Breakout Sessions

Lost Prizes

2017 Breakout Session

Breakout sessions are available as "rush seating".  Hard copies of the timetable and program will be supplied in your conference bag. Four breakout sessions will be available in each block.
**When a room is full, please move on to the next. Room capacities are determined by safety regulations.

July 13 - Morning Breakouts


A Journey from Forced Migration to Hospitality and Kinship

Vinh Huynh

Vinh Huynh will be sharing from his perspective as a former refugee in 1979 when his family arrived on Turtle Island from the refugee camps in Malaysia, as well as his observations and understanding as an inner city educator working with and serving successive waves of newcomers for the past 24 years. Each and every one of our newcomers have stories of tremendous resiliency twinned with suffering and sadness that arise from the initial generational trauma and disruption that forced a flight from their heart land. The stress on shattered families and individuals continue unabated in the “flight” and the transit time of “statelessness” in the refugee camps. When newcomers eventually arrive in their new home, there are new challenges that accompany the promises in this place of safety and opportunities. It is during these early critical years that the journey to belonging as a member of Canadian society begins with hospitality marked by unconditional generosity. The deepening of this relationship to this new land, water, each other and ourselves is rooted in the deeply held and practiced belief that together as, “humans being” that “all are related” in kinship with each other.


Talking through the Laughter and the Tears: Seeing the other

Shelby Playford & Marc Kuly

This session will feature a discussion between Shelby Playford, Aboriginal Education Consultant, and Marc Kuly, Assistant Professor of Education about how they have learned to uncover and rethink the misconceptions about the other they grew up with. The discussion will cover the challenges and benefits of pursuing reconciliation in schools as well as the considering the personal work involved in being an advocate for change. 

What is a Project?

Matt Henderson

What is a project? What does it mean to learn through projects? How can we help learners ask deep questions about the universe and themselves in ways which impact their communities and lead to action? These are critical questions we must ask when entering into the realm of project-based learning. In this session, we will explore why we do projects, how we do projects, and as educators, how we can help students create deep connections through their passion and inquiry. We will also dispel some myths about project-based learning and hopefully create a new understanding of what it means to teach and learn. This session will be highly participatory and participants are encouraged come with a device that can connect to the internet.

Youth Addiction Issues and Response Strategies

Kate Evans

This session will explore why youth are attracted to alcohol, other drugs, or gambling. Insights will be offered to assist caregivers and service providers in recognizing risk factors, problem indicators, and protective factors. Response strategies will be shared as well as resources for youth and those who work with, or care for, youth.

July 13 – Afternoon Breakouts


Understanding the Experiences of Refugee Youth

Matt Fast

This session explores some of the experiences and challenges which make refugee youth vulnerable to gang involvement and anti-social behaviour. In doing so, this session will also discuss some of the coping strategies and support systems utilized by former gang members which help them stay out of gangs. By developing a deeper understanding of refugee youth experiences both in their country of origin and in their country of settlement, this session will also discuss practical actions participants can take in assisting refugee youth in their successful transition into a new country.  

Building Positive Change and Resilience in School – Going Beyond English as an Additional Language

Pat Harrison

This session will explore how many children who are new to the educational structure of the school and classroom environment need time to adapt and address their "inner self" due to personal loss, trauma, and living far from their original home. Suggestions in working with challenging behaviours and resilience will also be discussed.

Ill, Wounded, or Brain Damaged? Scrutinizing Trauma-Talk & Considering Non-Medicalizing Alternatives

Jan DeFehr

 This presentation invites constructive, critical analysis of two of the most popular and widely available trauma models in Canadian schools. Both models equip teachers and counsellors with the means to medicalize student response to colonization, war, environmental catastrophe, and life-threatening hardship. But medicalization has unintended and often irreversible consequences. 
In this presentation, we examine the evidence underpinning two Euro-American trauma models, and we consider the problematic effects of medicalization inherent in both frameworks. Drawing on skills and attitudes teachers already have, a compassionate, practical, alternative approach to medicalization is presented.

Session #4 – TBA


July 14 – Morning Breakouts


Tattoos on the Heart

Liz Wolff

Every child has a right to innocence, protection and love. Many are denied their birthright and survive through the horrors of abuse, neglect and abandonment; as a result their educational potential is compromised. Educators play a critical role in every child’s life and are therefore presented daily with the opportunity to mitigate suffering and enhance learning outcomes. The calling for the teacher with heart is to engage each child with uncompromising compassion and unfaltering acceptance.

Counseling Strategies for Classroom Teachers

Donna Johnson

Teachers will have the opportunity to understand the importance of a well-balanced, quality relationship between themselves and their students. Examples of those qualities will come from themselves, as well as research and theory. Strategies will include inclusive activities from various texts, and include both large and small group formats.  If time permits, practice with role play scenarios will be completed.

Working with EAL Learners: An Overview

Terena Caryk

In this session, participants will explore strategies for working with school-aged English Language Learners (ELLs) in the EAL and mainstream classroom. Strategies will be shared to assist in adapting tasks, text, and speech to make language and content accessible to ELLs. We will discuss culturally responsive teaching techniques and uncover ways in which to integrate students’ first language into instruction.

Exploring Concepts of Experiential Learning

Daniel Leonard & Marc Kuly

Experiential Learning is a term often used in education circles but like many buzzwords, is often left unexplored. This session will feature ideas, discussions, and stories that flesh out what experiential learning might mean in theory and in practice. 

July 14 – Afternoon Breakouts


Thinking Outside the Books

Peter Bjornson

 It is important to be passionate about what you teach and who you teach, but that won’t matter unless you are passionate about how you teach. This session will focus on social studies lesson plans and projects designed to create opportunities for all learners in our classrooms. It will explore lessons that have successfully engaged learners who don’t feel connected to the curriculum. This session will  highlight award winning lesson plans covering three main themes; 1) Exercises in Empathetic Thinking 2) Cross Curricular Projects and 3) Transformative Experiential Learning.

Resiliency in Education

Brian Rice

This presentation will examine the effects on family due to residential school, warfare and substance abuse. Brian will give a personal account of experiences with family addiction and its implications throughout his education in high school and college. He will share how he persevered through these challenges eventually acquiring his doctorate. 

Forced Migration: Decolonizing Fear and Borders

Fadi Ennab

Locally and globally, forced migrants continue to experience intersectional oppressions, especially after September-11 and the crystallization of islamophobia in terms of identity and politics. Yet, instead of humanizing and empowering forced migrants in order to address the root causes that create and maintain oppression and the challenges of resettlement, official and public discourses continue to portray them as ‘others’ to be feared, controlled, and assimilated by western societies. This session will explore the impact of mainstream discourses on refugee resettlement, and more importantly, how to transcend exclusion and reach to authentic and meaningful inclusion through grassroots advocacy and decolonizing relations. 

Working with Youth in Care

Megan Wiebe & Michelle Edwards

This session will explore the world of youth in care, specifically those that have been labeled as "At Risk".  We will take a deeper look into the day in the life of a diverse Marymound classroom, and whole school experience. As a team we will provide our knowledge of youth that have been removed from their homes to either group care or foster homes, and expand on the resiliency based model that we work with on a daily basis while also sharing our ability to provide Indigenous perspectives, teachings and guidance.