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.
For many, summer is a time for camping, outdoor sports and cold drinks on a warm patio. But for educators, summer isn't always about winding down—it's about catching up on research and writing, travelling to international conferences, and devoting time to exciting projects.
Politicians and pundits have long contended that a populace with a good grounding in the study of history are bound to be more engaged citizens. But is there really a connection between the study of history and civic engagement? And how do educators and other purveyors of historical information best teach history in order to create an engaged citizenry?
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.
As a nursing student at the University of Alberta, Josh Bergman said access to financial support made a big difference to him at a critical time and a lasting impression post-graduation.
“I came from modest circumstances, I was the first one in my family to get a post-secondary education,” Bergman (‘05 BScN) said. “At one point, I had to pay for a spring course but I had no money, and my faculty was able to help access some money to get me through that time. And I remember thinking if I had the opportunity I’d like to give back to the U of A in some way in that regard.”