Reconciliation—coming to terms with Canada’s colonial roots and making room for other stories and perspectives in understanding our shared history—is a daunting process to undertake for many Canadians. A graduate student in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education is hoping that a unique dance performance by a group of Alberta high school students might inspire audiences to see reconciliation in a new way.
Jennifer Kelly was proud to have some of her research about black communities in Alberta on display at the legislature when the Alberta government officially recognized Black History Month at the beginning of February this year. But the University of Alberta Faculty of Education professor says it’s time to move black history from yearly observance to part of the national narrative.
David Lewkowich knows something about the stress teachers can experience when they start out in their chosen careers because he’s been there himself.
“When I worked as a high school teacher, I had a year of insomnia,” says Lewkowich, now a professor and researcher in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education.
“It gets better” has become a rallying cry for supporters of LGBTQ youth, who want them to understand that their struggles to find a place in the world won’t last forever.
It can be challenging for instructors to provide useful feedback on exam performance to university students in a timely way, even more so when the classroom has upwards of 300 students. And it’s another challenge entirely to get students to heed the feedback.
Okan Bulut, a professor and researcher in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education, is hoping to change that with an automated interactive process he calls “next generation formative feedback.”
“Teachers don’t leave society at the door when they enter into classrooms and neither do the students,” says Alex Da Costa, a professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Alberta.
“If in general racism and racial inequalities shape the society more broadly, there’s no way they won’t infiltrate into classroom spaces, into the texts that are used, into the nature of what becomes part of the curriculum.”
If you want to know what it takes to balance athletic pursuits with academic excellence, Sara Haring would be a good person to ask. The University of Alberta Pandas rugby player and secondary education after-degree student was named an Academic All-Canadian—a designation conferred by Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) to varsity athletes who maintain an academic standing of 80 per cent or better—for the fifth time in 2016.
Gay-straight alliances (GSAs) and queer-straight alliances (QSAs) are peer support networks that promote welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) students and their allies.
But misconceptions about what they do and who they’re intended for stoke opposition that may make students, teachers and school administrators hesitant to support their creation, despite the legislative backstop provided by Bill 10, which mandates the formation of GSAs in any Alberta K-12 school where students want them.
After teaching music in an elementary classroom for 35 years, all it took to reignite the spark of learning for Irena Szmihelsky was an open studies music education course.
“It was an eye-opener,” says Szmihelsky of that first course. “It’s almost shameful for me to say how little I know in music after teaching it for so many years. I thought to myself, ‘I’m doing myself an injustice by ignoring the possibilities before me.’”