Faculty of Education September 2021 Newsletter Published

The September issue of our Education Exchange newsletter has been published. This newsletter brings our current and former students, as well as our educational partners, together to share news, successes, and innovations. In this issue, you'll find discussion of the Aki-based curriculum, a spotlight on an innovative course design, faculty news, alumni profiles, and more.

To access our Education Exchange newsletter, click the following link: 

Education Exchange Newsletter (September 2021)

To see previous issues of the newsletter, visit the newsletter archives.

Education Alumna Dr. Sarah Pash Re-elected Chairperson of the Cree School Board

Dr. Sarah Pash, graduate of the Joint PhD in Educational Studies program (2014), has been re-elected chairperson of the Cree School Board, the organization founded in 1978 to provide education in Eeyou Istchee, the Cree territory in northern Quebec. 

Pash campaigned for greater transparency, meeting firm education standards, and hiring Crees. 

This will be her second three-year term at the helm of the organization after first being elected chairperson in 2018. She is pushing to expand the range of Cree content taught in schools, in addition to the Cree language and culture classes, which see called "ghettoized."

"Why aren't our kids learning Indigenous technology in science class… [or] stories about the landforms and rivers in geography class? This would help with identity construction," she noted in a CBC news article.

Before becoming elected to her first mandate as chairperson of the Cree School Board, Sarah was executive director at the Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute in Oujé-Bougoumou.

Royal Society of Canada Honours Dr. Ruth Beatty for Her Remarkable Contributions

Dr. Ruth Beatty (Associate Professor, Orillia campus) has been elected to the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, which recognizes those who have demonstrated a high level of achievement at an early stage of their career.

Members of the College represent the emerging generation of Canadian intellectual leadership and provide new advances in understanding, resulting from the interaction of diverse intellectual, cultural, and social perspectives.

Ruth was selected for the College as a result of her collaborative and community-based research on the connections between Indigenous ways of knowing mathematics and the Western mathematics found in the Ontario curriculum.

“I am honoured to receive this award for our work, which is primarily about building reciprocal relationships with Indigenous knowledge keepers, leaders, artists, and educators as we investigate the mathematics inherent in cultural practices,” she said.

Ruth, who joined Lakehead University in 2009, is a mathematics education researcher who works with Anishnaabe, Cree, and Métis communities to decolonize education. She does this by collaboratively designing culturally responsive mathematics instruction for all students, and emphasizing learning from and incorporating Indigenous pedagogical perspectives in inclusive classroom settings.

She has received a number of awards for this work, including Lakehead University’s Community Engaged Research Award and Indigenous Partner Research Award and an eagle feather presented to her by Colinda Clyne, who is Anishinaabe kwe (Kitigan Zibi First Nation) and the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Curriculum Lead for the Upper Grand DSB.


Decolonizing Math Education: Dr. Ruth Beatty and Colleagues’ Research Recognized

A research project focused on decolonizing math education by Dr. Ruth Beatty (Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, Orillia) and co-researchers Colinda Clyne (Anishinaabe kwe and Curriculum Lead for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education for the Upper Grand District School Board) and Christina Ruddy (Algonquin artist and ethnomathematician) is featured on the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) website.

The project, which includes Indigenous artists and educators from local communities, connects Indigenous art forms including beading, birch bark basket-making and moccasin-making with mathematical concepts such as algebraic, proportional, and spatial reasoning. To date, more than 1,000 students across Ontario have participated in the work, and the project has expanded to include Saskatchewan and Manitoban communities.

The project has received three levels of funding from SSHRC (an Indigenous Research Capacity and Reconciliation Connection Grant, a Connection Grant, and an Insight Development Grant) and received Lakehead University’s Community Engaged Research and Indigenous Partnership Research awards. You can read the story of their project, and how they are supporting learners by honouring Indigenous mathematical knowledge and practices, here: “What We Can Learn from Indigenous Teaching Methods.”

Pictured below: Grade 3 students at Eganville and District Public School show their beadwork projects, in which they learned about the relationships between wrist measurements, bead size and pattern dimensions, and how to make adjustments to get desired results.

Dr. Gerald Walton and Gianluca Agostinelli Co-Authors of New Book

Dr. Gerald Walton (Professor, Faculty of Education) and Gianluca Agostinelli (PhD candidate, Joint PhD in Educational Studies program) have recently published a new book, Being Boys: Shaping Gender Norms to Weaken Rape Culture.

The publisher, DIO Press Incorporated, notes that the book advocates for “the disruption of usual ideas about masculinity and how it shows in the thoughts, attitudes, and behaviours of boys and men. These ideas are disseminated and validated through pop culture, schooling, athletics, social media, family, places of worship, playgrounds, pornography, and other sites of learning. With sharp, feminist-informed analyses of contemporary events and news stories, Walton and Agostinelli present a ‘heads up’ to boys and men: the problem of sexual violence against girls and women is ours to address and work through.”

Challenging damaging expectations of what it means to be a man in today’s world, the goal of the book is, ultimately, to prevent sexual assault through an unlearning of problematic gender norms that equate masculinity with sexual violence.

Pictured below: Dr. Gerald Walton (top) and Gianluca Agostinelli (below).

BEd Graduate Lauren Strauss Receives Ontario English Catholic Teachers Assocation Faculty of Education Award

Congratulations to Lauren Strauss (BEd graduate, 2021), who has received the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA) Faculty of Education Award. This annual award recognizes teacher candidates’ academic excellence in preservice Catholic religion courses and their advocacy for social justice and related activities that support equity and inclusivity.

Lauren explains that volunteer commitments in various communities in her life have taught her about the value of developing relationships with others.

“Growing up, I was a part of a children’s choir and then became an Alter Server, both of which allowed me to play an active role within the church. I was also a volunteer reader at my school for any masses or liturgies that took place.

I have volunteered at two different camps aimed at inclusivity for children with special needs, and being part of these camps taught me important lessons about making sure every child feels included. I also coached a young girls’ softball team, which allowed me to give back to an organization that focused on developing team work skills in youth.

My involvements have contributed to my faith because they have allowed me to give back to my community, while building relationships with those around me. Through volunteering, I am able to see the positive impact I can have on others, which is at the core of having and practicing faith.”

Having recently graduated from the BEd program, Lauren plans to take an Additional Qualifications course in religious education and to seek employment within a Catholic school board.

“I hope to be able to inspire my students, as past teachers have done for me,” she says.

Congratulations Lauren on this award!

BEd Graduate Janae Grafham Receives Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation Faculty of Education Award

Congratulations to Janae Grafham (BEd graduate, 2021), who has received the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) Faculty of Education Award. The award is granted to a graduating Intermediate/Senior Teacher Candidate who exemplifies award criteria, including engaging in social activism to promote the professional nature of teaching and demonstrating leadership among Teacher Candidates.

Janae’s dedication to activism and leadership is evidenced by her commitment to being a mental health advocate through her involvement with Jack.org, an organization that trains and empowers young leaders to revolutionize mental health. She is an environmental activist, involved with the Ontario Nature program and recently presented at the Forests Ontario “Growing Our Future” conference. She is also a youth leader for The Youth Circle for Mother Earth, a group that aims to protect lands and waters for future generations through cross-cultural knowledge sharing, dialogue, and youth mentorship. As part of this role, she recently guided a team of youth on a month-long virtual Youth Summit for Mother Earth.

Janae explains that her longstanding passions for environmental science and working with others to make a difference culminated in her decision to pursue the Bachelor of Education program and the one-year Certificate in Indigenous Learning program. She notes that the OSSTF award “has encouraged me to consider what it means to be part of a team. When people come together for a common purpose, great accomplishments are possible.”

Since graduating, Janae has accepted a position teaching high school science.   

Congratulations Janae on these achievements!

January Issue of Faculty Newsletter Published

The January issue of our Education Exchange newsletter has been published. This newsletter brings our current and former students, as well as our educational partners, together to share news, successes, and innovations. In this issue, you'll find discussion of the move to online teaching, alumni profiles, faculty news, and more.

To access our Education Exchange newsletter, click the following link: 

Education Exchange Newsletter (January 2021)

To see previous issues of the newsletter, visit the newsletter archives.

SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant Awarded: Fostering the Socio-Economic Resistance of a Maple Syrup Operation

Dr. Sonia Mastrangelo (Associate Professor, Education) is a co-investigator on a research project that has been awarded a SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant. Sonia is working alongside Principal Investigator Dr. Gerardo Reyes (Assistant Professor, Biology, Lakehead University) and an interdisciplinary team on the research project entitled: Fostering the Socio-Ecological Resilience of CCO's Maple Syrup Operation in the Face of Climate Change.

The team’s research examines a maple syrup sugarbush operation at Camphill Communities Ontario (CCO), a not-for-profit organization in Simcoe County that provides support services to adults with intellectual disabilities. Using a socio-ecological perspective, the research examines:

  • adaptive strategies to reduce the sugarbush operation’s vulnerability to climate change. Maple syrup production is intimately tied to climate change, as increases in temperatures and changes to the frequency, timing, and duration of precipitation events and freeze-thaw cycles have altered sugar maple’s cycles of production;
  • the impacts of the sugarbush operation on tree health, syrup quality, and productivity;
  • the benefits of the sugarbush operation to the CCO community. In particular, the research examines which aspects of the social enterprise activities provide the most benefit to adults with developmental disabilities (e.g., acquiring new skills, improving self-esteem, etc.), which will help shape current and future practices in the sugarbush operation.

Together, these multiple layers of information will help to shape socio-ecological adaptation strategies to climate change, and thus, ensure that the sugarbush operation continues to meet CCO’s mission “to enrich society by creating meaningful opportunities to live, learn, and work together.”

Pictured below: Dr. Sonia Mastrangelo (left) with Principal Investigator Dr. Gerardo Reyes

Dr. Connie Russell Named Lakehead University Research Chair in Environmental Education

Dr. Connie Russell (Professor, Faculty of Education, Thunder Bay campus) has been named the Lakehead University Research Chair in Environmental Education. The adjudication committee noted that Dr. Russell is “an established scholar who has made major impacts in the field” and lauded her national and international reputation, publication record, editing work, and outstanding record of graduate student supervision. They also appreciated “the social importance and timeliness” of the research project she proposed on humour and environmental education.

As Dr. Russell notes: “Doom-and-gloom discourse is unfortunately quite common in environmental circles. That can leave learners feeling overwhelmed, so it is no wonder that some tune out or retreat in despair. There has been a surge of interest in the emotional dimensions of environmental education recently, but thus far the possibilities and pitfalls of using humour have received little attention in the field. There are many questions worth exploring, including why, when, where, and how environmental educators choose to use humour and what impacts it may have on teaching and learning, mental health, and environmental engagement.” She is currently collaborating with colleagues on a special issue of the journal, Environmental Education Research, that is focusing on humour. It has garnered interest from scholars, cartoonists, and comedians from around the world, and she hopes it will feed a number of research and teaching partnerships.

Dr. Russell says, “I am grateful to have been awarded a LU Research Chair since it gives me more time to focus on research as well as some funding that can be used to employ graduate students as research assistants.”