Decolonizing Together Symposium 

Decolonizing Together entails two day-long online symposia that will bring together faculty, faculty associates and staff at two post-secondary institutions in B.C., as well as school associates and educators from various school districts in Lower Mainland. These symposia will cultivate a diverse community that creates and sustains equitable and inclusive campuses by ensuring the inclusion of the perspectives and experiences of racialized and marginalized people previously absent in teacher education programming.  By providing two sessions (one for teacher candidates on October 22, 2021, and the other for teacher educators and staff on January 28, 2022), we aim to connect practitioners at various points in their careers with a diverse range of renowned and experienced professionals whose careful and critical work in the areas of antiracism, Indigeneity and social justice can help others develop holistic and inclusive practices in their classrooms.

Together, we will expand learning opportunities for teacher candidates, staff and faculty in both post-secondary and K-12 institutions to maximize awareness and understanding of the principles of antiracism, inclusion, equity and diversity. This project will allow for open dialogue on how Indigenous erasure, racism, ableism and multiple other forms of oppression are taken up in the two selected Faculties of Education in British Columbia, and how to address existing gaps through changes to practice and policy.

These symposia will contribute to creating and disseminating knowledge that will enhance understanding of racism and other forms of oppression, their manifestations, effects on education, and strategies to addressing these oppressions through pedagogy and policy. Given that the goal of the teacher education programs at UBC and SFU is to ensure the best possible educational experiences and outcomes for the children of this province, the cross- institutional collaboration will enhance the exposure of teacher candidates, faculty advisors, school associates, and faculty to concepts and concerns, which they may be otherwise unaware or have limited knowledge of how to address them.

Together we will directly challenge some of the barriers to educational access and success that have been raised through the External Report on Teacher Education at UBC (Sullivan et al., 2018). These symposia present a diverse, critical and timely learning opportunity for those who are in the teaching profession and those who are entering the profession. In each symposium, we will create opportunities for practitioners from the field to offer practical suggestions on decolonizing classroom practices, syllabi, and responding to racism and other forms of discrimination and marginalization.

Shape-of-the-Day, October 22nd, 2021
Teacher Candidate Session | Zoom: 9am-2:30pm

  • 9:00am – Welcome and land acknowledgement
  • 9:15 Speaker 1: Brad Baker
  • 10:15 ~ Stretch break
  • 10:30 – Breakout 1
  • 11:15 – Discussion/ Q&A

Lunch: 12:00 – 12:30 (catered by Skip the Dishes)

    • 12:30 Speaker 2: Dr. Michelle Stack
    • 1:30 – Breakout 2
    • 2:00-2:30 Discussion

Click here to register for October 22nd session [ * registration closes Oct 19 * ]


Shape-of-the-Day, January 28th, 2022
Teacher Educator and Staff Session | Zoom: 4:30-7:00pm

  • 4:30pm – Welcome and land acknowledgement
  • 4:45 Speaker 1: Dr. Arlo Kempf
  • 5:30 ~ Stretch break
  • 5:35 Speaker 2: Carolyn Roberts
  • 6:20-7:00 Discussion
    • * (Dine in your own time: catered by Skip the Dishes)

Our project’s main output is the development of an on-line handbook that will be available on a publicly accessible website through UBC Faculty of Education. This resource will be available to UBC and SFU faculty, in- service teachers who are members of the BC Teachers Federation and to school district teachers and staff. Since this project is a cross-institutional in joining effort between UBC and SFU, it is crucial that stakeholders from each institution have equal and easy access to the symposia proceedings, for use in teacher education and in K to12 classrooms. The handbook will capture strategies for recognizing and addressing racism and discrimination in the classroom and workplace, rooted in the feedback from symposium participants and presenters.


Mr. Brad BakerIndigenous Education – Truth Before Reconciliation

  • Mr. Baker will explore the idea of Indigenous education not only as a project aimed at improving educational outcomes for Indigenous students, but also as a matter of introducing some deep truths about colonisation and colonialism to non-Indigenous Canadians, and how this force has shaped our nation and our lives. As a k-12 educator and district principal, Mr. Baker brings a very valuable perspective to bear in this work and can link theory to practice in a way that will be most instructive for students enrolled in teacher education. His practical experiences in grappling with anti-Indigenous racism on systemic, cultural and personal contexts will also be of great value fo non-Indigenous teacher educators as well.
  • Brad Baker is a member of the Squamish Nation and the District Principal of Indigenous Education for the North Vancouver School District. When he was hired in 1995, Mr. Baker was the first Indigenous educator hired by the North Vancouver School District. Several years later, in recognition of his service, he was awarded an Indspire award for Indigenous educational leadership in 2014, an outstanding accomplishment after less than a decade of teaching. He is currently completing an Educational Doctorate at UBC which focuses on decolonizing and Indigenizing schools, and improving educational outcomes for Indigenous students within the k-12 school system.


Dr. Michelle StackAbleism as an equity issue

  • Professor Stack will invite the audience to think about the impacts of how people and the natural world are ranked into categories ofDr. Michelle Stack productive/unproductive and worthy/unworthy.  She will provide examples of how eugenics thinking is rooted in the connected structures of ableism and racism and continue to permeate education and healthcare. She will also discuss why a focus on people first language (e.g. a person with disabilities) is often challenged by disability rights scholars and activists who embrace their identity and use identity first language (e.g. a disabled person).  The talk will focus on who and what we deem a problem and why. For example, are disabled and racialized children who are pushed out of school the problem or is the school the problem?  Who frames and problem and how they frame it can determine if a child is expelled, criminalized or streamed in ways that can impact them through their lives. Dr. Stack will present alternative ways to think about what a good education is and could be through thinking about solidarities in a time of global crises.
  • Dr. Michelle Stack is an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia whose work is rooted in educational equity and disability studies. She is the co-editor of a book with Dr. André Mazawi, Course Syllabi in Faculties of Education Bodies of Knowledge and their Discontents, International and Comparative Perspectives, editor of Global University Rankings and the Politics of Knowledge and the inaugural winner of the UBC Public Humanities Award.


Dr. Arlo Kempf – OISE, University of Toronto

Carolyn Roberts – SFU