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.
There is no substitute for that feeling you get when you pick up a good book and find yourself transported to another world and immersed in the lives of other people.
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.’”
Step into Jessica Maloughney’s (BEd’11) Grade 2 classroom at St. Patrick’s Community School in Red Deer, Alta., and you may be reminded of a six-year-old’s bedroom. Minecraft posters decorate the walls, Lego figurines are tucked around the classroom, and collections of Star Wars and Frozen books populate the bookshelf.
The year Lori Friesen (‘12 PhD) began teaching, she adopted a puppy: a Maltese-poodle named Tango. It was the first dog she’d had since the passing of her beloved childhood dog, and she was thrilled. So were her Grade 1 students, who begged to meet the puppy. Seeing the learning opportunities for students, Friesen agreed to bring the dog to class.
Once Tango had been introduced to the children, pairs of students were allowed 10 minutes with the dog in the reading corner. That’s when the canine magic began. “They started bringing books to read to her,” recalls Friesen.