An Inviting Day - Exploring Invitational Education
On Tuesday, May 19, 2009, Fanshawe faculty had the opportunity to learn about and explore invitational education. This paradigm of education has been proven to be effective with at-risk learners in a number of educational settings. It is a holistic perspective of working with students and looking at the factors that impact the educational climate.
Guest speaker Frank Johnson presented an overview of invitational education during the morning session. He has effectively used these concepts in his work as a secondary school principal in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Invitational education is based on the work of William Purkey who identified the 5 Ps (People, Place, Programs, Policies, and Processes) that can affect a student's experience. In his presentation Frank shared personal examples of how he has influenced student success using these concepts. Michael Hanwell, Acting Dean, Community Services (Continuing Education), commented that it was "A powerful presentation that would be of benefit to all regardless of their level of teaching experience and/or expertise."
In the afternoon, faculty got the opportunity to build on the knowledge that was shared in the morning. The highlight of the afternoon was a faculty panel of Fanshawe staff who have been successful in teaching first level and at-risk students. The panel shared their ideas and best practices on using some of these invitational concepts to assist Fanshawe students.
The importance of student engagement, building relationships and setting clear expectations were common themes throughout the afternoon session. In addition to the panel, Student Success Leader Robert Kitchen facilitated an activity that allowed faculty to reflect on their own teaching in the context of invitational education and to look for opportunities to be more inviting in the fall.
Deborah Hass, who teaches in the School of Tourism and Hospitality, commented that the day reinforced several important themes: "As educators we need to create a welcoming, nurturing classroom environment. By giving students opportunities to be successful they will build self-esteem and respect for themselves and others."
The day resulted in many favourable comments on the guest speaker and concept of invitational education and how it will prove beneficial to Fanshawe students in the future. Special thanks to those on the faculty panel: Jeff Sadler, Tracey Gedies, Ross Gowan and Nitsa Andres.