StMU Students, Staff and Faculty attend WestCAST Conference

On April 3rd – 5th 2024 St. Mary’s University Faculty, Staff, & Students from the Faculty of Education attended the 2024 WestCAST (Western Canadian Association for Student Teaching) Conference hosted by the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary.  

Our Faculty & Staff worked together to present two sessions entitled:

Teaching is a Performance: Supporting Learners Through Improvisation Harrison Campbell (Assistant Professor of Literacy Education)

We are in English Anyway…Why Not Play? Harrison Campbell (Assistant Professor of Literacy Education) and Deanne Barrett (Director of Practicums).

Our students worked together to present three sessions entitled:

From Embers to Ashes: Stomping Out Burnout Claire Rawn (Year One Elementary)

Confidence, Cooperation, & Coordination: Drama-Based Learning Supports Student’s Growth Christopher Lorincz, Karena Davies, and Maria Fanning (Year One Elementary)

Pre-Service Teacher Researchers: A Professional Development Model of Teacher Education Supporting School-Based Child Mental & Physical Health Erin Goncalves and Despina Hays (Year Two Elementary: Teacher Leadership Specialization Practicum Students)

WestCAST is an annual event designed to unite Faculties of Education across the western Canadian provinces for the purposes of sharing both research and relevant pedagogical practices to enrich teaching and learning practices at an inter-provincial level. The conference this year brought together over 200 education faculty and teacher education students for three days of dialogue and engagement with topics surrounding the teaching profession.   

The theme of this year’s conference was Re-Inspire | Re-Connect and St. Mary’s University attendees took up this theme by creating inspiring connections to mental heath and arts-based learning opportunities in both K-12 and post-secondary contexts. Our faculty and student presentations were all well received eliciting positive feedback from those in attendance and students mentioned how attending other presentations throughout the conference has given them valuable insights for their teaching toolkits in their practicum placements. Our students’ sessions highlighted, among other things, an exciting aspect of our St. Mary’s Education program – the Teacher Leadership Specialization. Within this specialization students conduct research with a partner school on topics of interest to the teaching profession. The focus on a professional development model grounded within mental and physical health was pushed for by our students and supported by the school administration and staff. We were so excited to share this and all the other wonderful presentations with Faculties of Education from across Western Canada. For those interested, WestCAST 2025 will occur this coming February at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia!