Jun 14, 2017
Posted in: SUNTEP
By John MacDonald
John MacDonald is a Sessional Lecturer at SUNTEP Regina
In the early morning of March 29, ten Year III students from the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP), Regina, and myself set off on our way to Los Angeles, California to attend the National Science Teachers Association annual conference. We were eleven among the 12,000 attendees at this conference which drew participants from across the world. Over the next three days we attended a wide variety of sessions that included a presentation by Bill Nye “The Science Guy” (see his YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/TheRealBillNye); touring the hundreds of displays and picking up free materials from publishers and suppliers; driving a hydrogen powered vehicle; and enjoying the sun at the beach.
The science education professional development trip was an eye-opening experience as SUNTEP students met and interacted with thousands of teachers who were interested in improving the science education in their classrooms. This afforded our students the opportunity to speak with teachers from very diverse settings and backgrounds. We were, however, shocked by the absence of Indigenous content in the sessions. So perhaps, we in Saskatchewan have something to offer the rest of the world in science education. Everyone came away with ideas and materials for their future classrooms.
Also there were other opportunities that contributed to making the trip a success. SUNTEP students and the secondary science students from the University of Regina program met and formed relationships that might not have otherwise occurred. It served to illustrate another positive of this trip that we should all be aware of and try to prevent ourselves from becoming too isolated in our teaching world. Hopefully, this experience will translate into a lifelong attitude of meeting new educators, seeking out new materials and ideas to better educate our future students.
We would like to thank all of those involved in making this professional development activity a success: UR International, University of Regina Students’ Union, Education Students’ Society of the University of Regina, and Gabriel Dumont Institute.