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Speaker series aims to make hope accessible

February 22, 2022 Mark Milne, ATA News Staff



The next three sessions are scheduled for
March 17  |  April 28  |  May 30 

For more information, to register, or access
a link to the first session, visit 

A private Facebook page has been created as a virtual sharing circle for the sessions. It will act as a common site for participants to access and share group strategies with other attendees, as well as a source of hope guidance from the facilitators.


Helping teachers discover ways to nourish hope is the aim of a new speaker series that kicked off Feb. 10. Nurturing Resilience with Hopeful Cultures of Learning is a four-part series hosted by researcher Dr. Lenora LeMay and former principal Caroline Gosling.

“What I’m imagining at the end of this is that we’ll have as many ways of working with hope as we have participants here today,” LeMay said during the Feb. 10 session.

LeMay and Gosling began the session by asking attendees to reflect back on a time when a situation turned out better than expected. Through these experiences, LeMay and Cassidy pointed out the important role that gratitude plays in hopefulness. 

For the second half of the session, participants were asked to bring a photo that, in their opinion, represented hope. Participants gathered in small breakout rooms to discuss the photos on a more intimate level. LeMay and Cassidy provided several questions to help spark meaningful conversation.

Through these discussions, participants discovered their own understanding of what makes up hope. 

“We determined that hope is different for everyone and dynamic even for individuals,” said participant Catherine Beaver-Hawman, “and the larger discussion with all of the group participants afterwards was rich and meaningful as well.”

The remainder of the series will take an in-depth look at hope research and other strategies that have been developed over the years to support and inspire hope. 

“Our ultimate goal is to make hope visible and accessible,” LeMay said.

The four-part series was designed with the intention that participants would attend all four sessions, as each instalment builds on the previous one. Although the first session has passed, registration for the remaining three is still open. Newcomers can catch up by viewing the recording of the first session.
The series is being organized by the ATA’s Women in Leadership Committee. After two years of living under pandemic restrictions and intensely stressful working conditions, the time was ripe for this type of series, said committee secretary and ATA staff officer Lisa Everitt.

“We looked at the research that’s been done by the committee and the Association in terms of exhaustion, burnout and members becoming discouraged — these sessions could not have come at a better time,” she said.

Everitt says the first session was very well received and organizers are using gathered feedback to make the next meeting resonate even better with participants. ❚


The facilitators

Dr. Lenora LeMay is a former K–6 teacher who left the classroom in 2000 to work with Hope Kids at the Hope Foundation, an applied research centre. Since the Hope Foundation closed in 2012, LeMay has continued exploring how attending to a narrative conception and pedagogy of hope, which was the subject of her doctoral research, encourages lifelong learning, resilience and well-being. She has extensive experience working with K–12 teachers’ professional development.

Caroline Gosling is a retired principal with the Edmonton Public Schools with 35 years experience in the classroom. She holds a masters degree in educational leadership and has worked with Alberta Children Services and Alberta Education. LeMay credits Gosling with playing a significant role in her path to exploring hope in the field of education.

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