A panel discussion exploring how the Faculty of Education can support and mobilize the strengths of York students who identify as members of historically marginalized groups was well-attended by teacher candidates, graduate students and faculty members on Jan. 22.
The event was organized by seconded faculty in the Faculty of Education Antonino Giambrone and Salima Kassam in conjunction with the Office of Academic Programs and the York Centre for Education and Community, and was titled “Conversations in Education: Supporting Access in Faculties of Education and the Teaching Profession.”
The panel included first-year teacher candidate Marc Robinson-Weekes; Silvia Argentina Arauz, youth advocate and community educator; Ariel Vente, teacher at Nelson Mandela Park Public School with the Toronto District School Board; and Camille Logan, seconded principal to the Literacy Numeracy Secretariat, Ministry of Education. Giambrone moderated the event, where panelists engaged in conversation about their experiences in the Faculty of Education – particularly as individuals who may have identified under the Access initiative at York University – and how those experiences connect to their current contexts in community, schools and beyond.
Approximately 125 participants took part in the interactive dialogue, and audience members shared their own challenges in practicum placements and in university courses. One of the panelists facilitated an impromptu cypher (a hip hop approach to co-generating knowledge), asking the audience members to define what access meant to them.
The conversation also focused on strategies for engaging schools, families and communities in pedagogical practices focused on equity, academic success and well-being for all students.
Throughout the exchanges among panellists and audience members, themes of mentorship, allyship, disruption, authenticity and hope emerged, and provided some key starting points for faculty to consider tangible next steps in continuing to effectively support the Access Initiative.
A renewal of the Faculty’s Access Initiative will be undertaken over the coming year, led by the Office of Academic Programs and with the input of tenure-stream and seconded faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, and community members.
Stay tuned for calls to participate.