Events, Research

Preparing education in a post-pandemic world

February 18, 2022

The next generation of scholars are getting ready to tackle education in a post-pandemic world.

This year’s Robert Macmillan Symposium in Education will look at how COVID-19 has impacted schooling.

Symposium co-organizer Emi Iwaizumi said graduate students will present research on what the “new environment in education will look like” going forward.

“We have all experienced changes and challenges in this pandemic but after two years, we have started to see some trends for adapting to a post-pandemic world,” Iwaizumi said.

Some of these trends include educators and students confronting various challenges, such as teaching and learning online and finding childcare while preparing academic lessons, co-organizer Kayvan Shakoury said.

“We hope that students sharing their stories inform us of their experiences and coping strategies as well as what education stakeholders can do together to resolve these issues in the future,” Shakoury said.

This year’s symposium takes place from April 1-3, and it will be online to ensure participants’ safety. There will be paper, poster, roundtable and creative presentations. Additional coffee meetings will incorporate meditation and there will also be informal question and answer sessions between presenters and audiences, Iwaizumi said.

The goal is to showcase and support education-related projects, conceptual research, and studies in progress at all graduate levels, ranging from master’s essays to doctoral presentations.

Organizers said the symposium provides many benefits to participating graduate students. First, it’s a stress-free environment, which helps them prepare for future, large-scale conferences. Second, they receive feedback on their research ideas, which contributes to the development of their research projects. Finally, the symposium fosters collaboration because it connects students with similar and diverse research interests, co-organizer Shanshan He said.

Connecting students is important because when they learn about their peers’ research findings, it creates knowledge mobilization, which advances research within the faculty. It also solidifies Western Education’s reputation for its firm and dedicated commitment to education, Shakoury said.

“When one does something good, they are expected to get paid. In my opinion, having the opportunity to present your academic endeavours is the best payment one can get,” Shakoury said.

Organizers are excited about education’s future and they hope the symposium reflects this optimism. While online education has highlighted the opportunities and challenges educators, students and parents have been facing, it’s also a chance to create a future education environment that’s more inclusive, He said.

Iwaizumi adds inclusion means individual differences among teachers and learners are recognized and necessary training and support are provided, which will help individuals overcome their unique challenges.

“I realized that teaching effectively in a flipped classroom requires knowledge of different online tools and training to use them. This can be challenging for teachers who may have not used technology or do not have accessible online platforms for teaching.”

For more information about the Robert Macmillan Symposium in Education, including this year’s theme, ‘Changes and Challenges in Education: Towards a New Environment,’ visit the symposium’s website.

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