Educators bring back N.W.T.-based teacher education program

Educators bring back N.W.T.-based teacher education program
Written by Publishing Team

Prospective teachers at NWT will soon have a new option to earn their education degree – and they won’t even have to leave the district to do so.

Four Northern educators have developed an accredited program in partnership with Vancouver Island University (VIU) to offer a Bachelor of Education degree. Now, they are looking for participants.

Luis Philippe, former principal at Deh Gáh School in Fort Providence, said the group’s efforts began as a way to address some of the inequalities that exist in education in the North — with a particular focus on helping to get Indigenous and Northern teachers into NWT schools.

“Once we start filling those positions in the North, we start changing the economic stability of some of our communities. And that’s really, I think, an important aspect of this whole initiative,” Philip said.

local learning

To this end, they have created a program designed specifically for North Korea, which takes into account issues related to indigenous education, colonialism and residential schools. Courses will be directed jointly by VIU professors and Nordic educators.

“We are looking to offer both the baccalaureate degree and entry into the third year in the Bachelor of Education program for people in the Northwest Territories who already have a degree, diploma, or two years of a degree program. Also, the Handyman Certificate,” said Jane Arishuk, who spent six years as president of Aurora College. .

Arishuk, who is also a former principal at De Jah School, said the NWT education system has tried to integrate Northern experiences into the classroom, but that it will be easier once more teachers are recruited from the North.

“It’s going to be the way they teach, so it’s very exciting to think that it’s actually going to happen, and to be part of the classroom,” she said.

Philip and Arishuk have spent the past eight months working on this program, along with retired Beaufort Delta Board of Education superintendent Dennis MacDonald and Anita Lafferty, of Ledley Kew, who has taught at all school levels in Alberta and recently advocated for their Aboriginal doctoral study curriculum . Curriculum at the University of Alberta.

Four Northern teachers—Louis Phillippe, left, Anita Lafferty, Jane Arichok, and Dennis MacDonald—with University of Vancouver Island coordinator Paige Fisher. Together they work on a program to turn northerners into teachers. (Provided by Jane Arishuk)

Philip said the plan arose out of a desire to address teacher retention and shortages.

Currently, people who want to become teachers generally have to leave the North to get their degree. Although there is a Bachelor of Education program at Aurora College, the college suspended admission to this program in 2018.

Arishuk said this new program “fills a gap” as the college works to transform into a polytechnic university.

“Teachers were needed while Aurora College was working, and teachers will continue to be needed,” she said.

“This opportunity that Vancouver Island University was willing to work with us provides an opportunity to hurry up and get some people into the classroom.”

CBC asked Aurora College for an interview about efforts to train teachers locally.

In an email, Jayne Murray, director of university communications and relations at Aurora College, said the college’s goal “continues to work on transforming Aurora College into a polytechnic university in the North and promoting and delivering post-secondary programs that are relevant to Northerners and the Northern economy.” .

Online Camps, Trainings & Courses

Arishuk said the plan is to start bringing teachers into the classroom by September 2023.

The program will begin in April 2022, and while the program will require some travel, students will not leave the region to learn. They will come together on a few on-the-ground courses within the territory, and the rest of the program includes school exercises and online courses.

Philip said that one of the courses the group is looking to offer includes regional camps based in the local language.

She said, “Say, for example, if we have Dahsho nominated teachers, we’ll gather them together in a two-week immersion camp…in Din Zati.”

“I would like to be able to take something like science and math and maybe take a boat trip from [Fort Providence] lujane marie [River]And just look at how you can incorporate these core subjects into your classrooms in a way that connects with our youth.”

Find participants

Arishuk said NWT’s Department of Education, Culture and Employment is helping the group navigate the bureaucratic side of starting this program, and they have also been in talks with student financial aid in an effort to remove any barriers to participants.

They are now looking for people who may want to enter the program, who already have some post-secondary education under their belt – a college diploma, two years of college, a college degree, or those who are RED Seal holders.

“We are looking for people … who have some experience, but perhaps realize that they are interested in returning to their community and doing service to their community, working in the most useful profession – education,” said Arichuk.

An information session for the residents of Dahsho and Toicho is scheduled for Thursday at 8 pm

Sahto and Beaufort Delta residents can participate in an information session on Friday at 8 p.m.

Residents of the Northern and Southern Slave Districts can join an information session on Saturday at 11am

For more details, interested parties can send an email to

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