About Me

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I have been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Currently, I am a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My M.Ed. and Ph.D. had a focus on the educational and linguistic experiences of children who moved from other countries to Canada.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Laurier Educator Institutes: Leveraging Expertise to Build Capacity

Our October trip to Haiti solidified plans for our first Laurier summer teaching and leadership conference there. It was exciting to see our lead partners in northern Haiti work collaboratively to develop the framework for the conference. We have confirmed:
  • dates: Aug. 1-5, 2016
  • location: College Notre Dame (Cap-Haitien)
    View of Cap-Haitien from College Notre Dame
  • strands: science, math, early childhood, special education, critical literacy, and leadership
  • format: morning workshops, afternoon teaching "practicum" during a summer camp that will run parallel to the conference
  • participants: 200+ Haitian educators 
The leaders of the workshops will be Canadian educators from Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario school boards, and the Ontario Ministry of Education. We are anticipating that other Canadian and US colleagues will join us as plans unfold.

The model that we are using is to leverage the expertise of the Canadian participants, with a healthy dose of cultural humility and engagement, to support the capacity of the Haitian participants. Two key aspects differentiate this model from more traditional models of teacher professional development::
  1.  Formation of a professional learning community of Haitian and Canadian educators that will "live" after the end of the week of training. In this on-line community, the participants can share resources and ideas after the training has been completed.
  2. The afternoon practicum will give Haitian educators an opportunity to implement and practice some of the ideas that they learned about in the morning. This active, experiential learning with real-time feedback will solidify the morning learning and will minimize the potential of "learned it, forgot it".
The Haiti summer conference will be a pilot for what I am hoping will be further Laurier Educator Institutes in other contexts such as China, India, and Colombia. Developing a "franchise" such as this, which partners educators from Canada with those in other contexts, provides a means to leverage expertise to build capacity.

I should be clear: I don't see this expertise-sharing as a one way street. Canadian educators may have expertise in areas such as special education and science education but they will also be the beneficiaries of expertise that their colleagues in other contexts have. Ultimately I am hoping that this collaborative expertise-sharing in specific domain areas (e.g. mathematics, critical literacy) will have a broader outcome: greater sensitivity and awareness of education in the global context.  


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