Decolonizing Together Symposium 


Please join us on January 28th for an evening of thought-provoking presentations aimed at cultivating a diverse community to create and sustain equitable and inclusive campuses and teacher education experiences.

Our focus for this event is on the perspectives and experiences of racialized and marginalized people previously absent in teacher education programming. We invite all faculty, staff and in-service teachers involved in teacher education to join us to address how Indigenous erasure, racism, ableism and multiple other forms of oppression are taken up in the Faculties of Education at both Simon Fraser University and the University of 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, 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.


January 28, 2022

Dr. Arlo KempfRace, Whiteness and Teacher Education

This talk will consider some of the ways in which racism, whiteness and white supremacy operate within teacher recruitment, teacher education, and teacher orientation to the profession, with close attention to various elements of teacher preparation, including recruitment, curriculum, and practice teaching. The session will also consider race and in-service teacher practice, as well as the ways in which effective antiracist work in education must consider the systemic, institutional, and individual operations of racism and white supremacy.

  • Dr. Arlo Kempf is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. His research interests include anti-racism and anticolonialism in K-12 and teacher education; (critical) whiteness and white supremacy in education; teachers’ work and professional lives in critical perspective; and critical perspectives on neoliberalism in education. Arlo teaches in the areas of race and equity in education. His work has been published in various leading journals, and his sixth book, Troubling Reconciliation in Education Critical Perspectives (Co-edited with Sandra Styres), is forthcoming in 2022 with the University of Alberta Press. Arlo is Editor of the journal Curriculum Inquiry, and is Book Series Editor (with Nina Bascia, OISE/UT; Denisha Jones, Sarah Lawrence College; and Rhiannon Maton, SUNY Cortland) of the Routledge Book Series: Teachers’ Work and Teaching in Critical Perspective.



Carolyn RobertsDecolonizing Education

In this highly interactive seminar, we will be unpacking how the Western colonial education system has shaped and formed our understanding of the colonization of the Canada, including the impacts it has had on Indigenous people. Within these conversations it will give you the opportunity to deepen your understandings of decolonial practices in the classroom and how to engage in difficult conversations. This workshop will plant seeds for you to become an advocate for honouring and supporting Indigenous, Black and people of colour in the classroom.

  • Carolyn Roberts uses her voice to support Indigenous resurgence through education. She is a Coast Salish woman belonging to the Baker family through her mother from the Squamish Nation, her father is from the Kelly Family from the Tzeachten Nation. Carolyn is an Indigenous academic who holds two degrees from UBC, a Masters in Aboriginal Education and Leadership and a Bachelors of Education.  She also holds a Bachelors of Jazz Studies from Capilano University. Currently she is a Doctoral Student at Simon Fraser University in the eTAP Program.  She has been an educator and administrator for over 20 years and is currently a Faculty Member and Indigenous Pedagogies Teaching Fellow in the Department of Education at Simon Fraser University.
  • Carolyn’s work is grounded in educating about decolonization. She works with pre-service teachers to help build their understandings in Indigenous history, education, and ancestral ways of knowing, to create a brighter future for all Indigenous people and the seven generations yet to come.


October 22, 2021

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 for 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

Dr. Michelle Stack

Professor Stack will invite the audience to think about the impacts of how people and the natural world are ranked into categories of 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.