Paul Martin will speak at Edge 2009: Innovation and Inspiration in Teacher Education – an international conference hosted by Memorial’s Faculty of Education, which runs from Oct 14-16.
Mr. Martin is currently the co-chair, with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai, $ 200-million British-Norwegian poverty alleviation and sustainable development fund for the 10-nation Congo Basin Rainforest.
Mr. Martin was Canada’s 21st prime minister, serving from 2003-2006.
He has recently established two new initiatives for indigenous communities. The Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative, which aims to reduce the Aboriginal youth dropout rate and increasing the number of Aboriginal students attending post-secondary institutions. His second initiative, the CAPE Fund, helps establish and grow successful mid-market Aboriginal businesses both on and off reserve.
His talk at the Edge conference is titled Indigenous Education: Seeking Advice. He hopes his talk will be more of a forum for discussion, and made it very clear that he’s not coming to make a speech, but to outline his initiatives.
“I’m far more interested in what the audience has got to say than what I want to say,” he said. “These are some of the leading educators from around the world, and we’re very active in Aboriginal high schools, primary/elementary schools. I’m coming to outline what we’re doing so that I can get the comments and the expertise of the people who are in the audience.”
Edge 2009 features presenters and attendees from around the globe, including the UK, US, India, Uganda, Nigeria, Israel, as well as representatives from all 10 provinces in Canada and 10 US states.
Under the umbrella of inspiration and innovation in education fall many fascinating speaker topics, from “ ‘It smells gross, sir’: A school gardening and composting project with junior high students”, to “Teaching: How juggling while roller skating can bridge the theory to practice gap”, to “Child’s Play: Using popular culture and the imagination to teach emergent literacies in the public classroom.”
Grad student Joan Dohey will present on how filmmaking can be incorporated into modern school curriculum.
“’Lights! Camera! Action!’ versus ‘Grab your pen and paper!’ – which one sounds more exciting?” she challenged. “As educators, we need to tap into our students’ passion for technology. Having watched my daughter go through school unmotivated and unengaged, and basically doing the same things I did 30-plus years ago, I questioned the delivery of our curriculum. My research is child-based and motivates kids by tapping into their passions, giving them a vehicle and voice with which to discover and interpret the world around them.”