YNTEP students to present at Western Canada teaching conference this week

WestCAST delegation
l-r: Liard McMillan, Martin Farrow, Colin Hickman, Brian Lewthwaite, Johanna McClements, Anya Zimmerman and Meg Henderson. (Not pictured: Bryan Laloge and Charlene Baker.)

WHITEHORSE—Eight students in the Yukon Native Teacher Education Program (YNTEP) and YNTEP After-Degree program at Yukon College are in Winnipeg, Manitoba, this week.

Meg Henderson, Bryan Laloge, Liard McMillan, Johanna McClements, Anya Zimmerman, Charlene Baker, Martin Farrow and Colin Hickman will present to the annual Western Canadian Association for Student Teaching (WestCAST) conference on the way sports can connect students to culture and on the impact of Canadian policy on Indigenous peoples from the 1763 Royal Proclamation to the present day.

The theme for the conference is “Contemporary Classrooms as Complex Spaces”. WestCAST 2018 will bring together 207 educators and pre-service teachers from 18 universities and six teacher associations at the University of Manitoba. This will be the first time YNTEP students have presented at WestCAST. They will be the only students providing perspectives from North of 60.

Farrow and Hickman hope their presentation on Arctic sports will become interactive, with their fellow student teachers attempting traditional games like kneel jump, Inuit stick pull and arm pull.

“We feel that sport is a way to tackle many of the complexities involved in teaching and learning. We will use Arctic sports to highlight how indigenous culture can be used to decolonize not only the classroom but also pedagogy. We will illustrate this by referencing various sports and their relationship to culture, from around the world,” said Hickman.

Henderson, Laloge, McMillan, McClements, Zimmerman and Baker hope their presentation will create space for dialogue around how all Canadians are affected by policies specifically focused on First Peoples stretching back over 250 years, and how better understanding can help teachers decolonize the classroom.

“Following up on the TRC calls to action, it fits with the overall mandate of YNTEP to provide pre-service teachers with the capacity to open safe spaces for dialogue around these topics and the ability to create mutual understanding through the common experience of all students in the classroom,” said McMillan.

“Our presentation is extremely relevant to the national conversation right now and it is an honour to be talking about Indigenizing education from our unique perspective as Northerners,” said McClements.

The students will be accompanied by YNTEP Program Coordinator Brian Lewthwaite.

“Classrooms at all levels are increasingly complex spaces and graduates of the YNTEP and After-Degree programs are well-equipped to help their students navigate this complexity, especially in regards to Indigenization and challenging conversations about Canada’s past and present relationship with Indigenous peoples,” said Lewthwaite.

There are currently 39 students registered in the four-year YNTEP and two-year After-Degree programs at Yukon College. YNTEP is a Bachelor of Education degree program at Yukon College offered in partnership with the University of Regina that focuses on preparing graduates for the unique demands of Yukon schools.

Prospective students can learn more at an upcoming YNTEP information session on March 6, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., in room A2402 at Ayamdigut Campus. People in rural communities can access the session remotely by contacting hehs@yukoncollege.yk.ca before 4 p.m. on March 6.

For further information, please contact:

Brian Lewthwaite
Faculty Advisor/Coordinator Yukon Native Teacher Education Program (YNTEP)
School of Health, Education & Human Services
Applied Arts Division

Michael Vernon
Communications Coordinator
College and External Relations