There’s an urban legend in post-secondary education that a law school dean once told incoming students to look to their left and right, telling them “only one of the three of you will graduate.”
As she delivered the Faculty of Education morning Convocation address at Brock University Wednesday, June 12, Associate Professor Dolana Mogadime said every student in that tale is important.
“In education, we’re concerned with all three students, not just the ones who are destined for success,” she said. “It’s not a numbers game because our success as educators is tied to the success of all of our students.”
Mogadime, who serves as the PhD Program Director for the Joint PhD in Educational Studies Program, was the 2018 recipient of the Brock University Open Access Award.
At Brock, she served as Vice-Chair of the Human Rights Task Force, Program Director of the Anti-racism Task Force and was part of the President’s Advisory Committee on Human Rights, Equity and Decolonization Transitional Committee.
She also works with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg and is Chair and Co-ordinator of the Teaching Nelson Mandela Advisory Committee.
In speaking to the graduates Wednesday, Mogadime said Mandela is a good example of the type of student who could easily have been forgotten about as a child if we ignored ‘the one to your left, and the one to your right.’
“Who would have expected that this child from such a modest background would grow up to become an epic world peacemaker and win a Nobel Prize,” she said. “Increase your ability to recognize a tiny jewel with special powers. Teach every child as if he or she will be the person who finds the cure for cancer.”
Mogadime said that through giving attention to all children in a classroom, teachers are also improving their own lives.
“By answering the children in great need, we grow a little bit more. We expand ourselves through our compassion,” she said, pointing out that a recent study showed an estimated 40 per cent of Indigenous children live in poverty in Canada.
“Care for the two in three and the four in 10 because our children are not numbers,” she said.
Delivering the afternoon Convocation address was Associate Professor of Music Education Shelley Griffin, recipient of the Faculty of Education’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. The Prince Edward Island native encouraged the students to never forget their roots and the power those roots hold.
“From a young age, I came to understand community, what it means to be neighbourly, instilling faith in God, assisting those in need, being a friend and developing a love for music making within the vibrant cultural music landscape of Prince Edward Island,” she said. “My father taught me that no matter where I go in life, never forget my roots.”
She said that like tree roots, life roots provide support, extending beyond what can be seen.
“The intricacies of these roots are what drew you toward the desire to learn more about teaching and learning and the powerful impact you can make on someone else’s life.
“What better way to understand our emotional roots than through the power of the arts? Music allows us to get in touch with our hearts and souls in deep and profound ways. It’s all around us,” she said.
REPLAY: Faculty of Education, 10 a.m. Ceremony
REPLAY: Faculty of Education, 2:30 p.m. Ceremony
Brock’s 105th Convocation continues in Ian Beddis Gymnasium each day this week. The remaining schedule includes:
Goodman School of Business, Thursday, 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Faculty of Mathematics and Science, Friday, 10 a.m.
Faculty of Humanities, Friday, 10 a.m.