The Salty Chip Blog

A social space to learn more about the Canadian Multiliteracies Collaborative


Teaching and Learning Stories

We are born ‘ready to learn’ and do a remarkable job of learning a great deal before we head off to formalized learning contexts like schools. I have been thinking a lot about both the formal and the informal contexts that I have had an opportunity to learn from. Throughout my ‘formal’ education, I also regularly put myself in positions of informal learning – in contexts outside of my area of strength or familiarity. And I watched closely to learn from what my ‘instructors’ would do to try to support someone like me. My art instructor, my physical trainer, the math tutor, and the fellow who taught me how to fix air conditioning units.

I would like to collect stories from a wide range of people and use them in a teaching context where we work across disciplines. What can we learn when we revisit the stories of teaching and learning? What can they remind us of?

I invite you to make a short video ( 3-5 minutes) recalling a story from your educational past that was particularly meaningful to you. Just tell it as you recall it, and let us know why it has stayed with you. Then share it with me (using whatever means works for you; e.g., DropBox, WeVideo, YouTube) (email: khibbert at uwo dot ca)

If you enjoyed that and want to make another, I am also interested in learning about the qualities of a mentor that made a difference in your life.

Please provide your name and your profession so that we can look across the stories and see if we notice characteristics of those who chose particular life paths based on the experiences that touched them most significantly.


Lessons from Fukushima


March 11, 2011, 2:46 pm a seismic earthquake set off a chain of events in Japan that led to the largest Nuclear Disaster in the world since Chernobyl. Determined to ensure that the ‘lessons learned’ found their way into classrooms of future medical professionals in Japan, I was invited to lead a curricular initiative in disaster medicine education.

On Tuesday April 21, 2015 at 7 pm I will share the work I have done to date with the courageous first medical responders at Fukushima Medical University.

Location: Faculty of Education, J.G. Althouse Building, 1137 Western Rd., in the Community Room.

Free Parking available.


Supporting children with disabilities at school: implications for the advocate role in professional practice and education

Ng, S. Lingard, L. Hibbert, K. Regan, S., Phelan, S., Stooke, R., Meston, C., Schryer, C. , Manamperi, M. and Friesen, F.

Purpose: School settings are a common practice context for rehabilitation professionals; health advocacy is a common and challenging practice role for professionals in this context. This study explored how pediatric practitioners advocate for children with disabilities at school. Specifically, we examined everyday advocacy in the context of school-based support for children with disabilities. Method: Our theoretical framework and methodological approach were informed by institutional ethnography, which maps and makes visible hidden social coordinators of work processes with a view to improving processes and outcomes. We included families, educators, and health/rehabilitation practitioners from Ontario. Of the 37 consented informants, 27 were interviewed and 15 observed. Documents and texts were collected from the micro-level (e.g. clinician reports) and the macro-level (e.g. policies). Results: Pediatric practitioners’ advocacy work included two main work processes: spotlighting invisible disabilities and orienteering the special education terrain. Practitioners advocated indirectly, by proxy, with common proxies being documents and parents. Unintended consequences of advocacy by proxy included conflict and inefficiency, which were often unknown to the practitioner. Conclusions: The findings of this study provide practice-based knowledge about advocacy for children with disabilities, which may be used to inform further development of competency frameworks and continuing education for pediatric practitioners. The findings also show how everyday practices are influenced by policies and social discourses and how rehabilitation professionals may enact change.Implications for Rehabilitation

  • Rehabilitation professionals frequently perform advocacy work. They may find it beneficial to perform advocacy work that is informed by overarching professional and ethical guidelines, and a nuanced understanding of local processes and structures.

  • Competency frameworks and education for pediatric rehabilitation professionals may be improved by: encouraging professionals to consider how their practices, including their written documents, may affect parental burden, (mis)interpretation by document recipients, and potential unintended consequences.

  • Policies and texts, e.g. privacy legislation and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), influence rehabilitation professionals’ actions and interactions when supporting children with disabilities at school.

  • An awareness of the influence of policies and texts may enable practitioners to work more effectively within current systems when supporting individuals with disabilities.

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Western study finds majority of Ontario school principals feel they don’t have necessary support

Western study finds majority of Ontario school principals feel they don’t have necessary support
(written by Cory Habermehl, MA, Senior Communications Officer, Faculty of Education)

A recent Western University-led study of the work of principals in Ontario’s school system has found that while 90 per cent of principals find their positions rewarding and fulfilling, only one third of them feel they have the support and training necessary to do the job to the best of their ability.

The study, led by Katina Pollock from Western’s Faculty of Education, examined the daily lives of principals in relation to all elements of their work duties, and involved feedback from more than 1,400 principals. According to Pollock, the results reflect the ways in which the daily work of school principals has evolved to include a number of additional tasks and responsibilities.

“We’ve found principals are now responsible for taking a greater role in areas such as engagement with increasingly diverse cultural communities, parental engagement, mental health support for teachers and students, and student health and well-being,” explains Pollock. “Some of the best instructional specialists in schools are being put into the role of principal, but they need support in these other areas in order to have the greatest likelihood for experiencing success.”

Principals identified four main areas of support and skill development in which they feel additional professional learning opportunities would be beneficial: relationship building, instructional leadership, communications skills and mental health and wellness.

Pollock hopes her findings will help provide a clearer understanding of the realities of the role of Ontario’s principals and lead to constructive discussions in the province about additional supports that may be implemented to help principals succeed.

“Increased supports for principals will help them to better fulfill their roles as leaders and ultimately lead to an improved education system in Ontario, benefiting the province now and in the future,” says Pollock.

The study, The Changing Nature of Principals’ Work, was funded by the Ontario Principals’ Council and is available in full here:
 Jeff Renaud, Senior Media Relations Officer, 519-661-2111, ext. 85165,, @jeffrenaud99

Western delivers an academic experience second to none. Since 1878, The Western Experience has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. Western attracts individuals with a broad worldview, seeking to study, influence and lead in the international community.

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The secret of ‘Will’ in new times: The affordances of a cloud curriculum.

In press!

The Secret of ‘Will’ in new times: The affordances of a cloud curriculum.

Hibbert, K.

One of outcomes of a ‘knowledge economy’ and its corresponding surveillance mechanisms is the competitive anxiety it spawns amongst governments intent on seeing their schools outperform the others on international testing regimes. The challenge is figuring out how to integrate accountability without systematically dismantling the very essence of teaching and learning. Teachers largely enact the culture they live, and they have been living in a culture in which “teacher proof” materials proliferate, and curricular prescription abounds (Lofty, 2006). The literature on Governmentality offers us one way to talk about this phenomenon. Yet within governmentality, teachers have both the privilege and the responsibility to practice freedom. How might we break away from reductionist modes of assessment and capture learning in situ? How might experiences from interdisciplinary educational settings inform thinking about what we do in schools? How might changing the way teachers and students interact with one another (space, resources, form) translate teaching and learning? Actor network theory helps explain how participation in activities or networks mobilizes practices in particular ways. In this chapter, I explore the notion of freedom in the context of a nascent ‘cloud curriculum’ for teaching Shakespeare, leveraging multimodal affordances made visible through the efforts of New Literacy scholars.

In Hamilton, M., Heydon, R., Hibbert, K. and Stooke, R. (Eds)., Negotiating spaces for literacy: Multimodality and governmentality. London, UK: Bloomsbury.

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