About Me

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I have been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Currently, I am a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My M.Ed. and Ph.D. had a focus on the educational and linguistic experiences of children who moved from other countries to Canada.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Haiti School Rebuilding Video

Emily put this video together from some of the video footage she captured while in Haiti.  It includes snapshots of a school which was rebuilt through funds raised in Canadian schools and video footage from some of the schools we visited while there:


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Madame DuDu and Chef Jean Claude

Madame DuDu
Chef Jean Claude

Some more Haiti pics - Carrefour Tin Tin

Emily at Carrefour Tin Tin:

The road to Carrefour Tin Tin:

Teacher at Carrefour Tin Tin:

Final Thoughts on the May Haiti Trip

There were a number of key outcomes of the trip:

1. Five M.Ed. students completed their project presentations and now have final editorial changes to make before completing their Masters of Education.  Key message: there is a new generation of school leaders in Haiti which is desiring to build strong schools.

2. The opportunity to see a number of schools and communities, some of which have been re-built following the earthquake.  Key message: people's donations to earthquake relief ARE making a difference, particularly amongst the smaller NGOs.

3. Discussions around the new digital mentoring project were met with great enthusiasm and interest.  Key message:  we have the opportunity to equip and engage school leaders in Haiti and Canada in a way not done before.

Next Steps May-October:
1. Complete the supervision of those who are doing M.Ed. degrees.
2. Continue the digital mentoring pilot project.
3. Return to Haiti in mid-October for meetings with Cap Haitien University, the Ministry of Education, and the Haitian Institute for Studies in Education as well as delivering a M.Ed. course.
4. Prepare for a major grant proposal around digital mentoring and capacity building in Haiti.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Madame Dudu & Chef Jean-Claude


Today we started off the day with yummy Haitian cinnamon buns and Haitian coffee (which I've really come to enjoy!) for breakfast and a surprisingly warm shower for me. Dad supervised the first of five Masters' presentations while I stayed back and read/attempted some more homework.

Dad took a break between presentations this morning and we visited the day care located right outside Baptist Haiti Mission, where we were quite literally swarmed by more than fifty preschool aged Haitian children, who all wanted their picture taken and to hold our hands. Dad returned to his presentations after a very difficult escape from the sea of children.

We ate a lunch of rice and beans cooked by Madame Dudu, the cook at the mission.  She prepares amazing meals over a wheel drum (a stove made from a tire rim).  Today's added bonus was that we each got a hot dog with our rice and beans!

Dad spend the rest of the afternoon supervising the rest of the Master of Education presentations - each one was an hour so it kept him busy. The day was concluded with every principal giving a ten minute summary of their Masters presentations for everyone to watch (about 60 or 70 people). After officially finishing their presentations, everyone celebrated with h'orderves prepared by Chef Jean-Claude. It was an incredible spread he prepared.  As he confessed later, he had to travel "far and wide" in the Port au Prince area to find all the special ingredients he needed.  We got an autographed copy of his cookbook so we're pretty excited about trying some of his recipes. All-in-all, it was a very exciting end to an incredible week.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Carrefour tin tin (Crazy Crossroads)


What an amazing journey we had today to Carrefour tin tin, a rural community accessible by a rock/mud path.  From where we're located at Fermathe (about an hour from Port-au-Prince), we took a Honda scooter (like a John Deere Gator) on the winding paths through the mountains of Haiti. We arrived at the school after an eternity of bumpy twists and turns, where we captured some great footage of students from preschool to grade 6. Soon we found  we were just taking pictures so the kids could see themselves on the screen, which they all seemed to really enjoy. Dad and Chris even took on a couple Haitian students in soccer (where they failed quite miserable, I may add - a highlight was Dad getting a soccer ball to the backside). The journey back was just as bumpy and dangerous but the view down to Port-au-Prince was gorgeous. Chris pointed out some houses on the mountainsides that Baptist Haiti Mission had helped rebuild after the earthquake.  The journey ended in the rain, but a few cheeseburgers took care of our hunger (but not my sunburn).

Dad concluded the afternoon with some meetings with principals while I attempted to get some homework done. Dad met with another principal tonight while I spent the evening with Brianna, Abbie and the kids next door watching "In the Beginning" from Sight and Sound.  Probably the favourite day so far!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mountain Maid

Between workshops and interviews today, we took a few minutes and went to Mountain Maid.  This is a store that sells products made by Haitians.  A favourite purchase of Steve's, when he comes to Haiti, is vanilla.  We bought 20 (!) 0.5 litres containers of vanilla as well as some books on Creole.

Steve's work with the principals who are completing their Master of Education project is coming well.  Five are scheduled to complete their project and defend their work on Thursday.  Five more will be done when Steve returns in October.  There is some amazing work being done by these principals - from projects which capture histories of schools to projects which examine how to develop listening skills in children.  We are investigating the possibility of pulling these projects together into a book which can be used throughout Haiti.

Steve also met with some principals about the digital mentoring project today. One of the participants in the M.Ed. works with the Ministry of Education as well as a university in the north (Cap Haitien).  Steve and he have been talking about a partnership with Laurier to facilitate the digital mentoring project.

Emily spent the morning video-taping workshops and doing homework in the afternoon.  We'll be taking a couple of hours tomorrow to drive to some rural schools and give Emily a chance to see what schools in these areas are like.  Hopefully the heavy rain we experienced today will not repeat itself tomorrow or she will also get a chance to experience wash outs!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Cockroaches and Computers

We arrived in Haiti yesterday after an uneventful trip from Toronto.  Port-au-Prince airport was damaged in the earthquake so a temporary building is being used for customs/immigration.  We met Chris and Johny, our driver/host, when we got out of the airport and eventually made our way up the mountain to Fermathe, just about an hour from the airport, overlooking PAP.  The first site outside of the airport were the tent cities. Chris pointed out numerous buildings which had recently been rebuilt after the earthquake.  It was Sunday, late afternoon, so the markets were still going full swing.

We enjoyed supper, a time of fellowship with old friends (and some new ones), and then made our way back to the small house where we're staying.  Emily was particularly impressed with the cockroaches we were able to kill before heading to bed!

Today was a busy day.  Steve led a number of writing workshops in the morning with 10 principals who are completing their Master of Education.  Emily videoed the workshops and helped with setting up the room.  Thanks to Laurier for supplying memory sticks, pens, post it notes, and lanyards - the principals all seemed to really enjoy these gifts.  We also brought 4 used laptops with us so that principals could use them for their writing if they didn't have access to a computer.

Lunch with the principals was rice and chicken - a real treat!  Steve spent the afternoon working one-on-one with principals.  We wrapped things up around 5:30 and enjoyed a lovely dinner.  We have a special treat this week - Billy Graham's chef, just retired, is spending some time in Haiti and is on the same compound.  He made dinner and it was a real treat.  He's also making a special dessert for Thursday night when the principals who finish their chapters will be able to invite family in for a celebration.

Steve met with Chris this evening to brainstorm on the digital mentoring project.  They discussed the various modules which need to be developed and how the iPads and Playbooks might be most effectively utilized.  Amazing how technology might make a difference here.  A great, busy day!