Category: Research

Award-winning master’s student researches immigrant mothers’ experience of their children’s language loss

Willow Iorga

Willow Iorga (MEd’22) was recently awarded one of two Spring 2022 Associate Dean’s Graduate Student Thesis Awards. Willow is currently an Employment Instructor (just promoted to Team Lead of Work Experience and Employer Relations) with the Open Door Society, where she teaches newcomers Canadian workplace skills. She has a BA in geography and an after degree in elementary teacher education, both from the University of Regina. Willow’s award-winning thesis is entitled, “The Immigrant Mother’s Experience of Their Children’s Heritage Language Loss.” What follows is Willow’s research story:

Willow grew up on Pender Island, BC, located off the west coast of Canada, on a 3-acre organic farm/garden. When she was 11, her parents introduced her to world travel, selling their Pender Island property and traveling to Hawaii, New Zealand, Fiji, Japan and Australia. “We backpacked and camped a lot,” says Willow, “Sometimes I liked traveling, but a lot of times I missed my friends back in Canada.” In Australia, Willow experienced a foreign school system. “It was really different, we had to wear uniforms, it was a lot more strict, they taught Japanese instead of French as a second language, and I was really behind in math,” she says.

It wasn’t so much these younger childhood experiences, however, that have given her insights into what it feels like to be a newcomer, informing her current work and research with newcomers. Willow points to living in Quebec in her late 20s as an experience that really helped her feel what it is like not to speak the language of the context in which one lives. “We were living outside of Montreal and no one spoke English and I was in language classes .… In my French classes, I couldn’t understand anything, unless they translated into English, I was just so lost all the time in that class. I know how confused and lonely that period in Quebec was.”

What led Willow to her research topic, immigrant mothers’ experiences of their children’s heritage language loss, was an experience teaching at the Regina Immigrant Women’s Centre, where the majority of her students were Syrian refugee mothers. Willow says, “They would come to class part time, all were homemakers, responsible for taking care of the children and cooking. They had virtually no time to do homework or practice outside of the class. It was a real struggle to make any progress. When we would chat we would use Google translate to communicate, so we could have real conversations. A lot of them would tell me that their kids were starting to forget Arabic. The kids were put into the school system, into ESL classes, and they were forgetting how to speak Arabic. I wondered, ‘How on earth can they have children that don’t speak the same language?’ cause they can’t communicate in English at all, how can they communicate with their kids? That’s why I chose this topic.”

Due to ethical considerations, Willow did not conduct her research with these particular mothers, but she had relationships with newcomer co-workers and peers who participated in her research. Willow’s findings include the following:

  • Language is fluid. It can be learned and lost at any age, by any family member, depending on their environment and whether one is using their language or not.
  • English quickly becomes the dominant language for newcomer children no matter how much reinforcement they receive at home.
  • Even if kids share a language, they will convert to English rather than their home language.
  • Online resources are important resources that parents can utilize in maintaining their children’s language. “For example, when I asked what mothers did to maintain their child’s language, they all used YouTube channels that they had their kids watch,” says Willow.
  • A lack of shared cultural framework can create a divide between mother and child.

What impressed Willow during her research is a story that a Chinese-speaking participant told her: “Her daughter was in Grade 4 or 5, and a new student who came from China joined their classroom. The teacher sat two Chinese Canadian girls next to the newcomer, to help the new student. But the girls couldn’t understand the newcomer. Even though they all spoke Chinese and understood the words, the context didn’t make sense,” says Willow. This story showed Willow how “language evolves and it is really dependent on context and culture. It’s not just the words.”

The recommendations coming out of Willow’s study target schools and administrators, settlement agencies, and the Government:

  • Schools and school administrators should move toward more inclusive linguistic policies in the classroom.
  • Settlement agencies should move toward more inclusive linguistic policies.
  • Governments should allocate greater resources towards language heritage centres and education.

Willow explains her use of “inclusive linguistic policies” saying, “In my research I found that as a teacher you don’t have to know, speak, or include the child’s language in the classroom. Your attitude alone toward that language can determine whether the student retains it or not. A lot of classrooms and workplaces have English-only rules.”

When asked what she hopes will be the outcome of her research, Willow responded, “For a lot of teachers to change the way they approach language; there are a lot of misconceptions, such as children need to know English to be successful and English needs to be dominant. If you have two or more languages, it is better for your brain development.”

As for future plans, at this point, Willow doesn’t plan to pursue a PhD. For the past four years, she has been a busy mom, full-time instructor at the Open Door Society, part-time teacher at the YWCA, and a master’s student, as well as while a student working as a teaching assistant or research assistant; she is now looking forward to some rest and a slower pace. That decision may or may not sit well with her dad, Dr. Patrick Lewis, a professor of early childhood education at the University of Regina, who was a major influence in her decision to pursue a career in the field of education (and also influenced her to take a thesis-route master’s program). Willow says, “When I was little, I would go to school with my dad who was a teacher, and then I would have to wait after school until he was done his prep work at the end of the day. I was always in his classroom. And when I had to do co-op hours for the career and personal planning program in high school, I always did those in my dad’s classroom.” Another influence was her teaching assistant work with Dr. Fatima Pirbhai-Illich, a professor of language and literacy education at the University of Regina. Willow says, “While I was a geography student, I was a teaching assistant for about 3 years and Fatima had a SSHRC grant and we were doing a pretty big project at Cornwall Alternative School. I was in the classroom a lot with the kids.”

After her geography degree, Willow earned a 2-year elementary education after degree. What Willow enjoyed about her after degree program in education was the internship and field experiences because, she says, “Instead of doing a degree with an idea in your head about the career, you get to be in that environment and decide if you actually want to be in that environment. I was in a Grade 2 class for my internship, and I really didn’t like it. I love kids but I don’t love trying to get them to do math, or be quiet at assemblies, or not hit each other on the playground.” When she graduated, Willow did not chose to apply to teach in a K-12 school system. She says, “You can do so many things with an education degree. There are so many possibilities; you don’t have to be in the K-12 system. I applied to settlement agencies to teach English with adults. When I started teaching I was assigned students who had really low English levels, the majority were refugee women from Syria or Sudan … I did have literacy skills from the elementary program but adult brains are pretty different. So I ended up going back to do my master’s.”

What makes education significant enough to choose a life career in it? Willow says, “I enjoy it. It’s that simple. You have to work your whole life and you have to spend your time doing something, and teaching is something that, no matter what, it’s always enjoyable, always different. I can always change things, and renew things. You have so much creative control. If I’m bored of something, I can change what we’re doing this week.”

 

Award-winning master’s student researches Indigenous language revitalization using video-chat technology

William (Bill) Cook (MEd’22) was recently awarded one of two Spring 2022 Associate Dean’s Graduate Student Thesis Awards. Bill is from wapâtikwaciwanohk (Southend, Reindeer Lake) Saskatchewan. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Brandon University in Manitoba. Bill has a BA in Cree Language Studies from the First Nations University of Canada and has taught Cree language at all levels for over 20 years. Bill’s award-winning thesis is entitled, “Indigenous Language Revitalization: Connecting Distant Cree Language Learners With Cree Language Speakers Using Video-Chat Technology.” The following is a Q & A with Bill about his research story:

Q & A with Bill Cook

Why did you chose to do your master’s degree (thesis route)?

I chose the thesis route because when I started considering doing my masters, I was told by a few people that if I were considering doing a PhD program after my masters, then going the thesis route would be beneficial to getting into PhD programs. For me, doing a thesis was much more beneficial than I thought. It taught me how to do a study, how to collect data, how to work with people as participants and co-researchers, and I learned some different methodologies both Indigenous and non-Indigenous on how to approach research. I feel that going this route prepared me to be a better researcher.

 Why did you choose the U of R?

I was a Cree sessional instructor at the First Nations University when I met Dr. Andrea Sterzuk. She had taken a couple of Cree courses that I taught. I had inquired about an EdTech grad program and Andrea mentioned a master’s program through the University of Regina’s Faculty of Education called Curriculum and Instruction, which included EdTech courses that interested me. She thought this would be a good fit. I agreed. I applied for the program and the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research and the Education Research and Graduate Programs offices were so helpful to me during this process. It also allowed for me to continue working close to home.

What were the circumstances that led to your research thesis topic?

My research topic was Indigenous Language Revitalization: Connecting Distant Cree Language Learners with Cree Language Speakers Using Video-Chat Technology. This topic was an easy choice for me to decide on. I have been teaching the Cree language for over 20 years at all levels of education from instructing kindergarten students to university courses. One question I have been asked by many language learners throughout the years has been “What do I do next to become fluent in the language?” and my answer is always to immerse themselves in the language and, if possible, to move into a community that predominantly speaks the target language. Most times, language learners are not able to move to those locations, which are typically First Nations communities. By identifying that distance was the barrier, I wanted to see if using technology to make these connections would be beneficial in language learning and also if this could be an option to anyone from anywhere for Cree speaking practice.

How did this topic become important to you?

I believe the work in Cree language revitalization is very important work. If we ever lose our Indigenous languages in this country of Canada then where do we go to learn them? This is our home, our land. Our Indigenous cultures, languages, traditions, identities stem from this land; the land is our language. This is all we have, we have nothing else, we can’t go anywhere else. We have a responsibility to reclaim, revitalize, preserve, and maintain our Indigenous languages.

What were your research findings?

In doing my research I found that having regular synchronous video-chats were effective in remote language learning in both language and culture. Fluent speakers can share their language and culture just by being themselves from wherever there is Internet access. Also, when working with non-tech savvy participants, you must assist with the technology or else find them someone they are comfortable with to assist them. Laughter was a dominant factor throughout the daily virtual conversations, having fun with your project is a good thing. It was enjoyable to see everyone getting more comfortable with speaking in Cree as much as they could. Video-chat technology is a good tool for connecting grandparent with grandchild; this grandparent/grandchild pair in my study made bannock in real-time while repeating Cree words of the process. (See video below).

What impacted you most about your findings?

What impacted me the most was that once the connections were made, the conversations began to flow naturally. The project began a life of its own and seemed to have a spirit of its own. The participants were able to adapt to technology. I am so grateful to all my participants for their work. The relationships built during this process allowed for the conversations to happen naturally. I wondered if the participants not being face-to-face would be able to achieve this connection and I was impressed that it had.

What was the highlight during the process?

The highlight for me was to get to do my study in my hometown and spend time with my family back home in Southend was a bonus. It reminded me of my childhood, growing up and doing things like netting, plucking ducks, filleting fish, making bannock, and cooking on an open fire. Another highlight was watching my participants, especially my parents, gaining confidence in using the tech tools. Lastly, hearing the Cree language being spoken between the learner and speaker was enjoyable to observe.

What recommendations did you make based on your research findings?

The recommendations I developed were:

  • The use of video-chat technology as a language learning tool is only one way to share language and culture.
  • Investing in tech tools that fit your language learning style is a good investment.
  • Finding ways to employ fluent speakers to share their language and culture using technology is a good step towards revitalizing, preserving, and maintaining language.
  • If you don’t know the protocols of the area then ask; there is nothing wrong with asking.
  • For communities: they can find ways to employ their fluent speakers within their organizations, training community members in technology-based language platforms is a good investment.
  • For schools, universities, and other organizations: they can help in Indigenous language and culture revitalization by incorporating fluent speakers and knowledge keepers within their education systems.

What do you hope will be the outcomes of your research?

I hope to see more opportunities like this study. When the pandemic hit everyone went online to spend time with each other, communicate, and speak, in all languages. I think I have reached an outcome of seeing more people using video-chat tech to communicate and practice language learning. Today, I see many platforms for Indigenous language learning. I hope people continue and grow.

What are your future plans?

My future plans are to continue working in Indigenous language and culture revitalization. I recently got accepted to the Hawaiian and Indigenous Language and Culture Revitalization Doctorate Program at the University of Hawaii in Hilo. I look forward to where that opportunity takes my work. I would like to create employment for fluent Indigenous language speakers with or without having Western education degrees/certificates. This is URGENT to do, as we are losing fluent speakers daily and many of them are not certified to teach in a Western setting. Why do we have to wait for fluent Indigenous language speakers to get certified to pass on their languages? I believe there is a way to incorporate and employ fluent language speakers into Indigenous language programs and courses. I am currently an Assistant Professor at Brandon University. There I will continue teaching the Cree language, creating opportunities for other Indigenous languages, and continued service work in the community and online. I have also been offering a weekly Cree speaking practice group called ‘The Cree Group’ using video-chat. We can be found through Facebook. My work continues with Indigenous languages and cultures using different platforms of technology.

What have been your experiences in the First Nations University of Canada and the University of Regina?

The First Nations University and the University of Regina were both supportive during my studies. All the professors and classmates made my experience enjoyable. The atmosphere was welcoming and I felt at home in these spaces. I give credit to the instructors for being so helpful. There were many opportunities to help me along the way which included study groups, writing groups, financial funding and other support systems that played a role in my success. I am thankful for that.

Who were your influences in deciding on a career in the field of education?

I have to give credit to my late brother and mentor Darren Okemaysim kakî-itît for influencing me in my career in teaching the Cree language. He was my teacher; I took many classes from him. He was my mentor, and gave me the opportunity to teach classes alongside him. He always encouraged me to speak the Cree language, rarely did we ever speak English to each other. He once told me “If you continue your work in the Cree language, you will never go wrong” and he was right. Also, my wife and parents are always supportive and influential of what I do. I feel I am on the right path; this is what I am meant to do. There is lots of work to be done in Indigenous language and culture revitalization.

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Links to Bill’s ongoing Cree language and culture work:

Facebook Group page (announcements) https://www.facebook.com/groups/1422458251268465

Bill’s Website where you can sign up for the Cree Group events: https://www.creeclass.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Programs appointed

Dr. Xia Ji has been appointed the Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Programs for a five year term, beginning July 1, 2022.

Dr. Ji joined the Faculty of Education in 2008 and teaches in the Science and Environmental Education subject area. From 2015 – 2020, she was the Director, Professional Development and Field Experiences in Education. Over the years, she has also served as the Chair of the Science & Environmental Education subject area and Chair of the Undergraduate Admissions, Studies & Scholarship Committee. She has also served on a number of other committees including: Executive of Council; Dean’s Advisory Committee on Sabbatical, Tenure, and Promotion; Dean’s Group; FGSR Scholarship Review Committee; Research & Graduate Program Development Committee in Education; and as a reviewer for the U of R Sustainability & Community Engagement Fund (SCEF). Recently she has been invited and joined the Delta Kappa Gamma Society (DKG) – Regina Chapter, which is an international coalition of women leaders in education, and the U of R’s Working Group on China Planning with the goal to strengthen partnership and collaboration with universities in China.

Dr. Ji’s work with and commitment to graduate students and programs, her administrative experience, her ability to think creatively and strategically, and the leadership she has provided to the Faculty of Education over the last several years position her well for her new role as Associate Dean.

Dr. Jerome Cranston
Dean/Professor
Faculty of Education

 

Queen Elizabeth II Centennial Aboriginal Scholarship

Congratulations to PhD student Jessica Madiratta for being awarded $20,000 for the 2022-2023 Queen Elizabeth II Centennial Aboriginal Scholarship.
“Jessica is obtaining a Doctorate of Philosophy in Education Studies from the University of Regina. Her research is the first of its kind in the province and will explore how building a community of educators over multiple culturally responsive professional development sessions can impact instruction in the classroom and benefit the academic achievement of Indigenous students. This scholarship is awarded annually based on academic excellence.” (Source: Saskatchewan Students)

Visit the website to read the announcement: https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/news-and-media/2022/may/17/2022-23-queen-elizabeth-ii-scholarship-recipients-announced

Spring 2022 Associate Dean’s Graduate Student Thesis Award recipients

Congratulations to Master’s students Willow Iorga and Bill Cook on being selected as the two  recipients of the Spring 2022 Associate Dean’s Graduate Student Thesis Award!

The Faculty of Education Associate Dean’s Graduate Student Thesis Award was established in 2021 to recognize outstanding academic performance of thesis-based graduate students (Masters and PhD) in Education.

This $2,000 award is granted to a student in a graduate program in the Faculty of Education who has exemplified academic excellence and research ability, demonstrated leadership ability and/or university/community involvement, and whose thesis was deemed meritorious by the Examining Committee.

Successful defense | Dr. Donna Swapp

Congratulations to Dr. Donna Swapp, who successfully defended her dissertation “School Principals’ Work in Grenada” on Monday, March 21, 2022 from Western University.

Supervisor: Dr. Katina Pollock, Western University
External: Dr. Kirk Anderson, Memorial University
Internal Examiners (Western University): Dr. Gus Riveros (Faculty of Education); Dr. Suzanne Majhanovich (Faculty of Education); Dr. Yasaman Rafat (Modern Languages & Cultures)
Chair of the defense (Western University): Dr. Betty Anne Younker (Faculty of Music)

Donna’s thesis has been nominated for the Cecile DePass Award for best doctoral thesis by a student from the Caribbean and for the the Canadian Association for the Studies of Educational Administration (CASEA) Thomas B. Greenfield Dissertation Award, presented to the author of the best doctoral dissertation in educational administration and leadership completed in a Canadian university during the previous year.

University of Regina and Canadian School Boards Association (CSBA) sign equity, diversity, and inclusion research agreement

The Canadian School Boards Association (CSBA) and University of Regina’s Faculty of Education are pleased to announce a new $93,450 research agreement, in which the Faculty of Education will conduct research and provide deliverables for Phase 2 of the CSBA’s anti-racism strategy.

“Systemic anti-racism is a fundamental priority for the CSBA and its member organizations,” states CSBA President Laurie French. “Review and revision of policies, including organizational structure and procedures, has enormous potential for permanent change to set direction and expectations for local school systems as a component of this work. We are pleased and impressed that improving equity, diversity, and inclusion is unanimously supported by the Board of Directors on behalf of their local school boards, and we are very grateful to be led and supported by the exceptional team at the University of Regina.”

The CSBA has completed Phase 1 of an anti-racism strategy which included self-assessments of the CSBA Board of Directors and a review of CSBA Policies. Phase 2 will include:

  • Developing a plan for implementing Phase 1 policy recommendations;
  • Developing equity, diversity and inclusion self-assessment documents for member associations and their respective school boards in communities across Canada;
  • Launching a national campaign to increase the diversity of locally elected school boards; and
  • Creating governance and trustee learning modules to increase awareness of the systemic racism in Canada that continues to disadvantage students and families who are Indigenous, Black or otherwise racialized.

“In response to the momentum around acknowledging and seeking to address systemic racism in Canadian society, the Faculty of Education — whose commitments are fundamentally grounded in the belief that schools can be incubators for truly just and pluralistic societies – is grateful to be able to partner with the Canadian School Boards Association,” says Dr. Jerome Cranston, Dean of the Faculty of Education and principal investigator for the research project.

The project will be supported by the newly formed Centre for Educational Research, Collaboration, & Development (CERCD), which was established, according to Dr. Andrea Sterzuk, Director of the CERCD, “to support educational researchers and research communities in conducting educational research and development projects that are meaningful to, and serve the needs of, diverse communities in local, provincial, national, and/or international contexts.”

The project is in alignment with the stated objectives of both the CSBA and the Faculty of Education. The CSBA states that it is “committed to promoting equal access opportunities for all students … by working to remove systemic barriers, address racism and adopt an intentional approach to equity, diversity, and inclusion in the work of provincial school board associations.” And the Faculty of Education “aspires to be a leader in innovative and anti-oppressive undergraduate and graduate research, scholarship, teaching, learning and service.” (Strategic Plan 2021 – 2026)

This project is being conducted from January 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023.

For an interview with Dr. Jerome Cranston, please contact him directly by email: education.dean@uregina.ca

For an interview with CSBA, please contact executivedirector@cdnsba.org

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L’Université de Regina et l’Association canadienne des commissions/conseils scolaires (ACCCS) signent un accord de recherche sur l’équité, la diversité et l’inclusion

L’Association canadienne des commissions/conseils scolaires (ACCCS) et la Faculté d’éducation de l’Université de Regina sont heureux d’annoncer un nouvel accord de recherche de 93 450 $, selon lequel la Faculté d’éducation effectuera des travaux de recherche et fournira des résultats tangibles dans le cadre de la phase 2 de la stratégie de lutte contre le racisme de l’ACCCS.

« La lutte contre le racisme systémique est une priorité fondamentale pour l’ACCCS et ses organismes membres », d’affirmer Laurie French, présidente de l’ACCCS. « L’examen et la révision des politiques, y compris la structure et les procédures organisationnelles, offrent un énorme potentiel de changement permanent qui fixe une orientation et des attentes pour les systèmes scolaires locaux comme composante de ce travail. Nous sommes enchantés et impressionnés du fait que le conseil d’administration, au nom des commissions/conseils scolaires locaux, appuie à l’unanimité l’amélioration de l’équité, la diversité et l’inclusion, et sommes très reconnaissants de la direction et du soutien apportés par l’équipe exceptionnelle de l’Université de Regina. »

L’ACCCS a terminé la phase 1 d’une stratégie de lutte contre le racisme qui comportait des autoévaluations du conseil d’administration de l’Association ainsi qu’un examen de ses politiques. La phase 2 comprendra :

  • L’élaboration d’un plan de mise en œuvre des recommandations stratégiques de la phase 1;
  • L’élaboration de documents d’autoévaluation de l’équité, la diversité et l’inclusion à l’intention des associations membres et de leurs commissions/conseils scolaires respectifs dans les communautés partout au Canada;
  • Le lancement d’une campagne nationale visant à accroître la diversité des commissions/conseils scolaires élus à l’échelle locale; et
  • La création de modules d’apprentissage sur la gouvernance à l’intention des commissaires et des conseillers scolaires en vue d’accroître la sensibilisation au racisme systémique au Canada qui continue de désavantager les élèves et les familles autochtones, de race noire ou de minorités raciales.

« En réponse à l’élan autour de la reconnaissance du racisme systémique au sein de la société canadienne et du désir de l’éliminer, la Faculté d’éducation – dont les engagements sont fondamentalement ancrés dans la conviction que les écoles peuvent servir de pépinières de sociétés véritablement justes et pluralistes – est heureuse de pouvoir établir un partenariat avec l’Association canadienne des commissions/conseils scolaires », d’affirmer le Dr Jerome Cranston, doyen de la Faculté d’éducation et chercheur principal du projet de recherche.

Le projet sera appuyé par le nouveau Centre for Educational Research, Collaboration, & Development (CERCD), qui, selon la Dre Andrea Sterzuk, Directrice du CERCD, a été créé « pour soutenir les chercheurs en éducation et les communautés de recherche dans la réalisation de recherches en éducation et de projets de développement qui sont importants pour les communautés diversifiées et qui répondent à leurs besoins dans des contextes locaux, provinciaux, nationaux et/ou internationaux. »

Le projet est conforme aux objectifs énoncés de l’ACCCS et de la Faculté d’éducation. L’ACCCS souligne qu’elle s’est « engagée à promouvoir l’égalité des chances pour tous les élèves … en déployant des efforts pour lever les obstacles systémiques, éliminer le racisme et adopter une approche délibérée à l’équité, la diversité et l’inclusion dans le travail des associations provinciales de commissions/conseils scolaires. » Pour sa part, la Faculté d’éducation « vise à être un chef de file en matière de recherche, d’érudition, d’enseignement, d’apprentissage et de service novateurs et anti-oppression aux cycles premier et supérieurs. » (Plan stratégique 2021-2026 [traduction libre])

Le projet se déroule à partir du 1er janvier 2022 jusqu’au 30 juin 2023.

Pour une entrevue avec le Dr Jerome Cranston, prière de lui écrire directement par courriel : education.dean@uregina.ca

Pour une entrevue avec l’ACCCS, prière d’écrire à executivedirector@cdnsba.org

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About the University of Regina
The University of Regina—with campuses located on Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 territories, the ancestral lands of the Cree, Saulteaux, Dakota, Lakota and Nakoda nations and the homeland of the Métis—is a comprehensive, mid-sized university that traces its roots back to the creation of Regina College in 1911. Today, more than 16,000 students study within the University’s 10 faculties, 25 academic departments/schools, 18 research centres and institutes, and three federated colleges (Campion College, First Nations University of Canada, and Luther College). The University of Regina has an established reputation for excellence and innovative programs that lead to undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

About the Canadian School Boards Association
The Canadian School Boards Association (CSBA) represents members from member associations serving close to four million elementary and secondary school students throughout Canada. Through its support of the public school systems, the CSBA supports excellence in school board governance and is committed to providing tools, leadership, professional development, and communication opportunities to trustees and commissioners across Canada as well as advocating for them on shared, national issues.

New book reconceptualizing science education

New Book! Congratulations to Dr. Jesse Bazzul and co-editors on their new open-access book titled, Reimagining Science Education in the Anthropocene” with chapters by #UREdu‘s Dr. Xia Ji, “‘Trees Don’t Sing!…Eagle Feather Has no Power!’—Be Wary of the Potential Numbing Effects of School Science”; Miranda Field, “Decolonizing Healing Through Indigenous Ways of Knowing”; and Dr. Jesse Bazzul (co-author), “A Feral Atlas for the Anthropocene: An Interview with Anna L. Tsing.”

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Education and the Environment book series (PSEE)

Editors Maria F. G. Wallace; Jesse Bazzul; Marc Higgins; Sara Tolbert

This book:
“Reconceptualizes science education in ways that center the concerns and interests of marginalized people.”

“Encourages multimodality in expression, including the use of pictures, graphics, multimedia, and different genres of writing.”

Download at https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-79622-8

Faculty Spotlight – Dr. Cristyne Hébert

Faculty Spotlight! We’re shining the spotlight on faculty members this fall so you can get to know some of the faces around the Faculty of Education.

Meet Dr. Cristyne Hébert, Associate Professor in the areas of assessment, education research, and digital literacies since July 2018.

Dr. Hébert is passionate about stress-free, learning-focused and equitable assessment. She says, “I am a strong believer that assessment practices should not be punitive. I do not deduct late marks, and students are given the opportunity in all of my classes to revise and resubmit assignments. My hope is that this approach both reduces stress and creates a more learning-focused and equitable classroom for my students, and that they carry some of these practices into their future classrooms.”

Why should students consider taking courses in assessment? Because, “it’s important that new teachers think critically about their assessment practices, moving away from some of those traditional approaches that we know don’t support all learners. Teacher education gives future teachers the space to really practice and try on something new,” says Dr. Hébert.

Digital literacies are another area of study that Dr. Hébert considers important for students: “We live in such a digitally mediated world. As educators, we need to know more than just what to do with technological tools. Developing a deep understanding of how media shapes lived experiences, and how power operates (often covertly) within systems to limit access and participation is of fundamental importance.”

Dr. Hébert’s current research involves both assessment and digital literacies. She recently (2020) received a SSHRC Insight Development Grant for her study on multimodal learning and assessment practices in the province. As part of a larger SEED grant-funded project, Dr. Hébert says, “I am currently analyzing provincial school divisions’ assessment policies, focusing on modernizing provincial assessment.”  Dr. Hébert has a few other research projects underway, “working with both in-service and preservice teachers to look at how maker education might be enacted in the classroom.”

As advice for Education students, Dr. Hébert says, “Visit your professors during office hours. We set aside this time to meet with students to answer questions or talk through any course content or assignments, and are happy to see you there.”

If you are interested in taking a course with Dr. Hébert, she regularly teaches ECS401 (online): “This course takes a backward-design approach to assessment, narrowing in on curricular outcomes. Students gain experience with formative assessment, assessment tools, peer and self assessment, triangulation, and differentiation. My two favourite elements of the course are the assessment videos we watch, created by practicing teachers in the province, and the Rick Rant assignment, where students produce a three minute argumentative ‘paper.'” And she teaches EC&I 832 (online): “This course takes a critical look at digital citizenship and media literacies, focusing on how we might empower (rather than protect) young media users. Some themes we address include algorithms, technology and surveillance, memes and visual literacies, propaganda and fake news, and policing on line spaces. My favourite element of this course is the weekly collaborative work students produce, via Google Docs, applying their learning to analyze media.”

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