Life stories at heart of Education prof’s teaching

Every educator has a personal story, and they all matter to Dolana Mogadime.

The Professor in Brock’s Faculty of Education (FOE) is passionate about the significance of life stories and how they shape identity and the understanding of humanity.

Mogadime, who addressed the Faculty’s newest graduates on Thursday, June 15 during Brock’s 113th Convocation, received the 2023 FOE Award for Teaching Excellence.

Her teaching philosophy is deeply connected to her ongoing work with the Canadian Museum of Human Rights (CMHR), a driving force for her energies as a scholar and educator and a key part of her personal story as a South African Canadian woman.

As the CMHR Inaugural Visiting Scholar (2018-19), she focused on the development of education support materials for the Mandela Struggle for Freedom exhibition, which led to the development of a recently released curriculum designed to help students from kindergarten to Grade 12 learn about Nelson Mandela in a global context.

“Through the COVID-19 pandemic, and parallel pandemic of racism, there were calls and directives from governing bodies — and the world — to redress anti-Black racism and all forms of discrimination,” Mogadime said.

As an educator of teachers at the undergraduate and graduate level, Mogadime is helping her students to address these issues in practical ways, answering the call to create inclusive learning environments for future generations.

“We must care about the people that are systemically discriminated against and learn how we can have agency in our society, that knowledge can lead us toward participating in social change,” Mogadime said.

Through a variety of teaching methodologies, including studying biographies of marginalized individuals throughout history and the work of poets such as Maya Angelou, Mogadime guides students to tap into their own humanity to explore human rights in relation to broader concerns.

Catherine Susin stands in a brightly lit space.

Susin is the recipient of the 2023 Faculty of Education Award for Excellence in Sessional Teaching.

She also draws on the theory of holistic education, which explores themes of self-actualization and its impacts on how educators respond to their students.

“I aim to help students appreciate the spirit of people and find their own voice,” she said. “We have a responsibility as educators to have a sense of connectedness to one another. It is a guiding principle, alongside respect, driving an insatiable desire to want to learn about other people.”

Mogadime is currently contributing to an upcoming research topic published by Frontiers Education Journal in honour of United Nations International Women’s Day. The focus of the issue is on celebrating the work of women teacher education researchers. Through these inspiring narratives, Mogadime, co-editors and contributors, illustrate how hearing life stories of individuals with lived experiences of discrimination can provide understanding and hope for a better future for all.

The Faculty of Education also recently recognized Catherine Susin (BA ’17, BEd ’17, MEd ’18) with the 2023 Faculty of Education Award for Excellence in Sessional Teaching. Susin is a Sessional Instructor in the Department of Educational Studies and Administrative Co-ordinator for the Brock Learning Lab.

Having completed a Concurrent Teacher Education program herself, Susin has a deep understanding of the journey teacher candidates are on, allowing her to build a strong rapport with students while developing her own classroom practices.

“I am incredibly honoured to receive this award and to have the opportunity to work with and learn from so many remarkable sessional instructors, faculty, supervisory and administrative staff and students,” said Susin. “Brock has a special place in my heart. It is where I have completed my undergraduate, teaching and master’s degrees and have developed my teaching practices over the last several years.”

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