Amanda Lamberti

Communications Manager

Education
Email: amanda.lamberti@ubc.ca


Biography

Amanda began working at the Okanagan School of Education, UBC, in 2019. Previously she worked at the City of Kelowna where she was responsible  for developing strategic communications plan and delivering tactics for the Active Living and Culture Division as their Communications Advisor. Prior to that she was the Digital Communications Consultant where she was one of the project managers for the City of Kelowna website redesign launched in 2016.

She has an Advanced Social Media Strategy Certificate from Hootsuite Academy.

She was a volunteer English Teacher in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam from August 2013 to January 2014.

Responsibilities

Corporate Communications, Media Relations, Social Media, Student Engagement, Student Recruitment and Marketing.

 

Congratulations to Lola Gaius for receiving the Master-Level Outstanding Presentation/Publication award!

Question and Answer with Lola

What does receiving the award mean to you?

This award means a lot to me. When I started my program here at UBCO, I was full of self-doubt. I constantly second-guessed myself and did not feel I knew enough about anything to have an opinion. Being able to publish my thoughts in a peer-reviewed journal and now, to receive this award, is so validating. I feel more confident about myself as a scholar and a thinker, and I know that my ideas and thoughts are worth sharing.

What has your experience been like with the Okanagan School of Education?

My experience here has been nothing short of amazing. Even though the entire taught part of my M.A has been online due to the pandemic, I have felt supported. I have met Faculty members who have served as mentors and who have patiently guided me as I figured out who I am as an educator and helped me find my Voice. The classes I have taken were all safe, caring spaces in which everyone felt at liberty to wonder and explore without fear of censure. My course mates are awesome educators who come from diverse backgrounds, bringing with them a wide variety of experiences and viewpoints. I feel constantly inspired and challenged.

What is your research project?

My research is in change leadership. There is a huge gap between knowledge and practice in the field of education. We know so much about best practices and how to provide quality education, but somehow a large percentage of this knowledge sometimes does not translate into actual classrooms. I am exploring the factors that support, and the challenges that may limit, the implementation of innovative teaching practices in the classroom. I am focusing especially on transferability across contexts. Much of the available research is domiciled in Western/European contexts. What factors may hinder the transferability of these ‘best practices’ into contexts with different world views, cultural practices and social and economic circumstances?

Why did you choose that topic?

I chose this topic because of my experience as a classroom teacher attempting to put into practice evidence-based practices in my own classroom.  Due to the pandemic, I started my program online while I was still in my home country — Nigeria. I became immediately enamoured of constructivist approaches to learning because it lined up with what I instinctively felt was the best way to keep young learners engaged in school. I was therefore very eager to immediately begin practicing what I was learning.

I started to face challenges right from the start. There were cultural differences in the way classrooms are expected to be run in my context and what would be obtainable in a constructivist, inquiry-focused learning environment. There were social and economic realities that affected the availability of support and resources. There was resistance from colleagues who had a general belief that my ideas looked very good in theory, but would not work in our own contexts.

I still feel that a constructivist approach to learning is a very effective one which creates engaged learners and motivated teachers. By isolating and understanding factors that affect transferability of innovative teaching practices across contexts, I am hoping to become more effective as a change-leader.

What advice do you have for future graduate students?

Be open to new ideas, experiences and practices. The graduate program at UBC offers incredible diversity of thought and experience which you can harness to enrich your learning experience.

Our 2022 Stephen Daniel Pope Graduate Award and Doctoral-Level Outstanding Presentation recipient is Liz Saville!

In memory of Dr. Stephen Daniel Pope, this award is presented to an Okanagan School of Education graduate student who shows great promise in the field of education. Dr. Stephen Daniel Pope is remembered for his passion for education and his significant contributions to the public education system of British Columbia in the 1800s.

QUESTION AND ANSWER WITH SESSION WITH LIZ

What does receiving these awards mean to you?

I am very grateful and honored to receive both of these awards.

Receiving the Doctoral Studies Outstanding Conference Presentation encourages me in my efforts this year at both CSSE and AERA to help promote both my PhD research and other research activities I have been engaged with and inspire others in the field to consider thinking about what it means to build and support cultures of belonging in STEM classrooms.

It is especially humbling to be acknowledged with the Dr. Stephen Daniel Pope award. This award encourages me in the value of my graduate work this past year in thinking about equity in STEM education and in the plans for my upcoming PhD research activities. I am so thankful to be a part of the learning community here at the OSE.

What has been a highlight for you during your graduate student experience?

My highlight of this past year was attending and presenting at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference. The time spent at this conference was one of sharing, networking, learning, and just being with other people in-person who care about education – a true highlight for a graduate student who started her studies in the middle of a global pandemic!

Who inspires you, and why?

Though my graduate student experience I have been fortunate to work with many of the professors in the OSE who have introduced to me new ways of thinking, new people, new research, and new opportunities. I am very grateful for the ways in which these professors have each supported and inspired my continued growth as an educator and researcher in different ways.

What advice do you have for future graduate students?

Come into your graduate programs at the OSE with a receptivity to growth, challenge and opportunity and you will be rewarded. Take advantage of all that the OSE has to offer you. If you do – you will find yourself growing in your ways of thinking, being and doing with every course you take, in your interactions with OSE faculty and staff and through the research and learning opportunities that are available to you as a graduate student.

Congratulations to Michael Landry, our Vicki Green Graduate Award recipient!

The Vicki Green Graduate Award recipient is selected based on how their research will implement contemplative, transformational, imaginative or creative interdisciplinary understandings in sustainability for children, youth or teachers.

QUESTION AND ANSWER WITH SESSION WITH MICHAEL

What does receiving the award mean to you

It is an honour to receive the Dr. Vicki Green Award. As a PhD candidate, nature lover, and angler, it is especially meaningful to be acknowledged for my work and to see that the awards committee recognizes the value of my research to the field of education and the sustainability of the local community.

What has your experience been like with the Okanagan School of Education?

I joined the Okanagan School of Education as a student enrolled in the (Individualized) Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies program in 2019. Right away, I felt like a welcomed and valued member of the learning community. I have worked as a sessional lecturer in the English Foundation Program and as a teaching assistant in the English Foundation Program and B.Ed. program. I have also served as a research assistant for several projects conducted at the Okanagan School of Education.

What is your research project?

The aim of the study is to uncover the relationship between intercultural communicative competence (ICC), local community and campus socialization by examining the inclusion of ICC learning incomes in an English Academic Program (EAP) course via an online module. The overarching research question for my study explores the relationship between ICC and learning English as an additional language in a post-secondary EAP setting and asks: How does the development of ICC relate to the development of overall EAL communicative competence in a post-secondary EAP program?

Why did you choose that topic?

Understanding the role ICC plays in the campus and community socialization of EAP students in Canada is one window into understanding if these students have an equitable educational experience. Consequently, my inquiry into the efficacy of ICC learning outcomes via an online module will likely help inform future teaching approaches, EAP programming, the professional development of faculty across campus, policies related to internationalization, the provision of services at Canadian post-secondary institutions, and the enhancement of local communities.

What advice do you have for future graduate students?

Getting the most from your graduate studies involves enjoying the process and celebrating the small victories and relationships you experience along the way. I also think it’s important for students to pursue inquiry into topics they are passionate about. Having that intrinsic motivation really helps you learn from perceived setbacks and keep progressing through your program.

 

Graduate Supervisor: Dr. Scott Douglas

Congratulations to Karin Wiebe, MA recent graduate, PhD student and graduate research assistant, for receiving a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship Master’s Award!

Karin has a wonderful record of service and contributions at the faculty, campus and community level along with excellent academic achievements. Recently, she was part of the graduate committee that planned and hosted a virtual graduate student symposium: Boundless: Transformative Education Practices and Research.

Karin’s study looked for the successful self-driven strategies, practices, and affordances used by newcomers engaged in language learning in the workplace. Using an additional language socialization theoretical framework, participants’ language learning strategies and perceptions were gathered through semi-structured interviews and a focus group. This study will assist in developing a deeper understanding of English as an additional language learning in the workplace, uncover self-driven language learning affordances which will be shaped into a set of workplace learning principles for newcomers to use, and inform future workplace language development courses.

Liz Saville, Addie Mercuri, Michael Landry and Lola (Oyinlola) Gaius (from left to right)

On Thursday, Sept. 15, we celebrated with our graduate award recipients and welcomed our newest graduate students to our scholar-practitioner community.

Please join us in congratulating:

In addition, we are pleased to share that Karin Wiebe has received a BC Graduate Scholarship.

International Literacy Day (Sept. 8) brings attention to the importance of literacy as a human right. According to UNESCO there are “at least 771 million young people and adults that lack basic literacy skills.” Even within Canada, there are a significant number of students who experience difficulties with oral language and literacy skills which can have an impact on their communication, ability to learn and future employment opportunities.

Dr. Jessica Chan, Assistant Professor, is a reading researcher and teacher educator committed to advancing the science of reading for language diverse learners. Her inspiration for reading research stems from personal experience and community interactions.

“Growing up, I navigated between two language systems and cultures where I developed my home language and culture through my family and learned English in school,” says Dr. Chan. “Both my parents were immigrants to Canada and education was a pathway for discovering the world around us and afforded opportunities that were not available to them. In meeting with families across different contexts, our discussions always led to questions about how their child was performing on literacy, whether the activities they were pursuing was effective, and what could they try next.”

Taking inspiration from this year’s International Literacy Day theme, Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces, Dr. Chan has provided a few ideas for ways families can help improve their children’s literacy and language development.

“For me, this theme celebrates all the spaces where literacy learning can take place,” says Dr. Chan. “We can examine how different environments offer language learning opportunities. Literacy learning in informal and formal literacy spaces offers children of all ages a variety of experiences to engage with their world. When we reconsider where literacy learning takes place, we offer opportunities to connect learning between our home, community, and school.”

Take a walk

Taking a walk together gets you active and offers a number of learning opportunities:

  • Take a walking tour and learn about the history of the land
  • Bring a book along to identify local flora (e.g., the Arrowleaf Balsamroot, also known as the Okanagan Sunflower) and fauna (e.g., Kokanee salmon). Your local library will be able to assist you in finding the right book.
  • Have your child plan a route and provide directions

Share family history

Share family stories and have your child write or draw them out. For older children, you can challenge them to interview family members and create a memory book together. It doesn’t have to be stories either, even following the steps for a favourite family recipe together is a great way to practice reading.

Enjoy community resources

Take advantage of community resources such as your local library, art gallery or museum.

At the library, ask your children questions about their interests and explore opportunities to connect with the community through their programming. Providing time and space for your child to answer to questions such as “Why did you choose this one?”, “What do you think this book is about?” or “What makes this book interesting to you?” can support their language skills.

At the gallery or museum, you can ask your child about the exhibit, what parts they liked, what they learned or what they might want to learn more about and create their own portfolio of the places they have visited.

Incoming teacher candidates are placed into cohorts that are led by a Field Advisor (FA). Your FA will mentor and support you throughout the 16-month program. FAs also assess and provide feedback to candidates and interns during their field experiences, and collaborate and support mentor teachers and school administrators.

Jennifer Laminger, Field Experience Coordinator

Jenny Laminger has been a teacher for more than 25 years, teaching grades 2-7. She has always been interested in the connection between numeracy and literacy and loves bringing the two together. Over the years, she has worked with teachers across the province in order to assist the development of their mathematics instruction. In 2013, she was part of the BC Ministry of Education’s curriculum development team for the new BC Mathematics Curriculum.

In 2019, she joined the OSE as a field advisor and in 2021 she started her role as field experience coordinator. As the coordinator, Jenny oversees the Field Experience Program and is the School’s representative in the school districts and regional communities.

In her free time, she loves to read, travel, and spend time with her family.


Carl Ruest, Field Experience Coordinator, French

Carl Ruest has enjoyed his career as an educator in both university and public school contexts. Before joining the Okanagan School of Education, Carl worked at UBC-V where he taught in the B.Ed., as well as in the M.Ed. in French Education. He was also a teacher and a coordinator of the French Immersion program in a Richmond secondary school. Carl is interested in intercultural education and in the learning of French as a second language in authentic contexts using innovative practices. He is currently finishing his Ph.D. which explores adolescents’ development of intercultural competence during interprovincial exchanges. His research highlights the importance helping students make sense of their varied experiences while they live and study in a second language.

Besides his passion for education, Carl loves swimming, cross-country skiing, traveling and visiting his family in Mont-Joli, Québec.


Lynne Gibson, Field Advisor

Lynne Gibson has just returned from some international experiences where she was the head of school in the Dominican Republic and previously in South Korea. She has served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and head of school for over 30 years. She has also been involved with accreditation reviews for a variety of institutions over the past few years. Lynne has four grown children and nine grandchildren whom she is immensely proud of.

Lynne’s passion in education revolves around ensuring all learners are engaged participants in their own learning, using their interests and curiosities to drive that learning. She believes the recent pandemic offers an opportunity for education to look different for our students … something educators have been working on for years. It is an exciting time to be an educator. She is very excited to be part of the OSE team and looks forward to the opportunity to serve future educators.

 


Kyle Hamilton, Field Advisor

Kyle Hamilton is a passionate educator having taught at the middle, secondary and post-secondary levels. He values complex teaching and learning environments that seek to initiate “complicated conversations” (Pinar, 2011) at the confluence of the “lived” and “planned” curriculum (Aoki, 1986/1991)—grappling with human well-being, agency, diverse knowledges, reflection, subjective reconstruction and democratization. His masters’ work explored the philosophy of cosmopolitanism in relation to K-12 settings and his PhD work focuses on foregrounding K-12 classrooms and schools as sites for developing more democratic and more just societies. Hamilton has served in several roles at the Okanagan School of Education including as a faculty advisor, intern observer and intern advisor. He has also served as a SD23 district human rights committee member, Central Okanagan Teachers’ Association (COTA) social justice chairperson, Social Studies department head. He loves mountain biking, hockey, soccer and travel.


Amber Hartwell, Field Advisor

Amber Hartwell has teaching experience in both the K-12 British Columbia and Alberta school system, and has experience as a research assistant, teaching assistant, and sessional instructor in post-secondary. In her various roles, she has been responsible for the transformation of libraries to library learning commons and coordinated Indigenous education opportunities including elder classroom visits, land-based learning opportunities, and nsyilxcən language lessons. In 2019, Amber was nominated for the Prime Minister’s Award in STEM education. Amber is currently completing her Doctor of Education through the University of Calgary.

 


Murray Sasges, Field Advisor

Murray Sasges was born and raised in Vernon B.C. along with nine siblings. He owned and operated a Gravel Quarry before taking up teaching at the age of 40. His second year of teaching was at an international school in Shenzhen, China. Always having a keen interest in community engagement he brought this passion to his teaching. He co-created a 5-month full-time Global Ed program for grade 11’s based on sustainability and social justice issues which included a 3-week field study in Nicaragua. More recently he co-founded with Kim Ondrik an innovative school within School District #22 called the Academy of Inquiry and Adventure Okanagan (aiao.ca) which is grounded in the new B.C. curriculum and the core competencies from grades 7-12.

He loves to fix up old bicycles and is currently restoring an old farm to honor its productive and cultural heritage.

Whether you’re interested in applying for the Bachelor of Education program this year, or in the future, here are a few tips to guide you along the way.

  1. Start reviewing the admission requirements early!

The most often asked question is ‘what courses do I need to get into the program?’

The admission requirements are listed on our Bachelor of Education page.

As part of your application and to assist you in reviewing (and checking off) the academic admission requirements for your chosen pathway, there are self-assessment worksheets: Teaching Children and Teaching Adolescents. You will submit these self-assessments during the application process.

If you have questions about whether or not your course meets the course requirements, please contact Academic Advising, please visit the Student Advising Services webpage to contact them or book an appointment.

  1. Gain experience working with the age group you think you want to teach

A minimum of 75 hours of practical experience (volunteer or paid) working with children or youth is required. We recommend you work/volunteer with the age group that you wish to teach. You will be asked about your experience when you submit your Supplemental Application Form.

On this form, you will also be asked to write a personal essay: Becoming an educator opens doors to many opportunities to teach, learn, and contribute in a variety of contexts including but not exclusive to schools. What are your goals as an educator? Highlight and provide examples of the qualities and experiences you bring to the challenge of becoming an educator.

TIP: We understand you might change your mind about what you’ve written. We do allow you to re-submit a Supplemental Application Form. However, you must resubmit as a fully completed application. We recommend you save copies of your written answers in a word document, so if you wish to modify your answers, you don’t have to re-type everything.   

TIP: Once you have submitted your summary of experience (up to three experiences can be listed), and moved on to the next experience or Personal Essay question, you will not be able to go back to edit your experience on the supplemental application form.

A range and variety of instructional experiences is encouraged to better prepare for the program. Typical experiences for applicants include but are not limited to working in school classrooms as a volunteer or assistant, teaching dance, coaching team sports or working as a summer camp counselor.

TIP: Not sure where to go for experience? You can contact your local school district, recreation/community centre, youth group, art gallery or museum to see if they have any opportunities. 

  1. References

You will need two professional references from individuals who have personally observed you working with children and/or youth in a face-to-face or online instructional capacity, either in a group or with an individual.

References must be credible authorities who can speak to your abilities, experiences and interests relevant to the teaching profession. They cannot be a family member or friend.

Examples of appropriate references:

  • An individual who has personally observed you in a face-to-face (as opposed to an online) context where your primary role was to instruct or interact with children and/or youth
  • School administrator (e.g., principal, vice-principal)
  • Teacher at an elementary, middle or secondary school
  • Camp director
  • Daycare program coordinator
  • TA-supervising professor

You will send each of your references the link to the Confidential Report on Applicant, your student number and name as provided in your BEd application, the pathway you are pursuing and email address. Once your reference has submitted their confidential report, you will receive a confirmation email.

This form is confidential and is only used for admission purposes. As the applicant, you should not see the completed form.

Interested in teaching French?

To apply for the French pathway, you’ll need to meet the admission criteria for either the Teaching Children or Teaching Adolescents Pathway (please see the criteria above). In addition, you’ll need to submit one of the following:

Questions related to the French Pathway may be directed to the BEd Coordinator, French, Carl Ruest, at carl.ruest@ubc.ca or (250) 807-8196.

  1. Sending in transcripts if you are not currently a UBC student

Submit your official transcripts for any post-secondary studies at institutions other than UBC by mailing them to:

The University of British Columbia
Undergraduate Admissions
2016 – 1874 East Mall
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z1

For more information on sending transcripts visit you.ok.ubc.ca

  1. Need help?

If you have questions about your application or need assistance please visit the Student Advising Services webpage to contact them or book an appointment.

 

Applying to UBC Vancouver

If you are applying to the UBC Vancouver Teacher Education program, you will need to submit two references and your personal essay to them directly.

We are pleased to share that Dr. Sabre Cherkowski has been awarded a Tier 1 Principal’s Research Chair in Leadership, Learning, and Wellbeing.

In her role as Chair, Dr. Cherkowski will focus on research that examines wellbeing from an organisational perspective, paying attention to leadership and professional learning from the perspective of work cultures, organisational systems, as well as team and individual processes for promoting and sustaining flourishing in schools.

“I’m excited to collaborate with others to build and grow this research to contribute to improving wellbeing for all at work,” says Dr. Cherkowski, “This research is timely and significant, not only in contemporary educational contexts where all levels of the system are challenged to create conditions for wellbeing at work, but also in the larger societal context.”

Wellbeing is linked to overall health, and influences learning, creativity, collaboration, among other qualities necessary for ongoing improvement of leading and teaching. Dr. Cherkowski’s research on positive leadership and professional learning contributes to the growth of research on wellbeing at work at all levels of the education system. Her research offers an innovative approach to combatting stress, depletion and burnout at work through an evidence-based approach that combines theories and processes from positive psychology, positive organisations, professional learning, and change leadership.

Congratulations Dr. Cherkowski!

Learn more about the Principal’s Research Chairs Program at research.ok.ubc.ca.

The air feels heavy as temperatures hang around 40C in the Punjab village of Rurka Kalan, India. Dr. Stephen Berg has travelled to the region several times before, but feeling that heat in late May doesn’t get any easier.

The last time he had visited the area, he had brought teacher candidates as part of their Community Field Experience in 2019. The group had travelled with the UBCO Women’s Soccer team for Sport for Development India: Empowering Children through Sport and Play program, offered through UBC Go Global. The program works in partnership with the local non-profit organization Youth for Change (YFC) to offer soccer education and it provided an opportunity for candidates to offer workshops on wellness, physical literacy, cooperation and leadership.

Now, in April 2022, Dr. Berg was asked by YFC if he could develop and teach curriculum for a new program, Playing for Peace, the organization would be coordinating with Common Goal.

The program educates youth and young adult leaders (approximately ages 17 to 22) to become ‘peace agents’ as part of their role as sports coaches for children and youth.

“The vision is that these young people are empowered to create positive change in their communities by learning leadership skills,” says Dr. Berg, “So while this training program was held in India, it had participants from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.”

A month to prepare curriculum for a global program was a tight timeline, but fortunately Dr. Berg had developed some similar courses in the past that he could build upon and adapt. The classrooms in the rural community are basic with only a handful of chairs, a fan and a flip chart easel. As the Wi-Fi is very sporadic Dr. Berg had to design activities that could mainly be done without access to the internet. At times, because of the heat, the power would go out in the entire village.

“You need to work with what you have,” says Dr. Berg. “In addition, for planning for no to low resources, we also needed to overcome a language barrier. A majority of the youth leaders had some level of English and we were fortunate to have a few translators, but it would often mean I would deliver my instructions and then there would be a pause and you wouldn’t know if everything you said was understood.”

In one of his activities that focused on cooperation, he used bean bags, balls and small objects to have the students experience what it means to cooperate and trust each other to be successful.

“A lot of these participants were in conflict countries, like India and Pakistan. We begin the activity by talking what it means to cooperate and conflict resolution. We then toss the bean bags back and forth as a group and you keep adding in more objects so they need to work as a group to be successful.”

Following the activity, the group sits down and reflects on what they learned. Following the program, the group takes the activities and concepts they’ve learned back to their countries and implements the lessons with the teams they coach.

“It’s really a global connection, and there are children in Brazil, Pakistan and Germany right now doing these activities and learning about conflict resolution, peace building and leadership skills which more than ever are important right now.

It’s estimated that there will be 5,000 children and youth that will go through this program around the world. In November, Dr. Berg will go back to India for a summit on the program — and he can’t wait.

“India keeps drawing me back and it’s largely because of the people. They are some of the nicest, genuinely amazing people I’ve ever met.”