About Saint Mary's

Social Studies Teachers Association Conference Proved Teachers are Learners Too

26 October, 2015

Social Studies Teachers Association Esther Enns
 Esther Enns, Senior Advisor, Teaching and Learning, addresses teachers at the SSTA Conference on Friday, Oct. 23.

More than 250 teachers from across Nova Scotia attended the 2015 Social Studies Teachers Association (SSTA) Conference at Saint Mary’s on Friday, Oct. 23. The teachers spent their professional-development day taking advantage of the expertise of the university’s Arts faculty in more than 30 workshops and presentations dedicated to social studies—fulfilling key recommendations of Nova Scotia’s Action Plan for Education and the Nova Scotia Teachers Union.

“Teachers are learners too,” says SSTA president Wendy Driscoll. “Whether they are well-versed in a subject, or brand new to the profession, teachers always benefit from new knowledge, and in turn their students benefit too.”

2015’s Nova Scotia Action Plan for Education recognizes the need for teachers to expand their expertise, as does the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, which in 2013 recommended setting provincial targets to that effect. In their 2014 response, Teacher Voice for Quality Public Education, the Nova Scotia Teachers Union agreed that “professional development opportunities which are directly tied to job requirements be [made] available.”

This year’s conference—with a theme of “initiate, COLLABORATE, educate”—is exactly that, and is the first SSTA conference to be held at Saint Mary’s, building on a partnership that has evolved over the past five years. Relationships between university faculty and teachers are being forged which will improve the classroom experience and benefit students across Nova Scotia. Says Driscoll: “The conference day is about discovering new information in your subject, learning more about a particular discipline, and establishing relationships between others in the field, both colleagues and experts.”