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WKTEP and SD8 Literacy Partnership

Fall 2023 SD8 Goals: Learning and Relationships

The ability to weave together theory with practice is a game-changing learning opportunity that teacher candidates were privileged to experience thanks to a partnership between UBC’s West Kootenay Teacher Education Program (WKTEP) and School District 8 – Kootenay Lake this fall term. Six host teachers in four schools generously opened their primary classroom spaces and partnered with WKTEP’s Dr. Kozak to make literacy-learning in action a reality for sixteen teacher candidates. Over 8 weekly sessions in October and November, elementary teacher candidates were part of reading and writing lessons through experiential learning opportunities.  

On Tuesday mornings, teacher candidates spent 75 minutes in their host classrooms trying out a specific course-related task and participating in classroom learning, then met with Dr. Kozak in their course where they debriefed their experiences and dug deeper into learning. This not only bridged their learning from abstract to concrete, but also impressed upon them the complexities of planning, facilitating, and managing the dynamics of an elementary classroom. These experiences were invaluable, memorable, relevant, and appreciated by all involved. 

We are grateful for the extra time and consideration SD8 host teachers dedicated to supporting our upcoming teachers by welcoming them into their classrooms, planning for and with the candidates, and capitalizing on the opportunities of having additional support in the classroom.  One teacher commented: “It makes a huge difference to have extra support in the classroom during literacy groups.  Small groups with an adult leader supports engagement, understanding, and directions while enhancing the teacher candidates’ learning.”

Explaining their instructional thinking to upcoming teachers provides classroom teachers a valuable opportunity to also reflect on their own practice and share the areas (student needs, curriculum, effective practices, etc.) they consider when planning every lesson.  

SD8 students benefited from learning with these enthusiastic and engaged adult learners. Some students commented that, the teacher candidates “were nice and they kinda like understand us. They helped us with writing and word work. One read me my favourite book.” A Classroom Educational Assistant noticed, “During the Daily Five (literacy stations), the students received more one-to-one time.  This benefits everyone – students, teachers, and the candidates.”

We are grateful for this partnership that enhanced student and adult learning and built positive relationships between students, teacher candidates and school staff.

Cheryl Makeiv and Dr. Kozak

Four elementary school students sit on orange chairs around a yellow table in a colourful, warm classroom working on writing.