Nov. 1, 2023
For Immediate Release
WATERLOO — Wilfrid Laurier University is working to broaden the diversity of Ontario’s pool of teachers with its second annual Increasing Teacher Diversity event on Nov. 8, with a special focus on recruiting future educators from equity-deserving groups, including Indigenous students.
“Too often, the teachers who work in our schools do not look like the students they teach,” said Jennifer Straub, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education and event co-founder with Laurier’s Ardavan Eizadirad. “When students, including Indigenous people, can identify with their teachers on a cultural level, it will inspire a more diverse group of potential educators.”
Following last year’s inaugural Increasing Teacher Diversity event — which included 45 Waterloo Region secondary school students from equity-deserving groups visiting Laurier’s Waterloo campus to learn about careers in education — Eizadirad said the goal is to more than double attendance.
“We have invited more than 100 students in Grades 9 to 12 from traditionally underrepresented groups who may not have had an opportunity to visit Laurier’s Waterloo campus,” said Eizadirad, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education. “Many of these students have parents who cannot take a day off work to take them to visit Laurier and experience university life.”
Eizadirad said students who will attend the event are at a critical point in their lives as they consider a variety of careers. “We hope they will consider a career in teaching because diverse representation matters,” said Eizadirad.
During the event, Laurier representatives will share ongoing research initiatives which focus on mitigating systemic barriers facing underrepresented groups in education. In addition, a panel discussion on the subject of becoming the next generation of educators will feature a group of Laurier teacher candidates and undergraduate students in International Education Studies and Kinesiology.
The Increasing Teacher Diversity event will also feature interactive activities throughout the day including a tour of Laurier’s Waterloo campus; visits to equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigeneity affinity groups and departments; and a “human library” where students will learn about different people’s lived experiences.
“This year’s students have the chance to see themselves not only as teachers, but researchers,” said Straub. “They will learn about unique research and learning opportunities at Laurier. Our goal is to strengthen links within the community between teacher candidates, secondary school students and Laurier’s researchers.”
The Increasing Teacher Diversity event takes place in the Laurier Senate and Board Chamber on Wednesday, Nov. 8 beginning at 9 a.m. Members of the media are welcome to attend.
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