Amplifying Student Voices: Land-Based Education Reflections by PDP Students in Francophone Education

May 19, 2023

Dr. Isabelle Côté, Senior Lecturer, recently participated in the ACFAS International Conference. Her presentation offered three Professional Development Program (PDP) students from the Education 400 course a unique opportunity to share their valuable learning experiences in the field of land-based education. Dr. Côté explained, “At the Faculty of Education, we often emphasize the importance of students’ voices. This conference was an ideal occasion for students to share their learning at a high-profile academic event.”  

The presentation, titled "Apprentissage de et par le territoire: réflexion de trois étudiantes allochtones à la formation des enseignants en Colombie-Britannique" (Learning from and with the Land: Reflections of Three Non-Indigenous Students in Teacher Education in British Columbia), delved into an important part of the framework of the Education 400 course, which had been collaboratively developed by faculty members, Dr. Cher Hill, Dr. David Chang, and Colleen Elderton.

The land-based part of the course is based on writings from Indigenous researchers involved in land-based pedagogy and other scholars interested in ecological justice and the development of ecological identity in children. Throughout the first semester of teacher training, students engaged in weekly land-based learning activities while maintaining reflective journals to document their experiences through various mediums, such as writing, drawings, images, photos, and sketches. Their learning was integrated into portfolios, which they later presented at the culmination of the course.

Dr. Côté personally facilitated the land-based learning with the French cohort during the fall of 2022. She shares, “Land-based learning is fairly new in teacher education, and I thought it was very important for this work to be done in French as well." 

During the conference, the three students shared excerpts from their portfolios, highlighting significant moments from their land-based learning journey. The aim of this presentation was to inspire discussions among francophone university educators about incorporating and implementing similar practices in their own teacher education programs.

Dr. Côté's involvement of PDP students in the conference presentation amplified students' voices and shed light on the growth and importance of Francophone education in Western Canada. Their collective work strives to inspire future K-12 educators to integrate land-based learning practices in Core French, French immersion, francophone programs in the province. 

Meet the PDP Student Co-Presenters 

Daphne Francombe, PDP Student

"As University students, it's easy to just sort of stick your head down and stare at your screen for way too many hours of the day. So, it was really refreshing to be encouraged to go outside and learn in different ways." 

Marina Toptchiian, PDP Student

"Growing up in Montreal, I was never confronted with land-based learning and Indigenous perspectives. Being a part of this presentation really got me out of my comfort zone." 

Stephanie Odegard, PDP Student

"I'm really excited about presenting the artifacts we made and how we incorporated land-based learning in Educ 400 and how we could decolonize the curriculum as settlers." 


Daphne, Marina, Stephanie and Dr. Isabelle Côté subsequently co-wrote an article presenting the results of their transformative investigation:

Learning from and through the territory: reflections of three non-native students in initial training in British Columbia .

It can be consulted online in the journal  Éducation Comparée et Internationale.