Conference has education students exploring social justice issues

Teacher candidates gained insights and connections to apply in their future classrooms during the Faculty of Education’s third annual Vulnerability and Marginalization conference on Friday, Jan. 29.

The day-long social justice forum, conducted online, featured sessions on topics ranging from child poverty to physical disabilities and LGBTQ issues, with speakers drawn from community agencies and a range of professions.

The conference was a project of the class “Vulnerability, Marginalization, and Education,” spearheaded by an organizing committee of six B.Ed majors: Tereza Fountain, Sarah Henderson, Rebecca Lefebvre, Olivia Martin, and Austin Thornton.

Lefebvre was pleased with the reception by attendees.

“I could easily see that students were enjoying the speakers we had,” she says. “I had many of my friends message me saying they loved the experience.”

Michelle Gallagher, a clinical social worker for the Regional Children’s Centre, spoke about classroom strategies to support the mental health of pupils.

“My presentation was received with great positivity,” says Gallagher. “I hope the B.Ed students gained tools and approaches they could confidently use within their daily lives, placements, and future careers.”

She notes the day also gave her a greater appreciation of the importance of working across disciplines to best support kids and their families.

It’s a message the organizers endorse, Lefebvre says.

“The teacher candidates in this program are the future of education in our community and I believe that if they take even one important lesson from the conference into their classrooms, then that will make a big change in many students’ lives.”

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