25 Jan 2016

January events

It has been a busy year- it turns out trying to juggle 3 different commitments (consultant, part-time prof and phd studies) means letting somethings slide- like blogging.  However, I did want to put up a quick post to link some of the work that I have been doing.

October 25-28 found me in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania participating in IIRP’s 19th world conference.  It was an amazing learning experience and an opportunity to engage with people interested in Restorative Justice and what that actually means for our own contexts.  I also enjoyed presenting with my colleague, Dr. Kristin Reimer and sharing how we are embedding Restorative Practice into Teacher Education at the University of Ottawa.  If interested, you can find the powerpoint and course syllabus that we shared at our session called “Embedding Restorative Practices and Circles into Teacher Education: The Missing Piece of the Puzzle” here.

In the teacher education world at the University of Ottawa, I have had the opportunity to participate in some amazing PD sessions focusing on Indigenous Rights & History- I highly recommend looking into  Kairos’s ‘the Blanket Exercise‘ and Indigenous Walks led by artist/writer Jaime Koebel.  Both opened my eyes and heart and sparked some great discourse in class.

The Pd sessions I have led since September for colleagues in different Cohorts have been: Classroom Environment (introducing students to the Bump classroom management system- see Classroom Management: A Thinking and Caring Approach by Barrie Bennett and Peter Smilanich), Using Circles in the classroom and An introduction to Restorative Practice.  I am considering offering a more advanced workshop around Framing questions and how to actually deal with providing students with Choice (Bump 3) and power struggles (Bump 5).  A short description of the bumps has been put together by faculty at Nippissing found at this link here.

January 6-9 found me in Glasgow, Scotland at the 29th ICSEI conference.  I really enjoyed presenting my paper “Mentoring and Coaching: Unpacking the Terminology” to a full house (I know they weren’t all there for me and it wasn’t a huge room!) and shaking things up with some circle activities during my ‘Innovate’ workshop called “Teachers Need Healthy, Safe and Supportive Learning Environments Too! Circling as a Pedagogical Tool to Build Community and Teachers’ Social Emotional Competencies.”  The programme in its entirety can be found here.  The biggest take-aways for me at this conference were the Keynote speakers- I loved seeing Pasi Sahlberg in action (I so want to be able to present like he does!) and having the opportunity to see educational giants in the flesh (Andy Hargreaves!).  I came away from this conference feeling pretty proud of the education system in Canada.  Of course there are so many areas that we can improve…but internationally (and according to Sahlberg) we have a great starting place in ‘Heaven.’ Ottawa is hosting the next ICSEI conference and I am excited to join the organizing committee and seeing how things work from that perspective.

So life keeps moving and now we are heading towards February…and I am excited & nervous to present at the Leadership Committee for English Education in Quebec (LCEEQ)’s annual conference featuring Russell Quaglia (Student Voice) on February 8-9.  My workshop is called “Circling Up: Building Community in the Diverse Classroom,” and I hope to use this blog/website as a place to compile resources for teachers interested in circle pedagogy, restorative practice and building community in their classroom.  I am thrilled that my session is in the first block because I will be able to relax once it is finished and soak up all the amazing workshops and keynotes that are on offer.  This has definitely always been one of my favourite conferences as a practitioner and I am thrilled to be part of it.  I only hope that I deliver the quality of workshop that people have come to expect from this conference.  Fingers crossed….

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