Matthew Stone

Communications & Marketing Strategist (interim)

Email: matthew.stone@ubc.ca


 

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Working with B.A.R.K. volunteers and their handlers help children learn valuable social skills

Twenty-two proud children from Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs recently received their graduation certificates after a 6-week program with the Building Academic Retention through K9’s (B.A.R.K.) team.

Thanks to a generous grant provided by the Telus Thompson Okanagan Community Board, this was the second year that the club partnered with B.A.R.K. The program saw children aged 5-12 work in small groups with a student mentor, a dog and a volunteer handler to learn valuable social skills like self-control strategies, leadership and empathy.

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Camille Rousseau, PhD student and mentor (left), Freya Green, MA student and program coordinator (right)

Each session began with a class discussion on the skills the children were to work on that day, followed by practice in a supportive, non-judgmental environment created by the friendly canines and volunteers. The final part of class had the children move outside of the classroom and practice their skills around campus with university students.

“What I find really rewarding about this program is the positive impact it seems to have on everyone involved,” says Freya Green, B.A.R.K. program coordinator and student mentor. “It’s lovely to watch the program fostering skills in the children as well as the students, and bringing joy to the handlers and the university students we visit.”

This year’s program saw the return of some students from the previous year. That allowed the B.A.R.K. team to observe the longer-term impact the program has had on many of the participants. B.A.R.K. volunteers noticed several returning children “stepping-up” to help other who were nervous or struggling with the lessons.

UBC Okanagan PhD student Camille Rousseau, who joined the fun this year as a mentor, says she was pleasantly surprised by the emotional growth shown by some of the participants.

“It was humbling to be a part of this program and to witness children develop conscientiousness towards others – humans and canines alike – and self-compassion. The impact of this program really grabbed me when one of the children was deeply moved by the story of Phyllis, Dr. Binfet’s three-legged dog, and wanted to know how to deal with the sadness of her story.”

Both Green and Rousseau point out that the benefits of the program aren’t just felt by the children of Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs. The research and teaching opportunities provided by the partnership were invaluable to the B.A.R.K. team comprised of several UBC Okanagan students and volunteers. Along with Green and Rousseau, the program is led by Education graduate students Carson McKay and Nicole Harris. Harris is completing her MA thesis through the framework of the program.

“This is designed to be a beneficial opportunity for the kids to develop their social skills in the safe, fun environment of a dog program,” says Green. “But it also seems to have benefits on the students who work with them, who are given opportunities to develop their own leadership skills.”

 

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Sabre Cherkowski, associate professor, Director, Graduate Programs at the Okanagan School of Education

UBC Okanagan Education associate professor Sabre Cherkwoski recently wrapped up a three-year study that culminated in her latest book: “Perspectives on Flourishing in Schools” (edited with Keith Walker, University of Saskatchewan).

The third book to emerge from this study was a slight departure from Dr. Cherkowski’s earlier work. This time, contributions came from the educators and researchers themselves, resulting in a collection of wide-ranging perspectives.

So what does it mean to ‘flourish’? We caught up with Dr. Cherkowski to learn more.

How did the idea for ‘Flourishing in Schools’ come about?

I’ve long been researching learning communities in schools and was finding myself drawn to the idea of understanding the more ‘human side’ of organizational structures. I started doing some reading on compassion in organizations and noticed that a lot of research into this was coming out of the business world. With my research colleague, Dr. Keith Walker, we asked ourselves, “Why don’t we have this research in Education? What if research on school improvement focused more on ways to support and grow positive capacities for educators?” We tend to focus on deficits– what’s wrong and what’s not working for students, rather than what’s right and how we can help educators thrive even more in their roles. This led us to the key guiding research question that shaped this project and the books that we developed from it– what are the factors, forces and dynamics that explain how certain schools and certain people in schools flourish?

What did you find?

Through appreciative interviews and focus group conversations with educators in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, we guided participants to reflect on what works well and gives them a sense of flourishing in their work.

In analyzing our data we found that as teachers move towards flourishing they will notice that their relationships with their students, colleagues and the larger learning community become more positive– and perhaps even more fun. Teachers described how flourishing meant feeling a sense of belonging to a “group with purpose” from which they could derive meaning for their work and lives.

What does teachers flourishing in schools look like?

Teachers who flourish told us that they appreciate and feel supported when working in a climate of fun— laughter, joking and friendly banter. They feel that what they do matters. They feel seen and valued in their work, and think they contribute to making the group better in some way. Teachers who flourish shared how they work together in ongoing innovation for continued connection, growth and thriving guided by their shared values and higher purpose. They value creativity and enjoy rising to challenges in their work. They feel they are supported, challenged and encouraged by their administrators. They flourish when their students do.

Why is exploring flourishing important?

We’re facing growing levels of stress, anxiety and burnout among teachers across the world, along with increasing international trend toward improving student wellbeing in school. Teachers need support, encouragement and inspiration to attend to their wellbeing as a foundational aspect of their work.

How can we help a teacher that is communicating a displeasure with their current situation?

Part of well-being work is recognizing that challenges, stressors and frustrations aren’t going away. You can’t eliminate them. Sometimes you can’t even mitigate them. Some people feel the need to vent those frustrations, but our research finds that noticing and encouraging the positive is often more beneficial than trying to get rid of the negative.

My advice to school administrators is to support teachers to engage in appreciative mindsets in how they view their school, their work and their lives. Encourage teachers to get together, engage with their colleagues, share ideas and celebrate what is working well. While positive scholarship does not deny the existence of negative experiences and the suffering and trauma that can afflict all of us, a deliberate focus on the positive can create an environment where all can thrive and flourish.

Learn more:

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Karen Ragoonaden, Professor of Teaching, Director, Centre for Mindful Engagement

French-speaking degree holders take note – the BC Ministry of Education has recently announced funding for an additional 20 prospective French educators for the Bachelor of Education program at UBC Okanagan.

This is a huge opportunity for prospective French educators in this province. Not only are these extra spaces in our BEd program being created for our 2019 intake, but a bursary of up to $1,600 may also be available to help these student offset their tuition costs.

Okanagan School of Education professor Karen Ragoonaden spoke with CBC Radio-Canada to fill in the details.

Listen Now (7 min 46 s)

Learn more:

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(Left) Leyton Schnellert accepts the Teaching Excellence and Innovation Award;
Sabre Cherkowski (centre) with UBC Okanagan’s Deputy Vice Chancellor & Principal Deborah Buszard (left) and Provost and Vice-Principal Academic Cynthia Mathieson (right)

Earlier this month, professors, teaching assistants and tutors who went above and beyond in 2017-18 were honoured at the 11th annual Teaching Awards Reception on UBC’s Okanagan campus.

One of the big awards for the night— the Award for Teaching Excellence and Innovation— was presented to the Faculty of Education’s Leyton Schnellert.

Dr. Schnellert was recognized for his innovative and transformative initiatives in education. Since he joined UBC Okanagan in 2011, Dr. Schnellert has created numerous partnerships with school districts around the province, with a special focus on rural communities. His collaborative work has led to the establishment of in situ learning opportunities for teacher candidates in the Okanagan, Shuswap and in rural communities throughout the province. Of particular note, in partnership with the Central Okanagan School District he co-created a permanent field studies space at Pearson Road Elementary School dedicated to collaborative teaching, learning and research.

“Dr. Schnellert is viewed as a leader and a mentor by students, colleagues, and teachers alike,” said Provost and Vice-Principal Academic Dr. Cynthia Mathieson in handing out the award. “Leyton has transformed courses for the education program and provided an exceptional model of quality and pedagogy in BC, Canada and the United States.”

“It’s been such a privilege to collaborate with educators in their schools throughout the region as part of my courses,” says Dr. Schnellert. “I’ve had the opportunity to research and share the work in a variety of venues, from conferences and refereed journals, to book chapters and film.”

UBCO Faculty of Education members Stephen Berg, Scott Douglas and Sabre Cherkowski we’re also recognized as part of the Teaching Honour Roll— a list of UBCO educators who have achieved a top 10% score in student evaluations.

“In my teaching practice, I strive to collaborate with students on tasks that are grounded in authentic contexts and purposes in order to mirror and amplify the complex futures learners face outside the walls of the classroom,” said Dr. Scott Douglas.

Dr. Stephen Berg had a similar sentiment, pointing out that focusing on the students is the key to creating a quality learning experience:

“My overall philosophy with students is to personalize learning, so I adopt a student-centered strategy in which I take a leadership and a creative role in course and program development. For me, teaching is a passion and I am truly grateful for the students I have taught and what they have taught me!”

The Faculty of Education is both grateful and proud of the achievements of all of our dedicated and exceptional faculty, TAs and tutors.

Those who wish to cheer on Dr. Schnellert one more time will be given the chance at this year’s convocation ceremony on June 8, where he will be formally recognized with the Award for Teaching Excellence and Innovation amongst the students whose lives and experience he’s touched with his work.

Learn more:

Mark Button

Terry-Lee Beaudry (centre) named Education Advocate of the Year

Recipients for the 2018 ABCDE Awards in Education have been announced with one of our own receiving the honour.

The Association of BC Deans of Education (ABCDE) presented Terry-Lee Beaudry an award for Education Advocate of the Year. Ms. Beaudry serves as Deputy Superintendent, Central Okanagan S.D. 23, Kelowna. She also serves as an adjunct professor with UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Education.

Terry-Lee has a long and impressive record of implementing district, provincial, and community initiatives. She is well-known for her exceptional work with First Nations bands, teachers and students. Her passions include early learning, Aboriginal education, parents as partners, youth at risk, teenage mothers, community partnerships, curriculum development, collaborative learning teams, Education law, and leadership development. Terry-Lee is committed to just, inclusive and equitable practices for all students. She possesses excellent skills, a rich depth of experience, and exemplary personal characteristics, all of which contribute to her successful district leadership and to her strong ties with the UBC Okanagan campus.

Each ABCDE award winner receives an engraved plaque and a monetary award.

ABCDE initiated its annual awards program in 2005. Previous winners are listed at http://www.educ.sfu.ca/abcde/awards.html.

 

 

Teaching Positions September 2017
Director of Academics
Science Middle Years
Mathematics Middle Years
French Junior and Senior
Senior Resource Specialist
Fine Arts & Drama Senior
Physical Education
Full Time T O C (0.6-0.8 also available)

Experience in any of the following areas would be an asset.

• Trip Risk Management
• First Nations
• University Guidance Assistance
• Experiential Education
• ELL
• Coaching

Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School provides excellent academics, athletics, arts and character education to 600+ Preschool to Grade 12 students. Our highly trained faculty receive mentoring and development opportunities to be leading professionals in their fields using cutting-edge classroom technology in a newly built inspiring campus setting.

What sets us apart from other schools is an open and collaborative culture amongst our faculty. We welcome applicants who like us are innovative, progressive, adaptable and passionate about raising the next generation to lead meaningful lives as contributing citizens to their communities.

The successful applicant will be a team player and participate in extra-curricular activities. Aberdeen Hall offers above the grid compensation and excellent long-term potential. We thank all candidates for their time and interest; however, only those to be interviewed will be contacted. Please forward resumes attention to: Christopher Grieve, Head of School at crystal.k@aberdeenhall.com

Attend our exclusive iday event in March 2017.
If you are looking to secure a teaching position for September 2017, iday can help find you your dream job! Our iday event is a 4 day trip to the UK, flights accommodation and transport whilst in the UK paid for. Interview face to face with schools, attend a CPD session, have the chance to visit 2 schools.
Find the right school, the right fit at our March iday event!

What is iday?
iday is a unique event that takes place in the UK over the course of a week. Selected Canadian teachers will fly to the UK and be given the opportunity to interview in-person with a number of different schools, which have been selected to match your teaching subject and style. You will be assigned a dedicated consultant prior to the event who will work with you to understand your requirements and guide you through every step of the process. With all major costs including flights, accommodation and interview travel covered by Engage Education, iday enables teachers to focus on the interview process, in order to secure a full-time position. Check out our new video to get an inside look! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ObiNUNWJos&t=13s

Why iday?
At Engage Education, we believe that the right fit is important. We are committed to finding the right school for the right teacher at the right time, in order to make teaching in the UK a positive and rewarding experience. Why risk accepting a position over the phone when you can meet the staff face to face, teach a lesson and tour the school?
At iday, 90% of teachers are hired into full-time positions that reflect their personality, subject areas, experience and desired location.

What next?
Simply send a copy of your teaching resume to: Lyndsay Chapman, Senior Talent Acquisition Consultant at lyndsay.chapman@engage-education.com in order to set up an interview with us.

Date & Time

Start: March 9, 2017 04:30 PM

End: March 9, 2017 06:30 PM

Location

Address: 1137 Alumni Ave Engineering, Management and Education Bldg

City: Kelowna

Province: British Columbia

Contact

Name: Sabre Cherkowski

Email: jill.dickau@ubc.ca

Description

Living Democracy: Examining the vital connections between education and engaged citizenship.

Dr. Catherine Broom, Dr. Christopher Martin and Dr. Margaret Macintyre Latta will be presenting research on Canadian democracy and recent publications.

Kyle Hamilton and Ryan Holly, teachers from School District 23, will also be presenting about their work on citizenship, democracy and social justice through education.

RSVP:

https://living-democracy.eventbrite.com

Price:

FREE

If you are a certified BC teacher and would like to work 1-on-1 with students from K-Gr. 12 for the following subjects and exams, please contact us.

1. English, Math, Social Studies and Science, Physics, Chemistry, Biology
2. AP courses, IB courses
3. SSAT, IELTS

The Junction Literacy Centre provides an After School Reading Program at 5 Vernon elementary schools. Volunteers work with small groups of grade 2 and 3 children, under the direction of two certified teachers. This program takes place Mondays, Wednesdays or Thursdays from 3:00-4:15 from January to mid March. Volunteers can work one or two days as they choose. If you would like to support children as they learn to read and learn about early literacy strategies, please email skillsboost@junctionliteracy.ca or call Brigitt Johnson at 250.275.3117.