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Posts Tagged ‘Collaborative Elementary Education’

As a teacher, I am fond of quotes that inspire or force us to view an issue from another perspective. One of my favorites is credited to Henry Adams, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops”. Forgiving the gender bias in the quote, I read those words and realize that the smallest gesture, word spoken or moment in a classroom may have an impact beyond the walls of my classroom. Bearing the quote in mind, as many readers may be aware already, the University of Alberta is more than likely discontinuing the Collaborative Elementary Education program offered at the MHC campus following the 2010 intake. You may have had the (mis)fortune of being subjected to my letter to the editor where I unashamedly quoted from one of the many teacher-related movies. In any case, here is a brief background: the program began in 2006, with 28 students graduating in 2008. Thirty-three students will graduate this spring, with 65 undergraduate students currently applying for the 32 possible spots for the 2010 program. The program relies upon both local and University of Alberta instructors to provide instruction over the final two years of an Elementary Education degree completion program, with a minor in rural education. Students in the program apply for one of 32 spots, with admission being highly competitive and based on GPA. Students pay University of Alberta tuition and fees and purchase textbooks from the U of A via the MHC bookstore. Several of the courses are compressed courses, meaning that you complete 16 weeks of course work in anywhere from 4-6 weeks, with U of A instructors flown in to offer instruction. Courses taught by local instructors are generally standard length, except for the first and final semesters.

It would be easy for me, as a beneficiary of the program, to say that its potential loss doesn’t affect me, since I am two weeks away from completing my degree. However, as a teacher and member of my community it is a matter of concern. I am sure most people have personal circumstances that make the idea of pursuing postsecondary education difficult at best. Issues such as expense and the time commitment greatly impact the feasibility of any pursuit. For someone who is a parent or needs to work while attending school, the option of being able to complete a degree while learning in your home community, where you have support and decreased expense, is important. With respect to the Collaborative Program, I was able to continue my education, an option not available to me otherwise. I am not alone. Looking at the current cohort, many of us would never be able to proudly say that we are teachers. Just this past weekend, I reserved my graduation apparel and planned my convocation trip to collect my hard-earned degree, only to hear the news on Monday that the program was in jeopardy. What saddens me is the fact that there are students on the MHC campus, writing exams this week, whose future is uncertain; they very likely will not enjoy the same experience that I have had, an experience now relegated to luxury status. They have already invested time and money into courses that will only transfer to the University of Alberta. Having spoken with several of these students recently, I know for a fact that without the U of A/MHC Collaborative program, they will not be able to continue their education. THE JUMP – Read the rest of this entry »



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