Memorial University’s Faculty of Education and the Labrador Institute, in cooperation with the Association of Canadian Deans and Directors of Education, hosted a two-day symposium that brought together teacher educators working in the Indigenous context to share ideas and experiences regarding teacher preparation programs. EDGE 2015: The Third Annual Canadian Symposium on Indigenous Teacher Education was held at The Labrador Interpretation Centre in North West River, Labrador, on March 26 and 27.
Dr. Kirk Anderson, Dean of the Faculty of Education, said the symposium had an excellent turnout. “More than 60 teacher educators and administrators from across Canada and Europe attended the symposium.”
There were multiple sessions and presentations related to Indigenous Teacher Education on the themes of: Indigenous voices, land based education, Indigenous ways of knowing, educational partnerships and development, language and culture. Attendees enjoyed land based and local experiences, such as tours of the Lake Melville and Sheshatshiu Innu schools, skiing and snowshoeing at Birch Brook Nordic Ski Club and dog sledding. Local entertainment was provided by The Happy Valley-Goose Bay Drum Dancers and a Labrador themed banquet supper was served.
The Faculty of Education started the “EDGE” concept in 2009 to share innovation in teacher education at a bi-annual conference. EDGE 2015 marks the first time the conference was held outside of St. John’s.
"The EDGE concept looks at promising ideas that are of high importance to our faculty and to our society," said Dr. Anderson. "The Indigenous teacher education component also reflects Memorial's role and the role of the Labrador Institute for the Indigenous people of Labrador."
Hosting EDGE 2015 in Labrador also celebrated the launch of the bachelor of education (primary/elementary) degree program for Nunatsiavut. This program is a result of collaboration between the faculty of education, the Labrador Institute, the college of the North Atlantic and the Nunatsiavut Government. A ceremonial signing of the memorandum of understanding took place at the symposium.
A preparatory year was offered to students in the degree program in September 2014 and formal admissions to the program will take place in September 2015. "We have 18 people in the pre-education program that is ongoing now, and we are hoping for about 25 more to join in September," said Dr. Anderson. “These students will not only come out with a degree at the end, they will also be able to speak conversational Inuktitut.”
For additional information on the symposium, including an agenda listing the keynote presentations and showcases, please visit: http://www.mun.ca/educ/edge2015.php.