the Faculty of Education, “The B.Ed program has shown me the importance of challenging students to be the best that they can be so that they can positively influence our community.” Earning an education degree was, says Christian, “One of the proudest accomplishments of my life… I gained a passion and found purpose in education. Education has allowed me to gain problem solving abilities from multiple perspectives and, in my opinion, it has always held an important role in shaping the future of our society.”

Offering shout-outs to former professors, Christian says, “I had some very influential professors like Clay Burlingham, who changed my entire perspective on how history was taught; Dominic Sarny, who was instrumental in teaching me about cultural pride; and Jean Dufresne, who showed me how to implement my passion into what I teach and how I teach it. A lot of how I teach has really come from my education at the University and these professors especially.”

The most memorable experience Christian had as a French le Bac student was his experience at Laval University: “As a French education student, in order to develop our skills in French, second-year students spend two full semesters in language and cultural immersion at Laval University. This experience allowed me to grow as a person, student, and a teacher. By far the most memorable experience!”

Christian has now decided to work on his master’s degree with the Faculty of Education. “Pursuing a master’s will allow me to grow as a person, and I believe that it will help me create an inclusive classroom in a diverse world, while learning and growing my passions. As an educator I believe it is very important to continue to create the necessary changes in your life and in your classroom to impact our youth and our community.”

Spring 2022 Education News

Click image to access the animated copy of Education News.

In this issue:
A note from the Dean….. 3
Change maker: Tranforming schools and society….. 4
Alumna envisions schools as environments of empowerment….. 10
Why become a teacher? To be a role model….. 16
Alumnus positively influencing change….. 20
Le Bac student helping to preserve Indigenous languages….. 22
Teaching hard truths in a positive way: Kâsinamakewin….. 24
De/colonising Educational Relationships….. 29
Study informs services and supports for South Central Saskatchewan newcomers….. 30
Equity, diversity, and inclusion research partnership agreement announced….. 32
Successful defences….. 34
Funding and awards….. 35
Published research….. 36
New book….. 38
Long service recognition….. 38
New staff|New position….. 39
Student fundraising….. 40

Alumni Spotlight: Christian Mbanza

Alumni Spotlight: We’re shining light on Christian Mbanza (BEd’17–Le Bac), currently a French Immersion Educator at École St. Mary Elementary School in Regina.

You may have seen Christian in the news recently regarding his work to bring Black history into prairie classrooms. https://www.cbc.ca/newsinteractives/features/bringing-black-history-into-prairie-classrooms

Christian has a passion for history and it is one reason he became a teacher: “I have a passion, not only about important events throughout history, but the people who were able to influence society. I had a history teacher in high school who would always tell us that ‘those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it,’ and that continues to echo in my mind. I see how true that is throughout society today.”

Black history is a particular focus for Christian, who says, “I believe that teaching Black history is often misrepresented or ignored in general and has created a negative image and perception around Africans/African-Canadians. In order for the perception to change, we must first know the history and properly teach the history. When students, Black or White, learn about the positive contributions of Black people, whether it be in science, art, law, etc., they are able to gain an appreciation and a new understanding. To ensure that Black history is being implemented, I encourage teachers to use resources by Black authors, writers, artist, and refer to famous Black scientists and mathematicians and incorporate primary sources into reading lists.”

A second passion for Christian is people, especially youth, which is another reason Christian became a teacher: “An educator can positively influence and change the course of a person’s life and that has always been my goal in becoming an teacher,” says Christian.

After five years of teaching experience at the elementary level, Christian has had the opportunity to define and refine his teaching philosophy. He says, “Experience is the best teacher. I have learned that effective teachers allow their students to make connections between content and acquire new knowledge that transforms into new ideas. That is why teachers have such a crucial role in the advancement of the community. Further, I am a firm believer in the power of relationships. Strong, positive relationships between teachers and students in the classroom are fundamental to promoting academic and overall student growth.”

Christian values the B.Ed. program he took with the Faculty of Education, ” The B.Ed program has shown me the importance of challenging students to be the best that they can be so that they can positively influence our community.”

Offering shout-outs to former professors, Christian says, “I had some very influential professors like Clay Burlingham, who changed my entire perspective on how history was taught; Dominic Sarny, who was instrumental in teaching me about cultural pride; and Jean Dufresne, who showed me how to implement my passion into what I teach and how I teach it. A lot of how I teach has really come from my education at the University and these professors especially.”

The most memorable experience Christian had as a French le Bac student was his experience at Laval University. “As a french education student, in order to develop our skills in French, second-year students spend two full semesters in language and cultural immersion at Laval University. This experience allowed me to grow as a person, student and a teacher. By far the most memorable experience!”

As advice to students, Christian says, “Obtaining a university education is more competitive and challenging than ever and it may not be easy but it is important to enjoy the process. Preparation is key. Immerse yourself in the experience and enjoy the fruits of your labor. It is important to set your goals and see them through despite how long it may take and the challenges you may face along the way.”

Education News | Autumn 2021 issue


In This Issue:

A note from the Dean…..3
Stories about Indigenous education and unmarked gravesites in Canada…..4
Artistic expressions: masinahikêwin yêkâhk/ Writing in the sand poem…..10
Inaugural Gabriel Dumont Research Chair in Métis/Michif Education…..13
Education Students’ Society Truth and Reconciliation Week events…..16
Candidate for the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships Doctoral Awards 2021-2022 competition…..17
“I need to be in the quinzhee, not just talk about it!” Embodying our pedagogy…..18
Pimosayta: Learning to walk together slideshow…..21
Les étudiants du Bac mènent les activités de la Journée nationale de vérité et de réconciliation…..22
Le Bac student activities…..23
Funding and awards…..24
New faculty and staff…..26
Retirements…..27
Published research…..28

Congratulations Class of 2021 (Fall)

Congratulations to the #UREDu Class of 2021! We are proud of you and your accomplishment! We wish you all future successes.

We also recognize our Faculty award recipients:

Thor Stewart, graduating with Great Distinction, and recipient of the Bachelor of Education After Degree convocation prize.

Bushra Kainat, graduating with Distinction with her Baccalauréat en éducation secondaire, and recipient of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation Award

Join the celebration! Watch the Fall 2021 Convocation via Facebook livestream on today at 2 p.m https://www.facebook.com/events/301658671463816/

Alumni Spotlight – Joanna Sanders

Our spotlight today is shining on award-winning alumna Joanna Sanders (BEd’05), Director of Professional Learning for Let’s Talk Science, “a national, charitable organization that has been providing educational experiences to educators and their students at no cost to them for over 25 years.” In her role as director, Joanna leads a national team, that, “provides professional learning opportunities in STEM education to thousands of Canadian educators every year.”
 
In her career, Joanna has also served as the Consultant of Digital Fluency at the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education and as a French Immersion Teacher with Regina Public Schools. She is a Google Certified Innovator, a YouTube Star Teacher and an Apple Teacher with Swift Playgrounds recognition. She is the recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence (2011), and a Saskatchewan Ministry of Education recipient of the “Excellence in Education Award for Student First/Citizen-Centred” (2017). She was recognized in 2016 as a CBC Saskatchewan “Future 40.”
 
Looking back on her time as a student in the Baccalauréat en Éducation program in the Faculty of Education, Joanna feels she was well-prepared to teach, lead, and learn in the variety of educational roles she has served in: “The Bac program gave me the skills, confidence and knowledge to be a leader in my field in two languages. I learned how to be an innovator in my classroom so that I could support the best learning environment possible for my students. This has led to opportunities to become an educational leader at local, provincial and national levels.”
 
The most memorable experience for Joanna was her internship: “I got to put everything together that I had learned during my studies and put it into practice over many months in a real-life situation. After completing my internship I had much more confidence in my skills and abilities as an educator and I felt equipped to take on my first class as a new teacher the following year.”
 
Joanna recommends the Bac program, which she considers unique in that it is “led by a small team of professors who supported our growth in different classes. …Being known and supported by this team allowed me to customize my educational experience to fit my unique needs and goals as a student, while still following a core program of courses in my second language.”
 
As advice to new and future students, Joanna recommends our Education program: “This program is special. Having four years to learn, practice, reflect, and grow as an educator provided a solid foundation to be able to start a new career with confidence. It also instilled an appreciation for life-long learning as an education. Being a good learner is essential to being a good educator.”
 
What is most important to Joanna about earning her B.Ed with us is that, “The Faculty of Education at the University of Regina has a strong commitment to social justice. The learning experiences offered through this Faculty helped me grow my own worldview and perspectives and further solidified my life-long commitment as an advocate for equity and inclusion for all.”
 

New book: L’enseignement des traités en français

Congratulations to the Editors (alum) Lace Brogden (StFX) Andrea Sterzuk (UofR Education) and James Daschuk (UofR) on a new book L’enseignement des traités en français & to #UREdu faculty, students & alum chapter authors: Heather Phipps, Anna-Leah King, Michael Cappello, Claire Kreuger, Carrie Vany, Naomi Fortier-Fréçon, Leia Laing, Margo Campbell, and Sylvia Smith.

“Conçu pour appuyer l’enseignement des traités, cet ouvrage, orienté vers les enseignants en formation initiale et continue, met en valeur des approches pédagogiques et des apports théoriques ancrés dans le vouloir de veiller à la décolonisation. Ainsi, ce livre cherche à expliciter en quoi les pédagogues sont agents de changements et encourage l’adoption d’une approche proactive et anti-oppressive dans une pédagogie au service de l’appel à l’action no 62 de la Commission de vérité et de réconciliation du Canada (2015). Ainsi, les chapitres du livre adoptent une approche réfléchie, ayant pour but de préconiser une philosophie de l’enseignement qui dessert la population estudiantine, autant autochtone que non autochtone…” Read more https://www.pulaval.com/produit/l-enseignement-des-traites-en-francais

Le Bac student creating film series on Canadian languages

Le Bac #UREdu student Wahbi Zarry and Tony Quiñones have created a 1/2 hour film, 10 Days of Cree, which follows Zarry’s 10-day journey engaging with the larger community while working to learn the Cree language. This is the first of a planned educational webseries exploring Zarry’s experiences with Canadian indigenous languages

Interim President and Vice Chancellor Dr. Thomas Chase writes, “10 Days of Cree is a fine example of the quality work our students produce, and just as importantly, a fine example of reconciliation in action that should inspire and serve as an example for us all – particularly as we work to bring to life our new Strategic Plan, kahkiyaw kiwâhkômâkaninawak.”

Episode 2 on the Nakota language will be released in November. For updates follow Zarry’s Facebook site, Canadian Languages.

Canadian Languages is a webseries exploring indigenous languages of Canada through educational documentaries.

Click to read the University of Regina Feature Story