A band of UWinnipegers made up of seven education students and three faculty members attended the Western Canadian Association for Student Teachers (WestCAST) conference held at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The WestCAST conference is organized to provide pre-service educators an opportunity to present in a formal setting as well as to learn from other student teachers and professors from many academic for over 30 years.
This year Drs. Jeannie Kerr and Laura Sokal plus Deb Woloshyn, Director of Student Teaching at UWinnipeg accompanied Diana Allen, Brianne Bartel, Ian Dimopoulos, Joanna Jimena, Taylor Martin, Kimmey Panaligan, and Hannah Sagaral. All participating students had to apply to present at this professional conference that was attended by over 350 pre-service teachers, in-service teachers, administrators, professors and directors of student teaching from six provinces and the USA.
“Our students have the opportunity to hear keynote speakers who are outstanding in their field and never fail to inspire and generate deep conversation on their relevant topics,” said Woloshyn. “In the 15 years that UWinnipeg has participated in this conference, we see a number of advantages for our students: having the opportunity to collaborate with our professors in using and understanding research; preparing for presentations that are research supported; and sharing, discussing and learning from like-minded engaged educators. Also, very importantly, our students are honored to be selected by the Faculty to represent UWinnipeg at this conference.”
Woloshyn supervised the internal vetting and mentoring process for students who applied to present and received feedback on their proposals from Kerr and Sokal. In addition, these students worked with mentors to develop and refine their presentations.
This year, all applicants’ proposals were accepted, and all students who presented received a subsidy to support air travel, hotel and accommodation from UWinnipeg.
Topics and the students who presented include:
Allen and Dimopoulos presented a workshop on goal setting and leadership.
Their presentation helped empower educators to take control of their professional growth.
“Our purpose here was to encourage educators to identify and pursue their personal and professional passions. In doing this work, surrounded by our amazing peers from all over North America, we find our own passion ignited. We can’t wait to get back to the classroom!“ ~ Allen and Dimopoulos
Jimena and Panaligan presented on how to create belongingness in the secondary mathematics classroom.
Student anxieties over math impacts ability, success, and future career choices. In this presentation, Jimena and Panaligan focused on theory and practical applications to support student belonging in the mathematics classroom setting to support success. Drawing on the Circle of Courage, they shared practical applications for senior years math teachers.
“Attending WestCast was both an honour and privilege, I learned so much and feel even more motivated to become a good educator. It was inspiring to hear from other teacher candidates across Western Canada, and to meet others with the same vision for the future generation.” ~ Jimena
“WestCAST was such a meaningful way to connect and relate with other fellow teacher candidates from different parts of Canada. It was so powerful to just come together as one and share how each of us hope to ignite the future!”~ Panaligan
Bartel and Martin presented findings of a project about animal-assisted activities on which they worked as senior research assistants at UWinnipeg.
The presentation explored the effects of school-based animals on student stress, happiness, and well-being. Their findings suggest that not all types of classroom pets would offer the same benefits to students.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to travel to UBC and represent UWinnipeg and present our research on Animal Assisted Activities. Taking part in engaging workshops and interacting with other passionate and inspirational educators has solidified my interest in continuing my formal education into graduate studies and pursuing further research.” ~ Bartel
“WestCAST has been an incredible opportunity to learn from peers and colleagues across the country. It has been such a great experience to see what is trending in the field of education not only in my own province but around Western Canada. WestCAST has been a great opportunity for me to share my passions and hard work with fellow educators from across Canada. Spending the last few days being able to educate my peers, challenge my thinking and gather new teaching strategies has been such a great experience.” ~ Martin
And finally Sagaral presented on strategies for working with marginalized youth and how to work effectively with at-risk students.
Her presentation included stories from Sagaral’s personal experience working with at-risk students in partnership with my cooperative teachers.
“WestCast is an experience that has enriched, encouraged, and empower me as a future educator and a life-long learner. I am very thankful and blessed for this opportunity.” ~ Sagaral