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Mount Saint Vincent University Goes to Nunavut!

The Faculty of Education at Mount Saint Vincent University has been working with the Government of Nunavut Department of Education since 2006 and now, thanks to continued sponsorships, has developed a travel bursary program to enable students to explore their professional interest in teaching in the Canadian Eastern Arctic.

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Nunavut’s Baffin Region draws more than half its teachers from the Atlantic Provinces. Mount Saint Vincent University offers an orientation course for those interested in considering a teaching position in this northern area. When enrolment warrants a half-credit course will be offered (EDUC 5508 01 Diversity and Culture ‘Nunavut') with the possible opportunity for up to five preservice teachers to do the final 4 weeks of their MSVU teaching practicum actually in Nunavut. (Please check with the Mount’s B.Ed. office on the availability of the course and the placement offering as this course and or placement is not available annually). The northern practicum not only provides a unique preparatory ESL cross-cultural teaching experience but also helps would-be northern teachers to later adjust more easily and build relationships with Inuit students who often find the southern education system a challenge. It also provides an opportunity to meet Inuit, to be introduced to their culture and to get out on the land.

Nunavut01Preservice teachers who enrol in the half-credit course (EDUC 5508 01  ‘Nunavut’) may have the opportunity to apply for a 4 week placement in a northern school. Up to five of them may be accepted for this program with each getting a travel bursary worth approximately $8,700. This includes all travel, food & accommodation expenses, support for the program’s administration, and $1000 for each northern school that hosts one of the MSVU students. The 4-week practicum in March and April sees each Mount Saint Vincent University individual teach with an associate teacher while monitored by the school principal. The final report from that teacher and principal attests to the success of the individual’s practicum placement. Preservice teacher practicum positions in Nunavut are dependent upon whether principals can find suitable accommodation in their communities as well as staff to serve as associate teachers.

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The program is administered at MSVU by the Faculty of Education Practicum co-ordinator and Nick Newbery, the Nunavut Teacher Practicum Program co-ordinator. Nick lived in Nunavut for 30 years and now teaches courses on Nunavut.

The program has four sponsors: 

  • TD Bank Financial Group, which has donated $330,000 over 9 years under its aboriginal youth fund and has been a key source of funding since the program's beginning.
  • Dr.Hans & Mrs. Annegret Uhthoff, who have already donated $20,000 and have agreed to provide up to $50,000 towards the project.
  • Qikiqtani School Operations, which administers Baffin schools for the Nunavut Department of Education and is our northern partner, facilitating arrangements with northern teachers and principals.
  • Canadian North the northern airline, which provides discount fares for all participants.

Nunavut04The goal of the project’s sponsors is to provide orientation for those interested in teaching in Nunavut with the broader aim of improving literacy among northern youth, helping them to stay in school and thus enhancing their career opportunities. Teaching in Nunavut can be challenging but also offers the opportunity to work in a unique setting, within a different culture and yet remain situated in Canada. This cross-cultural ESL experience requires and rewards initiative and determination and provides valuable background for any student teacher, especially one hoping to teach in a culturally diverse setting.

Contact Us

Mailing Address:Seton Academic Centre

Mount Saint Vincent University
Faculty of Education
Seton Academic Centre Room 401
166 Bedford Hwy
Halifax, NS B3M 2J6

Email: msvu.ca
Phone: (902) 457-6178
Toll-Free within Canada: 1-877-433-2889
Fax: (902) 457-4911