Indigenous language revitalization project among those funded to further Brock’s teaching excellence

Supported by funding from Brock University, a new crop of innovative teaching projects is set to get underway, beginning three years of growth and development.

The projects are funded by the Chancellor’s Chair for Teaching Excellence, distributed by the University’s Centre for Pedagogical Innovation (CPI), with each receiving $5,000 in each of the three years they take place. The funds contribute to enriching the Brock student experience while having an impact on best teaching and learning practices to benefit educators in diverse fields.

“Funding these innovative projects focused on teaching benefits the entire Brock community,” CPI’s Director of Teaching and Learning Giulia Forsythe said. “Students benefit from the enriched evidence-based approach to create deep, meaningful learning opportunities, and Instructors and staff benefit as these thoughtful scholars share their process and disseminate their findings.”

One of this year’s funded projects will focus on Indigenous community language revitalization and is led by Assistant Professor Bobby Henry and Associate Professor Sandra Della Porta of the Department of Educational Studies.

Della Porta said the initiative gives the opportunity to recognize the impact of structural power on the teaching and learning process in education.

“In our decolonizing efforts, we should be moving away from the direct instruction model to more engaging, inclusive and community-oriented spaces, centralizing harmony from curriculum development to course delivery,” she said.

While one of the main goals of the project is to build reciprocal partnerships with Māori communities in New Zealand to explore curriculum development and learn first-hand about incorporating decolonizing approaches to education, Henry says the project will also be applicable closer to home.

“It’s challenging for Indigenous students when entering universities to not see themselves, not just in the spaces but also in the classrooms, content and pedagogies of the institution,” he said. “It’s liberating to partake in such an opportunity to do something courageous and produce something youth will see themselves reflected it. Moreover, it’s exciting because having projects like these recognized helps to trailblaze a pathway for other faculty wanting to also take up courageous curriculum design.”

Additional projects that received funding in 2023 include the development of a transition to professional nursing course from Assistant Professor of Nursing Elizabeth Orr, and the revising of Brock’s educational technology courses from Assistant Professor of Digital Pedagogies and Technology Literacies Mohammed Estaiteyeh.

Chancellor’s Chair-funded projects that will wrap up in 2024 include designing meaningful capstone experiences in therapeutic recreation from Associate Professor of Recreation and Leisure Studies Colleen Whyte, and optimizing hybrid learning for the teaching of human anatomy in a post-COVID world from a team of instructors in Health Sciences.

To learn more about the Chancellor’s Chair for Teaching Excellence, visit the CPI website.

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