Teachers flock to campus

What do Faculty of Education students and teachers do on Spring Break? They go back to school.

In February, the University of Lethbridge will host more than 2,000 education students and educators at two separate conferences, which highlight professional learning in education.

The U of L will host WestCAST (Western Canadian Association for Student Teaching), Feb. 17-20, and the Southwest Alberta Teacher's Convention Association (SWATCA), Feb. 18-19.

Both conferences are among the largest events held on campus and provide a boost to the local and regional economy as guests migrate from outside the local area.

WestCAST is a unique conference attracting a diverse audience of teacher educators, university instructors, administrators and student teachers. Approximately 500 people are expected to attend.

In addition to over 60 professional seminars, lectures and workshops on the theme of Inspired Education, WestCAST keynote speakers include U of L neuroscientist, Dr. Robbin Gibb and educator Louise Rose, who will speak on the overall theme of the conference, Bridging Hearts and Minds.

"We are pleased to host this unique experience during which all educational stakeholders can engage in a collaborative conversation about teaching and learning," says Dr. Pamela Adams, assistant dean field experiences, Faculty of Education. "It is important for the teachers of the future to have opportunities to share ideas with peers, expert teachers and researchers and to, in turn, learn from them."

The SWATCA Conference is an annual event produced by ATA Zone 6 and features a range of sessions that include topics such as: emerging and current issues being faced by classroom teachers, techniques for teaching history and video-conferencing.

"The SWATCA committee has put together a really productive conference, and the U of L is pleased to once again host the group here on campus," says Bill Glaister, Curriculum Laboratory co-ordinator. "It allows us to reconnect with our alumni and be of service to the education community, as well as attend some practical sessions on curriculum changes, creative teaching ideas and educational issues relevant for today's teachers."