Challenging the norm
Teachers learn "new" techniques at conference

by Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

NNSL (Feb 21/97) - Teachers went back to school this week following what many are calling an invaluable two-day workshop.

Chris Philpotts, a music teacher at Weledeh school, said he learned about the possibilities of using healing circles in the classroom while attending the conference.

"I gained a whole new insight into how to deal with problems through a healing circle," he said. "It's a therapy group that allows people to talk about their problems and to recognize the things that bother them."

Philpotts said that he would never have had the opportunity to experience a healing circle without attending the conference, held last Thursday and Friday.

"I would have to go to a summer institute or university to hear about it."

Philpotts said he will incorporate some of the skills he learned at the healing circle session into the classroom.

"It helps to emphasize that the things that happen outside the classroom affects what happens inside," he said. And it may even help deal with the stress associated with being a teacher.

Flo Campbell, a teacher at Ecole St. Joseph, agrees that the conference gave teachers the opportunity to learn new skills.

"Teachers always come back to school with at least one new idea."

Campbell said that one speaker in particular forced teachers to challenge their thinking on certain school issues.

Eastern Arctic storyteller Joe McLellan, talked about the differences between students in the classroom.

"I believe he had an important message -- that is to be open and to respect the gifts of all," she said. "He definitely challenged us to examine our thinking."