More than 500 First Nation educators from Atlantic Canada arrived in Sydney for professional development at a conference held from May 16 - 18.
The bi-annual Atlantic Native Teachers’ Education Conference (ANTEC) provides professional development, through workshops and hands-on sessions, to educators who teach or work with First Nations students in Band operated schools, provincial schools, and post-secondary institutions. Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey and the Unama’ki College of Cape Breton University co-hosted this year’s conference, Student Success in the 21st Century, at Cape Breton University.
Patrick Johnson, coordinator of this year’s conference, says the overwhelming positive response from participants attests to the strength of First Nation education across the region.
“These three days were not just a chance for First Nation educators to expand upon their knowledge and skills as education professionals,” he said. “Its an opportunity to celebrate our progress in making advances in First Nation education across Atlantic Canada.”
Sessions focused on emerging technology, family and community engagement, early childhood education, positive school environments, the First Nations Student Success Program, Elders, and Mi’kmaw language and culture.
Internationally acclaimed Indigenous scholar, Dr. Marie Battiste, originally from Potlotek First Nation, gave a keynote address at an opening plenary session Thursday morning alongside representatives from the Nova Scotia Department of Education, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Cape Breton University, and Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey.
Author Glenn Murray was a guest speaker during that evening’s banquet. Murray is the co-creator of the award winning, New York Times Bestselling Series, Walter the Farting Dog. The series is currently being made into a Hollywood motion picture with Paramount-Nickelodeon.
Among the more than 50 presenters were Wayne MacKay, Chairman of the Nova Scotia Taskforce on Bullying and Cyberbullying and Julian Bolster, leadership coach and co-author of a novel with Deepak Chopra.