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.
Inclusion fostered in the classroom doesn’t have to end once physical education kicks off, at least if you take Hayley Morrison’s advice.
The Elementary Education professor focuses her research and teaching practice on supporting inclusion in physical education. The goal is for students of all abilities to be able to partake in activities. In Morrison’s experience, a student’s physicality or neurodiversity shouldn’t be a barrier to their participation.
An education professor at the University of Alberta noticed there was a lack of resources about media literacy aimed at young people. So, with the help of their partner who happens to be an illustrator, they made their own in hopes that readers would learn something about misinformation, emotion regulation—and dinosaurs.
How do you find out the complex challenges and needs of a diverse ethno-cultural group resettling in a new country after fleeing war and violence at home?