Remote Teaching in Challenging Times

Zoom

Difficult times. No Doubt. But I am grateful. I remain safely ensconced at home with my husband. I spend hour after hour reading and attending every webinar I can on remote learning. So much to take in. Educators, take heart. You are making a difference. Your students need you. The parents need you. Do the best you can. No more than that is expected. Just keep reaching out.

First Class at Laurier Milton

WelcomeFirst published in the Laurier Newsletter:

“I just wanted to thank you for a very interesting, engaging, emotional, and thought-provoking evening last night! I also enjoyed the story-telling aspect of your instruction and the ease with which it allowed us as participants to connect with one another. I am very excited to begin this learning journey with you and the many colleagues in the course” (Master of Education student, Milton Campus, 2020)

After many years of preparation, on January 8, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. the inaugural Master of Education class for the Laurier Milton Campus sparked to life. The heart of this first class was the mining, shaping, and sharing of significant personal stories; stories that represent us as deeply emotional and intellectual beings, as caring and insightful educators, as novice researchers and research participants.  Twenty-two highly-engaged students filled the bright and airy classroom located in Milton Education Village Innovation Centre. Together we talked, wrote, analyzed, laughed, and some of us even shed a tear or two. It was that meaningful. I was enthralled to witness the power, honesty, and compassion demonstrated in just the first class. Now, I can’t wait to be part of the second.

Dr. Cathy Miyata, Assistant Professor, Graduate Studies

Master of Education:

http://www.wlu.ca/programs/education/graduate/education-med/index.html

 

Research Study and Professional Development in Cairo, Egypt

First Published in Wilfrid Laurier Newsletter:

“We don’t want it to end,” states the senior-school educator, sitting on the floor with papers and markers still strewn about. I smile, because I’ve been delivering professional development to educators for 30 years and have never witnessed such enthusiasm. Alas, time is of the essence, the staff bus is leaving, Cairo traffic at rush hour is a nightmare, and security is tight with the president’s residence only a block away. So, vacate the school we must. We quickly pack up the workshop materials and sweep down the magnificent marble staircase into the grand foyer for final farewells. Hugs, selfies, and double cheek kisses.

The Egyptian educators here are as warm and affectionate as they are enthusiastic. A joy to work with. Our two days of professional development with the staff at the Dover American International School in Egypt has sadly come to an end, yet, friendships and bonds have been formed. Facebook and email addresses exchanged. It is not an ending at all. It is a window of opportunity and growth for both the facilitators and the staff. We are all excited, charged, and renewed.

Bruce Alexander, his wife Sherry, myself, Cathy Miyata, and my husband Kaz were invited guests at the Dover American International School through the Educator and Leadership Institute (ELI), a brainchild of Dr. Steve Sider, Associate Professor at Laurier’s Faculty of Education. ELI’s mission is to build teaching and leadership capacity in communities all over the world, including Haiti, Nepal, Ghana, China, and Egypt.

At Dover, Bruce, Sherry, Kaz, and myself each facilitated six workshops to 100 teachers (K-12) focusing on our areas of expertise.

Bruce and Sherry are experts in G Suite applications for education by Google. They had a chance to share their technological experience and demonstrate how to improve student learning with the use of technology.

I am a literacy and drama specialist with a penchant for storytelling and children’s literature. My husband Kaz is a primary specialist who specializes in the reading process. He worked exclusively with the Kindergarten teachers and co-teachers.

Dover is a private international school in El Shorouk, a suburb of Cairo. The building was originally designed to resemble a resort, which explains the magnificence of the structure, manicured grounds, lush courtyard garden and football, tennis and basketball courts. The school Director, Chuck Reid (former education director with the Avon Maitland District School Board in Ontario) and his wife Suzanne Tsuchida (former school principal in the Grand Erie Board) undertook management of the school in 2012. Identifying staff development as a priority, they began their partnership with ELI. In six years, their student enrollment and reputation has quadrupled. Chuck and Suzanne anticipate hosting many more professional teams and also welcome Laurier student teachers seeking an international placement. I highly recommend the experience. Not only were the staff wonderful and the school gorgeous, but our visit also included a guided tour of the pyramids of Giza and Saqqara, the Cairo Museum, shopping at the Khan-El-Khalili Bazaar and of course, a camel ride.

By Dr. Cathy Miyata – Assistant Professor of Literacy, Faculty of Education

Presenting at AERA!

AERA_Logo

I (Cathy) am delighted to be arriving in Washington D.C. this week to attend the American Educational Research Association Conference. I will be presenting a paper entitled, Examining the Influences: Literacy Teacher Educators who us a Multiliteracies Approach. This study is a subset of a larger study on which I have been a researcher. I examined 7 participants who demonstrated a proclivity toward multilitercies. As I used a grounded theory approach (which does not begin the research with a hypothesis) I was both intrigued and surprised by the findings. Hope you can join me on Monday, April 11, 11:45am to 1:15pm, at the Marriott Marquis, Level Three, Mount Vernon Square.

Abstract:

According to Dewey (1974) “[e]ducation, experience, and life are inextricably intertwined”. This study examined how early life experiences and other influences affected the practices of 7 literacy teacher educators (LTEs) who currently enact a multiliteracies approach. Early childhood experiences, mentors along their journey, personal and professional turning points, and developing notions of literacy were explored. Three findings (a) an innate love of language/literature, (b) inspiring mentorship, and (c) a unique set of dispositional qualities were significant contributing factors to these literacy teacher educators adopting a multiliteracies approach. The participants for this study were a subset from a large-scale study entitled, Literacy Teacher Educators: Their Backgrounds, Visions, and Practices which examines the lives of teacher educators from four countries: Canada, the USA, England and Australia.

Hope you can join me!

http://www.aera.net/EventsMeetings/tabid/10063/Default.aspx

My First Academic Article

I belong to a research team at OISE.  We are studying 28 Literacy Teacher Educators from four countries (Canada, U.S., Australia, and UK).  The work is fascinating.  Our first paper from our study has recently been published in the Journal of Education for Teaching.  The paper, A Foot in Many Camps: Literacy Teacher Educators Acquiring Knowledge Across Many Realms and Juggling Multiple Identities, is attached.  So excited!  Let me know what you think!

Foot In Many Camps

Presenting at the OADE Conference

The Ontario Association for the Development of Education Conference was held Feb 21st and 22nd at York University.    Nice setting.  I was presenting with my PhD supervisor on some of our recent research findings regarding the spheres of knowledge literacy teacher educators must develop in and how they go about making the developments happen.  I found it fascinating, so the presentation was easy.  Lots to say. Narrowing it down for a one hour presentation was the hard part.  I tend to find academic presentations a bit dry.  But this wasn’t.  This work is so insightful for new teacher educators, mid and late career teacher educators and administrators of teacher ed programs.   This is one of the most exciting and poignant articles I have ever read, let alone research and write about.  As the research is not published yet, I will not go into detail as of yet.  But thank you to the participants that came to hear us present.  I could tell how excited you were too and that was so encouraging.  More to come, dear reader, more to come.

Yeah, academic writing is hard

The other day I had a student in undergrad ask me if writing a dissertation was hard.  I was a bit amused.  “Yes”, I answered, “it’s really hard”.  I’m not sure if it feels hard because I wrote creatively for years.  Writing a novel comes from a completely different place.  It emerges differently and sings differently on the page.  It tended to stir me up, get me wound.  This type of writing is, well, logical.  And my logical, analytical side quite likes it, but it is painstakingly slow.  I am relieved that I have enough background knowledge in my specialty to at least keep writing.  I know where to find the articles and what scholars will back up my argument.    This is at least faster than it was when I was first conducting my research on my topic and writing papers about it.  I do see progress.  But the writing of a thesis is still different.  I wrote 1000 words today and I am exhausted.   My brain is tired.  My neck hurts.  I need a break.  But at least I leave the computer feeling as though I have accomplished something.  They are 1000 good words.  Well chosen and well supported words.  It’s hard, but it is satisfying.