November 30 and December 1, 2011 saw Project of Heart take part in two special sessions at the University of Regina.
POH Co-ordinator Sylvia Smith was honoured to receive an invitation from Dr. Marc Spooner of the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina to speak with the graduate students in his ED 808 “Teaching for Social Justice” classroom. Most of his students are themselves teachers in the Saskatchewan public school system.
Sylvia spoke to the educators about the core mission of Project of Heart: incorporating indigenously-influenced pedagogical methods in all subject areas, bringing “heart and spirit” into the classroom.
The next afternoon, Smith addressed a mixed audience of students, professors, teachers, and community leaders as current Project of Heart participants –SUNTEP students at the Gabriel Dumont Institute and their instructor, Christina Johns — joined in the discussion while their gorgeously decorated wooden tiles were displayed for the group to see.
The authentic and thoughtful response emanating from both sessions was a clear signal concerning the urgent need for curricular initiatives that meaningfully engage young learners in Indigenous and settler-shared history. We are thrilled that POH’s two-part call to learn from the experts (survivors of the IRSs) and to teach for justice by “doing justice” in the classroom found such a warm reception in Saskatchewan.
Project of Heart is grateful to the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina for hosting the two events, and to all the attendees of the both sessions. We also gratefully acknowledge the financial support given by the Associate Dean, Dr. Jennifer Tupper, and the warm welcome from the faculty’s Dean, Dr. James McNinch.