Patrick Lewis

University of Regina

The fallout from COVID-19 has been far reaching; there is no one or no thing that has escaped the impact of the pandemic. Everything from the quotidian to the extraordinary has had to adapt, modify, or simply stop in the face of this new landscape. Our taken-for-granted notions of how we navigate our realities has been interrupted and disrupted, bringing into focus the multitude of ideas and practices that have become so routine in our lives that they have receded into the background of our consciousness. Our journal, in education was unable to publish the spring 2020 issue because of the unforeseen impact on our day-to-day processes for producing an issue. Since March 2020 we have worked to adjust and revise our review process time lines, develop greater lead time for recruiting reviewers for submissions, and strengthen correspondence with authors and reviewers. Just like everyone else we have been trying to find ways to work through these new circumstances in thoughtful, supportive, and meaningful ways. As many have experienced, the pandemic days have not been easy nor without challenges that we could not have readily imagined prior to March 2020. The concomitant rise in the Black Lives Matter activism during the pandemic brought the world’s attention to the injustices and racism experienced by Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour (IBPOC). Just as the pandemic has shown us that the people and governments of the world need to act in coordination and cooperation to fight the spread of COVID-19, the people and their governments need to act with cooperation and conviction to address injustice, racism, and the ongoing effects of colonization.

This issue has come together during these unusual yet important times, giving us a collection of interesting and thoughtful research that should provoke the reader’s thinking. Darren E. Lund and Rae Ann Van Beers bring into focus the important role educators can/do play in supporting and guiding youth activist in order to foster cross generational growth. Jennifer Mitton, Lia Lewis and Savannah MacDonald share research from a qualitative study that repositions Grade 12 students in a rural maritime English Communications class as “Thinkers with Ideas to Share.” They achieve this work through utilizing the circle: having students sit in circle daily with the focus of communicating elevated expectations to students who historically have struggled academically. Alexander Davis takes up an examination of “Digital Citizenship in the Ontario” context pointing out that the Ministry of Education in the largest province in Canada does not provide a definitive idea around the notion of digital citizenship; instead, the Ministry offloads responsibility to school boards. Davis points out the lack of a cohesive conceptualization as a result, but still finds that across the 10 school boards he examined, all point to digital citizenship embracing some notion of “responsible and ethical technology use,” which he suggests influences their broader civic engagement. “Unleashing the Learners,” shares the findings of a qualitative study that delved into the wherewithal of makerspace facilitators in the Saskatchewan context. Marguerite Koole, Kerry Anderson, and Jay Wilson highlight the findings similarity to other studies, which point to the importance of “the value of productive failure, relinquishing control, and modes of support” in makerspace facilitation. Koole et al. also emphasize the need to support preservice and in-service teachers to become more confident and prepared makerspace facilitators. The piece “A Vision Towards Indigenous Education Sovereignty in Northwestern Ontario” takes on the long struggle for Indigenous education control, not just through the structures of schooling but more importantly through the curriculum. The authors, Melissa Oskineegissh and Leisa Desmoulins, worked with Indigenous educators and knowledge keepers in the northwestern Ontario region to delineate a vision for Indigenous education sovereignty through, “pedagogies grounded in the need for equitable education; Indigenous-led instruction for land-based teachings, traditional practices and languages; and, community-based accountabilities,” all of which are actions laid down in the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Finally, in “Understanding Meaningful Exchanges: Mathematics Discourse Analysis and Complexity Thinking,” Evan Robinson brings to light the importance for teachers to attend to the emergent student centred discourses in elementary mathematics classrooms and focus on what impact the complex learning system has on the emerging classroom discourse.

Although the pandemic has been pervasive in its reach and impact, the human spirit has risen in many ways to meet the challenges presented. People have modified and adapted behaviours and actions to try and contain the spread of the virus, while the world has come together to develop a vaccine. Is there more we can do? Most certainly there is, such as ensuring that all people of the world have access to the new vaccines and that people continue to practice behaviours that diminish the spread of the virus. But the events of this past nine months have demonstrated the possibilities of humans to come together to change attitudes, behaviours, and act in just and humane ways. Like many people around the world we at in education are hopeful for what we may do in 2021. Take care and keep well.