Category: U of R Front Page Stories (Education)

Led by recent M.Ed. grad, Brittany Frick, Ituna School club runs on Girl Power!

Sometimes it’s the simple act of asking a question that can get a girl into trouble.

Ituna, 165 km north of Regina, is home to a small but mighty extra-curricular club for grades 4-6 students who identify as female. Girl Power, the creation of Ituna School principal and University of Regina alumna Brittany Frick, meets several times a year to discuss empowerment and opportunities for girls.

When ten Girl Power members, along with Frick and a parent chaperone, joined five women in University leadership around a boardroom table at the U of R on June 11, the girls came armed with a series of questions and stories of their own.

“I was made fun of when I asked, ‘Do cats run faster than dogs?’” said one of the grade 4 participants. “I just really wanted to know.”

Dr. Gina Grandy, Associate Dean Research and Graduate Studies and Incoming Dean of Business Administration, knows well the power of a question.

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions,” she shared with the girls. “Your belly may turn over, but don’t be afraid to ask even if it doesn’t come out just right. Questioning, and mistakes, are what help us learn.”

Grandy is the RBC Women in Leadership Scholar and the roundtable event was supported by the RBC Women Executive in Residence, the Hill and Levene Schools of Business, and Ituna School.

Girl Power roundtable participants from Ituna School talk with women in leadership at the University of Regina about empowerment. Photo: U of R Photography

Rae Staseson, Dean of Media, Art, and Performance, agreed. “Be curious, open, talk about things that matter to you, and ask questions!”

“I encourage each of you to talk to your teacher or someone you know who has gone to university. Ask them their story and what you need to do and how to do it,” shared Dr. Andrea Sterzuk, Acting Dean of Education.

Dr. Judy White, Dean of Social Work, shared that it was only later in life that she has found out about other career opportunities. “As a girl, I never knew that marine biology, for example, existed.” She encouraged the girls to take the time to be curious, travel, and consider every possibility before making their career choices.

Dr. Vianne Timmons, the University’s President and Vice-Chancellor, asked for a show of hands of how many of the girls were surprised that she was the president of a university.

As several hands went up, she asked why.

“Because you’re not a boy,” one student was quick to respond.

Timmons came from a strict East Coast family where, she said, roles were defined by gender early on.

“Our chores, as girls, were to do the dishes and clean the house. And we were told to be ‘nice girls,” she said. “Listen to how many times girls are told to be ‘nice.’ Boys are not.”

Heads nodded in agreement as Staseson stated, “That’s true. Caring, compassion, and empathy tend to be thought of as feminine traits. We are judged for how well we do those things and for how we look and even how we age; our male counterparts do not usually receive the same judgment.”

“I was bullied – they called me fat and lazy,” says a grade six student responding to a question by President Timmons about if the students had experienced bullying.

Unfortunately, many of the girls and women around the table were able to recall times when they had been bullied.

“Ask the why question,” another student offered. “That’s what we’re taught. Ask why the person is bullying you and let someone in authority know what’s going on.”

“Hang around people who lift you up, friends that make you feel good about who you are,” advised President Timmons. “And always look for opportunities and take them as they come your way.”

After the roundtable, Frick shared that, “The importance of a club like Girl Power is about helping students to realize that there are no limitations on their success. That being a girl is in no way a limitation. The roundtable proved that and was a great way for the club to end the year.”

Before heading home, Girl Power members were treated to lunch in the Riddell Centre and a tour of the University with another U of R graduate, Erica Chan, a member of the U of R Recruitment Services team.

By Katherine Cormack U of R Front Page Story

Education professor wins national award for innovative teaching practices

Dr. Alec Couros says, “I’ve been extremely fortunate to have worked alongside passionate students who transform our courses into vibrant communities of learning.”  Photo credit: U of R Photography

In this wild connected world, it’s helpful to have a guide.

Dr. Alec Couros is guide, mentor, and technological guru for his students in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina, as well as youth, corporations, and government ministries, as they navigate the labyrinth of digital literacies, technology integration, and digital citizenship.

His innovative approach is so widely respected that he will receive the 2018 D2L Innovation Award in Teaching and Learning from the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE), a Canadian organization that strives to enhance teaching.

“I’m honoured to have received this award,” says Couros, professor of educational technology and media in the Faculty of Education. “This means a lot to me because it recognizes the peer-driven pedagogical approach that I use in my classes. This approach demands a high degree of student participation, and I’ve been extremely fortunate to have worked alongside passionate students who transform our courses into vibrant communities of learning.”

The award, to be presented on June 20 to a total of five educators across Canada during the annual STLHE conference in Sherbrooke, Québéc, recognizes those at the forefront of innovation both within their academic institutions and higher education more broadly.

“These educators are demonstrating significant innovation and inspiring the future of learning. Their achievements are making learning experiences better and enabling students to excel,” said John Baker, President and CEO of D2L, an organization that promotes online learning.

Couros is being recognized specifically for his innovative educational technology-facilitated student engagement assignments, including the #ETMOOC lipdub assignment where creative relationship-building occurs among 12,000 students from different countries. Couros’ students create effective personal learning networks that transcend the boundaries of the course and gain competence using a wide spectrum of educational technology tools, while establishing their online identity.

“Preparing the next generation of teachers is important work, and there are few people in Canada who do it in with the same level of innovation and enthusiasm as Dr. Couros. This award, which recognizes his commitment to using different technological resources and approaches to empower his students, could not be more timely or well-deserved,” says University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Vianne Timmons.

This is the latest honour for Couros. He was awarded the University of Regina Teaching Award for Excellence for Innovation in Teaching in 2015.


Members of the public are welcome to attend a free presentation by Dr. Couros: Understanding scholarship in a digital world at Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences on Sunday, May 27 from 10:30 a.m. to noon, room 228, Education Building at the U of R. Couros will outline the potential power of engaging in networked forms of scholarship and will provide participants with strategies and tools to assist academics in participating meaningfully in digital spaces.

By Dale Johnson Posted: May 25, 2018


Treaty4Project inspires new way to offer treaty education in Regina

(l-r) Leia Laing, Governor General Julie Payette and Naomi Fortier-Fréçon at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. Photo courtesy of VCpl Vincent Carbonneau

Naomi Fortier-Fréçon and Leia Laing are still relatively early in their teaching careers but they have already left an important legacy.

This past November, Fortier-Fréçon and Laing, both graduates of the U of R, received the Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching. Governor-General Julie Payette, presented the award at a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

They were recognized for co-founding the Treaty4Project in 2014 while they were teachers at Regina’s Campbell Collegiate High School.

Fortier-Freçon, while still teaching, is a U of R student once again, working on her PhD.

“When we accepted this honour we were very happy to see that our project was recognized at a national level,” says Fortier-Fréçon. “A lot of work and effort was put into this project and it was very exciting to see how this education project has evolved since it began in 2014.”

The Treaty4Project 2015 mural is on display at Regina’s Scott Collegiate. Photo courtesy of Leia Laing

The idea for the project came when Laing and Fortier-Fréçon concluded that students were not receiving the treaty education required.

So they started working on a program.

“First, the inspiration was to find a way to ‘think outside the box’ and find a creative way to teach about treaty education,” says Laing. “We were troubled by the reality that our students seemed to know very little about treaty education and when they knew something we noticed that they weren’t necessarily applying their knowledge in their lives. Therefore, they seemed to know the “right answer” on paper, but unfortunately that reality was not reflected in their actions or relationship with their friends and the community around them.”

The teachers started developing their idea. They searched for input. They approached Calvin Racette who was the Indigenous Education Coordinator with Regina Public Schools.

Racette supported the project from the beginning and suggested the teachers include Noel Starblankett, Knowledge Keeper at the University of Regina and Sandra Bellegarde, Indigenous Education Consultant with Regina Public Schools.

“Noel Starblanket was essential in the creation of this educational project,” says Fortier-Fréçon. “His presence allowed us to learn in a personal way about the importance of treaties. He also guided us regarding the respect of Indigenous protocols and offered support to our students.”

More people came onboard and the project “quickly snowballed into a group of inspired, passionate members who became the founding committee. Together we started to imagine the Treaty4Project,”says Fortier-Fréçon.

The principal aim of the project is for student to understand their generation’s relationship with Treaty 4 in Saskatchewan. The project provides students with an opportunity to engage with community members including elders, Indigenous artists, university professors, activists, and education students.

Laing had the idea to use art to help the students reflect about the meaning of treaties in a creative context. The result was a major mural project with Cri-Métis artist Ray Keighley at Regina’s Scott Collegiate in 2015.

A second mural created in 2017 and created with Cri-Ojibway artist Lloyd Dubois is on display at the library at École Elsie Mironuck Community School in Regina.

(l-r) Naomi Fortier-Fréçon, Noel Starblanket, Knowledge Keeper at the U of R and Leia Laing.

The Treaty4Project founding committee worked on organizing a youth conference to deepen the knowledge previously taught in the classroom and allow members of the community to share their stories with the students. Elders were regularly brought into classes.

More than 200 students from four high schools took part in the first conference in 2015. Two more conferences followed and now a fourth one is scheduled for 2018.

“The Treaty4Project has allowed us to have the opportunity to work in collaboration and build relationships among students, teachers and institutions and this is what we believe to be the true meaning of reconciliation,” says Fortier-Fréçon.

Says Laing: “Using personal stories from guest speakers, our students are invited to unlearn the official narrative and open their heart to other realities that they might not be aware of. Understanding these stories helped our students access a more inclusive history narrative and acknowledge that they have the privilege of living here because in the past a treaty was signed.”

Leia Laing is now teaching Grade 6 at École Monseigneur de Laval. She earned her Bachelor of Education at the U of R in 2008.

Naomi Fortier-Fréçon teaches French Immersion at École Elsie Mironuck Community School in Regina. She earned her Bachelor of Education at the U of R in 2007 and her Master of History at Université de Sherbooke in 2010. She is currently a PhD student in the Faculty of Education working under the supervision of Dr. Fadila Boutouchent.

Laing and Fortier-Fréçon say this project was made possible thanks to the support from:

Saskatchewan Arts Board
First Nations University of Canada
Faculty of Education (U of R)
The McDowell Foundation
Regina public schools

Founding Committee Members:

Noel Starblanket
Calvin Racette
Sandra Bellegarde
Monique Bowes
Hillary Ibbott-Neiszner
Dr. Angelina Weenie
Dr. Kathleen O’Reilly from First Nations University of Canada
Artists Ray Keighley and Lloyd Dubois.

The teaching team since 2015 are all U of R Education alumni:

Heather Findlay – Martin Collegiate
Tamara Ryba – Scott Collegiate
Tana Mitchell – Balfour Collegiate
Tiffany Agopsowicz – Martin Collegiate
Janine Taylor and Jessica Moser – Sheldon Williams
Elizabeth Therrien – Campbell Collegiate
Tracey Ellis – FW Johnson High School.

Other Presenters and Supporters:

Dr. Shauneen Pete (former Indigenous Lead/U of R)
Dr. Anna-Leah King (Faculty of Education)
Dr. Jennifer Tupper (Former Dean of the Faculty of Education)
Dr. James Daschuk, (U of R)
Rap singer Brad Bellegarde (aka InfoRed)
Cadmus Delorme (Chief of the Cowessess First Nation)
Dr. Mike Cappello (Education Faculty) and many more presenters from 2015 to the present day.

University of Regina feature story by Costa Maragos

International graduate students bring diverse viewpoints on Indigenization of adult education classes

By Costa Maragos

Graduate students with diverse backgrounds have come together with a common goal of decolonizing adult learning.

The graduate course, Trends and Issues in Indigenous Adult Education, explores research, theory, and the practice of trends, issues, and perspectives in Indigenous learning.

Students from six countries were in the class from Brazil, Canada, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka. The diversity speaks to the higher number of international students who are choosing to further their studies at the University of Regina.

Having such a mix of backgrounds and viewpoints in one class made for some eye-opening perspectives on trends and issues involved in decolonizing adult learning in order to improve Indigenous education.

The class was led by Dr. Cindy Hanson, Associate Professor of Adult Education/Human Resource Development in the Faculty of Education.

“The class was important in this case because it was a coming together of international and Indigenous students in a very organic way and with a broad range of understandings regarding history, culture, and politics in Indigenous Adult Education,” says Hanson. “The course offered an opportunity to put this into practice. Experiences from the field of adult learning were built into the content.”

Many also feel little has been done to build structures and programs in communities for adult learning about decononization and Indigenous issues. They see this class as a good start. The students appreciated the participatory approach to Hanson’s class, allowing for discussions.

The students frequently exchanged and shared ideas on indigenization of education from their perspectives. Shown here are Nadeeka Obada Lekamlage (l) and Twana White (R).

José Wellington Sousa is from Brazil and is working on his PhD in Adult Education at the U of R. He has earned a BA in Economics and a Masters of Science in Administration at the University of Amazonia in Brazil.

“The class was a great example of what is going on in Canada right now. I can see the diversity in the classroom. We can learn from each other. We had many nations and sharing and reflecting on Indigenous education,” says Sousa. “In Brazil, we are kind of behind in the discussions of decolonization. So we are not even talking about reconciliation and addressing the injustice. I see this class as an opportunity to understand and learn.”

Issah Gyimah, who earned his Bachelor of Education at the University of South Africa, grew up in the post-Apartheid era. He’s taught in South Africa, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia. He started his studies at the U of R in September.

“Coming from Africa and knowing about Apartheid, colonization, and racism, I have learned a lot from here and this class,” says Gyimah. “It has changed my perspective on how I see things. This class is a good foundation.”

Gyimah points out that adult education in South Africa is a growing area and a field that is not completely developed.

“We’ve been looking at children, but adults have influence on the children. There is a backlog of adults who did not get an education so this has left a big gap in South Africa,” he says.

“You realize with such a diverse class…you become more conscious about the impact colonization has on people.” -Student Cantelle Renwick

Pauline Copland earned her Education Degree from Arctic College in Nunavut. She’s working towards her masters in curriculum and instruction at the U of R. Her first language is Inuktikut.

“From the readings and talking to my classmates, I learned things about our Canadian history, even my own history, like residential schools. It affected who I am without knowing,” says Copland, who appreciates the class diversity. “Compared to where I went to school, coming here looks like the whole world is here. The diversity is really nice, meeting people from different countries.”

The class includes one student from Saskatchewan, who sees her experience and diverse views as an asset that will help her down the road.

Chantelle Renwick has a Business Degree from the U of R and a graduate diploma in teaching from New Zealand. It was her experience in New Zealand that started her passion for Indigenous education. She’s working on her masters in Indigenous Education.

“What we hear over and over is that colonization has happened in so many part of the world and that Indigenous people have been dealing with the loss of culture and language,” says Renwick, who is an instructor of Office Administration at Saskatchewan Polytechnic in Regina.

“You realize with such a diverse class the different history and different feelings and perspective that the adult learners bring to the classroom. You become more conscious about the impact colonization has on people.”

The final class December 5, in the presence of elder Alma Poitras, featured a discussion about what the students learned and how it could be applied to their workplace or personal lives.

The classes also featured speakers including elders, a speaker from the Office of the Treaty Commission, a Metis lawyer storyteller, a talk by the U of R’s James Daschuk author of Clearing The Plains, and a fieldtrip to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum led by curator Dr. Evelyn Siegfried.

“Decolonizing adult education is a current theme in the field of adult education and a critical perspective on how to do this with a range of learners is important,” says Hanson.

The University of Regina has enjoyed an increase of graduate students. As of the Fall 2017, 1,902 graduate students are furthering their studies at the University.

A fresh take on teaching the teacher: U of R educator receives national honour

By Costa Maragos Posted: November 16, 2017 6:00 a.m.

Dr. Pamela Osmond-Johnson is assistant professor of Education Administration. U of R Photography

Dr. Pamela Osmond-Johnson is assistant professor of Education Administration.

Just back to classroom teaching having completed her Masters of Education at Memorial University, Pamela Osmond-Johnson was ecstatic when a former professor invited her to present one of her papers at a research conference. Her enthusiasm waned, however, when her request for a few days off from teaching in order to travel and attend the conference was denied by the local school board.

“A light bulb went on for me at that very moment: I had received a clear message that my involvement in education research was not perceived as an important part of my work as a teacher.”

That experience set Osmond-Johnson on a two-fold mission: to improve the quality of professional learning opportunities available to teachers and to promote an ‘activist teaching profession’ that sees teachers engage in collaborative learning, leadership, and decision-making processes in the classroom and beyond.

Dr. Pamela Osgood-Johnson is the co-author of Empowered Educators in Canada: How High-Performing Systems Shape Teaching Quality. Her collaboration on numerous high-profile research projects is getting noticed; Dr. Osmond Johnson (she received her PhD from the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education), was recently honoured by the EdCan Network with The Pat Clifford Award for Early Career Research in Education.

The prestigious award recognizes the work of emerging researchers – their research contributions, their promise, and their commitment to breaking new ground or revisiting commonly held assumptions in education policy, practice or theory in Canada.

The EdCan Network, an independent national organization with more than 75,000 members, gives a voice to educators working in Canada’s K-12 education.

In announcing the award, the Selection Committee stated that it “was impressed with the relevancy and originality” of Osmond-Johnson’s work.

“Dr. Osmond-Johnson maintains teacher professionalism as a central tenet of student success, and her research revealing the gaps that exist in access to high-quality professional learning underpins a significant avenue for improving quality of teaching and learning,” says Dr. Michele Jacobsen, Professor and Associate Dean at the University of Calgary’s Werklund School of Education, and Chair of the Pat Clifford Award Selection Committee.

“I am hopeful that this award will bring attention to the importance of teacher-led professional learning in Saskatchewan and across the country, reminding those in decision-making positions that teacher learning is a key component in school and student success,” says Osmond-Johnson, Assistant Professor of Education Administration at the U of R.

Dr. Osmond-Johnson’s work to date includes co-author credit for Empowered Educators in Canada, a bestseller in education administration textbooks on

She is the co-investigator of The State of Professional Learning in Canada project that involves a research team studying professional development across Canada.

In Saskatchewan, Osmond-Johnson is leading a research project that’s exploring the facilitator community, an initiative where classroom teachers develop professional development for their fellow educators.

Internationally, Dr. Osmond-Johnson has contributed to a comparative study of teacher Professional Development policies and practices in Canada, Finland, China, Singapore, and Australia.

Joining the Faculty of Education at the U of R in 2015, Osmond-Johnson advocates for a shift away from the traditional ‘sit and get’ approach.

“As a university professor, I work heavily with my students – both at the undergraduate and graduate levels – to model what is sometimes called a ‘professional learning community’ or a ‘community of practice,’” she says. “At the undergraduate level, I try to emphasize the importance of teacher as learner. I tell my teacher candidates, ‘If you think that you don’t need to learn something new every single day for the rest of your career, then you’re in the wrong career.’”

Osmond-Johnson’s groundbreaking research and refreshing approach have the potential to redefine the teaching profession.

Hey teachers – math got you puzzled? New program may be the key

If you have unpleasant memories taking mathematics in elementary school, you’re not alone.

Your teacher may have felt the same way.

Surveys show that less than 30% of elementary teachers and preservice elementary teachers describe their own experience of learning mathematics as positive.

Teachers confided in one survey as feeling “high anxiety over mathematics” and struggling to “explain things in different ways if students ‘don’t get it.’ ”

Now, the University of Regina is offering a new certificate program – Teaching Elementary School Mathematics.

It’s a 10-course, 30-credit hour, certificate designed primarily for elementary (K-8) school teachers who teach mathematics.

Applications are now being accepted for sessions in Fall 2017 and Winter 2018.

“This certificate responds to the limited educational means previously available at the U of R or elsewhere in the province to address teachers’ concerns,” says Dr. Kathleen Nolan, Professor of Mathematics Education at the Faculty of Education.

Nolan, in consultation with colleagues from the mathematics education subject area and the Faculty of Education student program office, designed the certificate program.

Nolan is well aware of the anxieties faced by some elementary school mathematics teachers.

She sought feedback in a research study, which was funded through an Insight Grant from Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

In that study, Nolan surveyed three school divisions in southern Saskatchewan as well as some stakeholders connected with mathematics education, including parents, to understand perceptions of teaching elementary school mathematics

The study showed that only about half of the teachers and preservice teachers surveyed relayed feeling very comfortable with the mathematics concepts they were expected to teach. In fact, most respondents expressed some level of discomfort.

“A majority from each stakeholder group we contacted thought it was very important that teachers develop a deep understanding of the mathematics they teach. This was the prevailing view especially among parents of children in grades 6 to 8,” says Nolan.

Nolan thinks the certificate program will provide welcome professional development opportunities.

“There are many benefits in connection with more professional development in mathematics for K-8 teachers,” says Nolan. “These benefits include additional qualifications, expertise and confidence, as well as positive attitudes toward and a passion for mathematics.”

This past July, Nolan and Russell each taught one of the 10 courses to officially launch the certificate program— a course in culturally responsive pedagogy and one in mathematical modeling and representation.

Other courses in the program include:

  • Implementation and assessment of problem-solving in mathematics.
  • Mathematics in the inclusive classroom: Assessment and intervention
  • Number sense for the elementary school mathematics teacher.

Please visit here for more information on the Teaching Elementary School Mathematics certificate program.

Current Faculty of Education students are also encouraged to apply, either for the full certificate program or to take program courses as electives in their current program of study.

For more information please contact the Faculty of Education Student Program Office.

By Costa Maragos Posted: August 2, 2017 6:00 a.m.


Also read:

New U of R course is designed to make better math teachers

Celebrating the success of new teachers in Nunavut

President Timmons with the graduating class in Arviat, Nunavut. Photo courtesy of Nunavut Artic College

President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Vianne Timmons recently participated in graduation ceremonies for students in Nunavut, who studied in a partnership offered by the U of R and Nunavut Arctic College.

The ceremonies were held on June 1 in Arviat, which is 1,300 kilometres northeast of Regina, and on June 2 in Rankin Inlet, almost 1,600 km northeast of Regina. The communities are on the west coast of Hudson Bay, north of Manitoba.

“Holding graduation ceremonies in Arviat and Rankin Inlet brings out the whole community,” she says. “It is inspiring to see how much a university degree means not just to these students, but also to those around them.”

The students graduated from the Nunavut Teacher Education Program (NTEP), a partnership between the U of R’s Faculty of Education and Nunavut Arctic College that began in 2007. It is the only sanctioned Bachelor of Education degree offered in Nunavut.

“These graduates, all with children, worked so hard to complete their Education degrees. I am proud of each and every one of them, and thrilled that I could be there to celebrate with the communities,” says Timmons.

The students earned Bachelor of Education degrees with an Elementary School Concentration.

Some of the students took courses in Regina during their fourth year.

Ceremonies are also being held this month in Iqaluit – 2,600 km northeast of Regina – at another campus of Nunavut Arctic College that offers the joint program with the U of R.

With that ceremony, there will be a total of 21 graduates in the program this year.

By Dale Johnson Posted: June 5, 2017 4:00 p.m.

Performance Exhibit Brings Discarded Items to Life ~Q&A

For a long time, Kathryn Ricketts, assistant professor of Arts Education, has enjoyed the wall of Value Village, where clear plastic bags hang and are filled with discarded household items.

The bags usually sell for $2.99. They represent a good deal for some shoppers, but for others, they’re just a collection of useless items.

For Ricketts, it’s inspiration for an exhibition, a series of workshops and performances.

The Anthropology of the Discard is now on display at Fifth Parallel Gallery at the U of R. The public is invited to a performance May 12 at 7:30 p.m. with a closing reception to follow.

We spoke with Kathryn and asked her what she saw at Value Village that inspired her to come up with this idea.

Johanna Bundon
Johanna Bundon has taught as a sessional instructor in the Theatre and Education Departments. (Photo – U of R Photography).

I live close to Value Village and found myself visiting the wall of bags frequently. I was compelled by the combination of objects and how they seemed to have their own logic in connection to each other. It made me think about the person who decided which objects should be together and thought of him/her as both an Anthropologist and Curator.
I hope to ask Value Village to be an artist in residence for a period so I could work alongside that person in order to understand their choices and maybe I can make some bags as well.
Incidentally there is a wall at the exhibition where bags made by the visitors hang. Value Village has donated a box of objects and we invite anyone who visits the exhibition to be part of it by contributing their own custom made bag!

You say these bags are bulging with compelling possible new narratives. What are some of those narratives?

These are stories that are triggered by seeing the objects. They can be from our own personal memories or mere associations. We all have either in possession and or memory so many objects in our lives that are near and dear to us and have so many stories attached. I buy the bags that contain objects that seem to be attached to some of these stories.

The performance is improvisation. You are joined by local performers Johanna Bundon and Jaydon Pfeifer.
What will people see at the show?

Jaydon Pfeifer
Jayden Pfeifer teaches improvisation sessionally with the Theatre Department. (Photo – U of R Photography).

We will start by asking the audience to choose three bags from the wall and then Jayden, Johanna and I will choose the one that seems the most potent with ‘stories waiting to be told’. We will then begin to work with one of the objects to familiarize ourselves with a story and then begin to delve into the others. All of our movement and text is entirely improvised however we are very carefully weaving our stories within an emergent history of stories that are being told by each other. As a result, characters, locations, time periods and situations begin to emerge. At times we record some of this information behind us on large banners of paper which serve as a kind of blue print of the emerging story as a whole. I harken it to standing across the street from an apartment building and watching all of the stories unfold in each of the apartments that seem to tell the story of that entire building.

What are you hoping to take away from this for your teaching?

I believe that stories have a very important place in our community and classrooms. It is through stories that we come to understand our curriculum of the world and how our education curriculum embeds itself within this. Stories are so naturally triggered from artifacts of meaning and have had a place in the classroom for a long time, i.e when we think about Show and Tell. When we work from a conglomerate of objects opposed to just one, we begin to understand how our stories interconnect with others and how this reminds us of our connected humanity.

Event:     Anthropology of the Discard
Date:       May 12
Time:      7:30 p.m.
Location: Fifth Parallel Gallery – Riddell Centre
A closing reception follows the performance.

By Costa Maragos Posted: May 11, 2016 U of R Feature Stories

Weaving Stories Between Generations

By Costa Maragos Posted: February 3, 2016

Dr. Cindy Hanson, Associate Professor in Adult Education at the Faculty of Education, has formed a close relationship with Mapuche women in Southern Chile which has resulted in a book about her work with Mapuche weavers. Dr. Hanson is the author of “Weaving Stories Between Generations.” The book is the result of her research focussing on Mapuche women in southern Chile where Dr. Hanson has spent years getting to know the locals. The idea for a book came from the study participants in Chile.

Below are some random excerpts from Dr. Hanson’s book.

The Relationship with the Mapuche
My work with the Mapuche spans two decades. Way back in the 1990’s, I was teaching Native (Indigenous) Studies in rural Manitoba. I was learning about Indigenous cultures and peoples in Canada and I was also learning about issues that affected their daily lives, for example issues of colonialism that continue to cause harm.
Earlier in my life I had been active in working with Chilean refugees who were coming to Canada to escape the brutalities of Pinochet’s dictatorship.

In the early 1990’s I applied and received a Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) Professional Award that would take me to Chile for a six-month period to work with Casa de la Mujer Mapuche (House of the Mapuche Women) – a Mapuche women’s organization based in Temuco.

Casa de la Mujer Mapuche worked on areas of health and education, but most significantly it worked with women in 12 Mapuche communities – assisting them with improving and marketing their woven textiles.

Early impressions

Chile weavers
Weavers at Pitrufquén: “The women spoke with pride about weaving as the greatest heritage they have from their mother or grandmother.”

I remember being shocked at how Chile, in the post-dictatorship years, was changing. The 1990’s were early years of neoliberalism and Chile then was referred to as the dragon or jaguar of Latin America. Around Southern Chile however, the Mapuche seemed unaffected. They could still be found visiting the city with wooden carts and ponies. But, like other places, Canada included, the economic surges, were not sustainable – not for the environment or the people. The Mapuche of Argentina and Chile, like many other Indigenous peoples, continue to live off the land and hold a relationship to the land as sacred.
Living in Chile taught me about how the world was structured and how borders of nations and cultures are also determined by sex, race, class, ability and so on.

Inspiring Studies
Working with Mapuche women inspired me to pursue a Masters of Adult Education. I kept in contact with some of my friends around Temuco and eventually this research brought me back to Temuco again.

The Study
The study explored how Indigenous women in two countries – one in Southern Chile and the other in Northern Canada [several communities in Saskatchewan] – learned how to produce textiles. In total, I met with 23 Mapuche weavers in Chile.

Most of the women from the four Mapuche communities were not familiar with the other communities or with each other. A translator for Mapadugun to Spanish was also present and the women were encouraged to speak in Mapadugun. It was at the discussion group in Temuco, that the women involved in the study were asked how they would like to share the research with a wider community. They had many ideas, but after listing and ranking all the ideas, they agreed that a book about the research was what they wanted.

chile focus group
Lunch with the weavers who met in Temuco, Chile.

Changes and children
The women felt that urban migration and globalization have strongly impacted younger generations.
Furthermore, they confirmed that school curricula, especially in Chile, has ignored Indigenous knowledge. Many participants said children are now concerned with technology and making money, and not returning to Mapuche communities.

Weaving – integral to identity
Significant to this study were the stories generated by the women – a few of those stories are shared in this book. The women spoke with pride about weaving as the greatest heritage they have from their mother or grandmother and said it defines their sense of culture and pride. The stories from Mapuche women also mentioned that weaving reduced stress and led to feelings of well-being.

Dr. Cindy Hanson is Director of the Adult Education and Human Resource Development Unit at the U of R. She received assistance in her research from U of R doctoral students Romina Bedogni and Heather Fox Griffith. The research team collaborated with Indigenous scholars from Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Chile. Hanson was able to further her research thanks to a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Regina and Universidad de la Frontera in Temuco, Chile. Funding assistance was provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Weaving Stories between Generations is available for purchase at, Chapters-Indigo and Kobobooks.

Lucia Cheuquian Elgueta, Maria Angelica Relmuan Alvarez and Dr. Cindy Hanson. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Cindy Hanson).
Lucia Cheuquian Elgueta, Maria Angelica Relmuan Alvarez and Dr. Cindy Hanson. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Cindy Hanson).

New Mural Brightens Up a Corner of the Campus

By Costa Maragos (Reposted from U of R Feature Stories)

Each time Keith Adolph looks out of his office, he sees a work of art that brightens his day.

It’s a new mural that graces a wall at the Teaching Preparation Centre, a library and work space for education students located on the second floor of the education Building.

“It’s great. It draws me in and invites me to look at it longer,” says Adolph who is the Centre’s coordinator. “It feels like I’ve helped make this space a little more organic. It feels more like a learning space and a place for people to be in.”

The mural, called Spiritual Journey, is the work of Cliff Dubois, an artist from the Pasqua First Nation. Central to the theme are four buffalo, walking on sage, shown to signify various stages of life.

“The buffalo that are walking begin in the physical form and slowly fade, eventually making the journey to the spirit world,” says Dubois whose spiritual name is Strong Wind and is indicated by his trademark tiny tornado sketch in the lower right corner of his works. “At the end of the buffalo is a smudge with smouldering smoke that crosses the sky which represents the universe. The smudge offers purification for the soul.”

The mural became a reality thanks to the enthusiastic support of the Faculty of Education and other members of the campus community. The project was funded by the U of R’s Indigenous Advisory Circle.

Dr. Shauneen Pete, Executive Lead on Indigenization, recommended funding for the project.

“For me this project is very much in support of the Strategic Plan. Indigenizing spaces is about changing the physical spaces and by adding the signage and images,” says Dr. Pete. “This is a good way of realigning Indigenous imagery and making them prominent and normal. I can’t wait to see how our students respond to this image and the discussions it will provoke. I’m really happy with it.”

From the beginning, Adolph envisioned a mural with a First Nations theme.

“We’re on Treaty 4 land and with the Indigenization movement we see on campus, I want to be a part of that,” says Adolph. “I want the students coming into this space to feel they’re being represented.”

The mural is located in Room 228 of the Education Building. Adolph encourages you to drop by for a look.

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