Special Questions on my Mind

These questions arose for me from our 2-day conference:
1. If we can agree on the ideal balance between theory and practice in this program – how can this balance be reflected in SCHs? Or should it?
2. Should admission to the program be subject to affirmative quota? (e.g. fewer humanity graduates, more scientists) Or should we aim to produce “competent out-of-field teachers”? Learning II?
3. How could the School of Ed facilitate better communication between colleagues teaching similar courses or themes?
4. Addressing subject matter gaps (I have faced a chronic gap in scientific literacy over 12 years): Format a ‘special topic’ course to fit small groups with inquiry topics of their choice?

Charts and Materials November 2 & 3 Meeting

The Design Committee met for two days in early November to flesh out ideas.

Agenda for that meeting

Agenda for November 2 – 3

The following folder holds the charts and materials generated during that meeting – thanks Alex for documenting this work using that great little app that was new to me – Office Lens.

Design Committee Charts

Wish List Whiteboard Voice Survey Role of Education Place People Opening Marketing Land Instruction Indigenous Advisory Group Design Principles Constraints


Teacher Preparation Programs

Here are some sites that discuss changing Teaching Preparation Programs – a couple are outlines from conferences examining ideas:








Learning Sustainable Cultural Safety …

Lautensach, A.K. & S.W. Lautensach. 2018. Learning Sustainable Cultural Safety in a Crowded, Warming World. Journal for Sustainability Education (March).

The Big Idea behind the article was that education for sustainability and education for cultural safety can be reconciled and made to reinforce each other – contrary to some claims in the literature that educators had to choose and prioritise between opposing aims.

Deep Adaptation

Thanks Alex …

Deep Adaptation: Resilience, Relinquishment, Restoration (Bendell 2018)

Friesen (2018) suggested for teacher educators to explore their unexamined assumptions (thank you Susan for the link). One implicit assumption that I notice about our program (and others like it) manifests in the frequent calls for ‘preparing learners for employment’ or for ‘the real word’. This qualifies as a ceteris paribus fallacy, the assumption that everything outside one’s focus will remain unchanged for the time being. Bendell argues that we all need to prepare for the exact opposite, namely the prospect that most of the sources of support we have come to rely on are likely to collapse or disappear within our lifetime. I suggest that teacher training for the 21st century must focus on empowering learners to cope with that prospect. Bendell’s paper has inspired me more than just about anything else I have read this year:

Bendell, Jem. 2018. Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy. IFLAS Occasional Paper 2 www.iflas.info (July 27). Occasional Paper, Institute of Leadership & Sustainability (IFLAS), University of Cumbria, UK.  http://www.lifeworth.com/deepadaptation.pdf  (accessed 29 July 2018)

Here is how I interpret his three principles in the context of teacher education:

– Empower learners to help build community resilience to mitigate the outcomes of collapse – e.g. aim for the safe operating space between ecological and social boundaries as described by Raworth’s Donut Economics.  https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lanplh/PIIS2542-5196(17)30028-1.pdf The first thing learners can do is study Raworth’s model.

– Relinquish what traditions, ideals and practices have become counterproductive – such as the ideals of limitless growth, or the right to receive or extract even more resources. Get used to the idea of making do with much less – but strive to distribute it more equitably.

– Restore practices and structures that can facilitate a Great Transition to a sustainable future of acceptable quality – respect for the intrinsic worth of all life forms would be a great start, as was modelled by many indigenous cultures from time immemorial. Colonialism was a mere blip in history, and so is ecological overshoot!

Alex’s Ideas … Alpha – Omega

  1. Our Alpha and Omega Events in the NW BEd program

Aim: to provide symmetric anchor experiences that enable student teachers to effectively connect their training to the physical, cultural, environmental and historical aspects of place.

Requirements: A location in a relatively unspoiled natural environment – a place that holds cultural and spiritual significance in the views of the local indigenous populations, a natural place that has not yet been bulldozed or paved over. NOTE: Such a place may be hard to find in the average community but the effort is well worth it in our experience.

Procedure: On the first day of the program, cohort and faculty meet in the specified place, form a talking circle and share their experiences, feelings, aspirations and hopes. This is repeated after two years on the last day of the program. Connections to the place and to its history, to the history of the people of the land and to all life forms around us are emphasized on both occasions.