Belonging Conference- August 14-15, 2017
Many TESL NB members as well as other educators from around the province gathered together at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton to talk about what it means to belong. Keynotes and workshops centred on the theme of belonging as it applies to a variety of education settings. A brainchild of UNB’s late Dean Ann Sherman, this conference brought together passionate educators who deeply care about the inclusion of all learners. During her life as an educator, Ann was devoted to finding ways to ensure that children, youth and adults from a variety of linguistic and cultural backgrounds were included and engaged in our learning environments. In addition, she believed that all children of all abilities deserve a meaningful and inclusive education.
To bring Dean Sherman’s dream to reality, prominent educators and researchers shared their thoughts and insights in 4 keynotes. Dr. Blye Frank, Dean of Education at UBC, presented an educational model that highlighted the way that policy, curriculum, pedagogy and language can work together to create (or not!) a climate of cultural safety.Dr. Jan Stewart of the University of Winnipeg shared her experiences working with refugee children and youth in schools across the globe. On Tuesday, Dr. Roma Chumak-Horbatsch gave a very lively and informative keynote about her approach called “Linguistically Appropriate Practice” and strategies for creating an inclusive multilingual classroom. Tammy Strong, a local educator and inclusion specialist, gave the final keynote focusing on strategies for creating a more inclusive environment for all learners.
In addition to these great keynote talks, educators from UNB and from a variety of educational settings shared the insights they have gleaned from their experiences working with newcomers, children, youth and adults with exceptionalities, and first nations students. Included among these workshops was a session offered by TESL NB members Chantal Lafargue, Paula Kristmanson and Kathy Whynot (pictured, left to right) whose presentation focused on Empathy and Intercultural Competence.