University of Calgary

Education students gain western Canadian perspective

UToday HomeApril 1, 2013

By Betty Rice

University of Northern British Columbia in Prince GeorgeThe conference was held at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George.Each year, the Western Canadian Association of Student Teaching (WestCAST) holds a conference for pre-service teachers enrolled in teacher education programs throughout western Canada. Last year, the University of Calgary hosted the event; the 2013 conference was held at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George.

A delegation from the University of Calgary, led by Michael Pinvidic and Matthew Kennedy, the outgoing and incoming presidents of the Education Students’ Association respectively, attended the two-day conference. WestCAST once again proved to be an excellent opportunity for the teachers-to-be to meet their colleagues from other institutions, and to learn more about their intended profession.

For Kennedy, a first year student in the BEd program, WestCAST was a new experience. “It was great — filled with lots of wonderful people from all across western Canada. UNBC did a wonderful job at making all visitors feel right at home.”

Kennedy says that while many of the sessions he attended gave him lots of information to take back to the classroom, two sessions stood out. “The first was a session on how to properly assess students. The presentation was very in depth and gave me tools I will carry forward with me into my future classroom.”

“The other one was about epilepsy. It was very eye-opening to discover how many children are impacted by epilepsy and how we as teachers can handle a child having a seizure in our classroom.”

Pinvidic was the veteran, having taken a lead role in the Calgary conference, and he had rave reviews for the Prince George event. “The quality of presentations and keynote speakers was stellar. The atmosphere was positive and fun, and everybody that attend had a fabulous time.”

“I was able to attend numerous sessions on lesson planning, assessment, and digital media and technologies in the classroom.”

Both Kennedy and Pinvidic agreed that serving as ambassadors of the University of Calgary was a highlight, and Kennedy says he was asked often about the university’s program in teacher education.

“Students from other schools were eager to ask me questions about our program and what we offer our students in Calgary. I was also able to meet many of the students who will be hosting WestCAST next year at the University of Winnipeg and they are excited for the University of Calgary to be represented by me next year, and hope to meet many more of my classmates.”


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