The fall semester is in full swing at the Faculty of Education, and we’re pleased to have our full complement of undergraduate and graduate students, both on campus and online, engaging in the teaching and learning interactions and research innovations that have distinguished us for more than 75 years.
Ali Shiri and his research team spent four years getting to know the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR) of the far northwestern Arctic in order to help create a digital library platform that reflected residents’ information needs and respected the cultural heritage information the library was intended to preserve.
The JP Das Centre on Developmental and Learning Disabilities hosted its inaugural conference on September 23 at Esther Starkman School in Edmonton. The event provided a unique opportunity for more than 400 local teachers to meet the researchers behind the best practices in teaching reading—and for researchers to hear how their work is informing classroom teaching in elementary and junior high schools.
Tiffany Prete, an adjunct professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies, has a number of reasons for pursuing research on the history of residential schools in her home community, the Blood Reserve in southern Alberta. Some of those reasons are related to contributing to the body of research by Indigenous scholars. Some of those reasons are personal.
Mona Nashman (‘79 BEd) has spent much of her career as an educator working in international settings. But the native Edmontonian says her essential approach to teaching was formed as a University of Alberta education undergraduate four decades ago.
The Cree word wahkohtowin is often translated as “kinship,” and denotes the interconnected nature of relationships, communities and natural systems. Brian Wildcat (‘95 MEd) says this philosophy underpins the formation of the Maskwacis Education Schools Commission (MESC), the authority that oversees the 11 schools and 2,300 students in the central Alberta community that is home to four Cree First Nations.
Steacy Collyer (‘85 BEd) has some advice for new teachers embarking on careers in the age of ubiquitous digital devices.
“Please keep reading books,” said Collyer, whose dedication to promoting early literacy in Alberta has earned her a 2019 University of Alberta Alumni Honour Award.
Not all educators work in schools. For Charlene Bearhead (‘85 BEd), all of Canadian society is a classroom, and the subject she teaches is reconciliation between Canadians and Indigenous peoples.
“The entire country is learning,” says Bearhead.
“Real education, true education, is about opening our minds and expanding our knowledge and understanding, and it’s the key to all positive change. That’s the way we shed light.”
Becoming a registered psychologist in a northern Canadian city wasn’t part of the plan when Lubna Zaeem (‘07 MEd) and her physician husband left her native Pakistan for the U.S. in the early 1990s. But over the past two decades, the 2019 Alumni Honour Award winner has not only made a home in Edmonton, but become a crucial support for newcomers to Alberta through the Islamic Family and Social Services Association (IFSAA).
Building relationships has always been key to Winnie Yeung’s approach to teaching. But the 2019 Alumni Award of Excellence recipient couldn’t have guessed her skill at creating bonds of trust with pupils in her English language learning (ELL) class at Edmonton’s Highlands School would lead to her becoming a published author whose work would be shortlisted for two national literary awards, championed on CBC’s Canada Reads, and entered into the Library of Parliament.