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Dawn Imada Chan

What Happens When You Believe

I was recently asked if I remember teachers or educators that made a difference in my life and learning and how they inspired me. Yes, for a while I was that "middle" kid. I was your student who came diligently every day to class, completes their work, and if given the choice, would have been perfectly happy blending into the background. I was eager about the world's possibilities (which you wouldn't have known unless you asked), but had little belief in myself that I would be a part of making a difference in it. I was the kid who had mastered the art of not being noticed, but not well enough to fool the untrained eyes of some of my teachers.

You, too, likely have had one of these teachers. The teachers who are passionate about their work and believe in the potential of each child, love their content area, but believe in the importance of making real connections with their students even more. They are the ones that make the most indelible impressions on your heart and their belief in you is what made you think differently about yourself so you could soar.

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Dawn Imada Chan

The Whole Child Movement: A Journey Between Two Nations

I have often been asked about the differences between teaching in the United States and Canada. That's often a difficult question to answer because I now consider both countries "home" and doing so often elicits a predictable follow-up question of which education system is better. This post is not an attempt to rank one over the other, as education systems between countries will have to be different to meet the needs of their given communities.

However, no matter where we are located in the world, we see in our own classrooms the practice of compare and contrast. Doing this work with our students can elicit powerful reflections about complex ideas. Having had the experience of being a teacher in both settings, and most recently as an administrator in Canada, reflecting on both the similarities and differences between the two countries has provided me with a more comprehensive picture of what can work well in education.

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Dawn Imada Chan

Three Strategies for Encouraging and Developing Student Voice

Even though student-centered learning is the foundation of student voice, the complexity and demands of teaching often make focusing on student voice yet another "add-on" for educators. However, as Toshalis and Nakkula (2012) assert, "student voice is the antithesis of depersonalized, standardized, and homogenized educational experiences because it begins and ends with the thoughts, feelings, visions, and actions of the students themselves" (p. 23).

Based on my experience as both a teacher and administrator, I suggest three action steps that educators can take to further incorporate student voice into their classrooms and schools.

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