New Scotland meets Old

Published: 31 May 2016

Student teachers from St Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia and the School of Interdisciplinary Studies exchange learning experiences.

Final year student teachers from the School of Interdisciplinary Studies (SIS) at the Dumfries campus have welcomed the opportunity to exchange learning experiences with peers from St Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia (StFX).

From mid-March until the end of April this year 12 Canadian student teachers undertook a 6-week teaching practicum in various schools in Dumfries town as guests of Dumfries and Galloway Education Services. They were accompanied by two academics from the StFX School of Education, Dr Deborah Graham and Dr Chris Gilham.

Exceeded expectations

The close partnership between the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and the local education authority created an opportunity for SIS to forge a link with the visiting Canadian colleagues and their students.

 This resulted in an invitation for them to spend two days on campus presenting StFX student inquiry projects and learning about the Honours dissertation projects of a group of MA Primary Education students.

Dr Graham said: “I am interested in the possibility of having our students engage in the same kind of action research as your students- I thought this was brilliant!

“Coming to Dumfries and Scotland has exceeded not only my expectations but those of our students as well.”

Rare moments

The MA Primary Education Programme Director, Anne Ferguson, added that the joint classes were, “Something that I am sure our Year 4 students will remember for some time. I witnessed a lively debate and exchange about the two Initial Teacher Education programmes in Canada and Scotland. As I did so, I realised that here was a group of people who were totally absorbed in learning about each other’s cultures and systems. It was one of those rare moments when no-one wants the session to end.

“The meetings opened up new friendships, not only for the students, but also for staff.”

As with the recent visit to Dumfries Campus from staff and students from the University of Georgia (Athens), there is great potential for both teaching and learning or research-based partnership developments, for example the identification of a Canadian partner school where Dumfries students could undertake international school experience, collaborative student projects or professional development visits by staff.

St Francis Xavier University students

First published: 31 May 2016

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