Understanding homelessness through collaborative learning
Release Date: March 24, 2017
More than 140 students from Camosun’s Early Learning and Care, Mental Health and Addictions, Sociology and Marketing programs were recently brought together to discuss the complex issue of homelessness in a special collaborative learning workshop funded by a Camosun Creativity and Innovation grant.
The students listened to the eye-opening and heartfelt stories of three guest speakers, members of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, who shared their personal experiences of being homeless. Pacifica Housing also provided taped interviews of support workers who offered their perspectives.
The students then divided into small teams to explore the factors that influence homelessness and generate potential solutions. The guest speakers joined in on students’ conversations and were available for consultation.
“The project’s purpose was not only to provide an experiential learning opportunity for the students, but to explore the impacts and potential that interdisciplinary learning techniques can have in the classroom,” said Martha McAlister, who works in Camosun’s Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.
“Every picture tells a story,” said Mental Health and Addictions student and Community, Family and Child Studies graduate Sharon Gallagher. “When I first saw our speakers, I thought: ‘three homeless people, more or less the same story.’ After completion, I saw three individuals who had struggled with homelessness, each having their own unique stories and their own journeys to share.”
“The beauty that came from this workshop group was not only that we worked well as a team, but that each individual was able to share different perspectives and insights on the homelessness issue,” said another student.
“I believe this served as a great demonstration of community collaboration,” said McAlister. “And, we recognize how a learning activity like this can really support Camosun’s strategic plan, specifically around the college’s goals of supporting people in an engaged community, and creating innovative student experiences and active learning environments.”
Camosun faculty members Michelle Bass (Interprofessional Mental Health and Addictions), Kerry-Ann Dompierre (Nursing) and Martha McAlister (Community, Family and Child Studies/CETL) were the research leads on the project, working together with Kristin Ross (Mental Health and Addictions), Peter Ove (Sociology), Michelle Clement (Marketing), and Enid Elliot and Jessica Hrechka (Early Learning and Care).
“On the faculty side, working with my colleagues from across the college has been uplifting and invigorating,” added McAlister. “We learned so much from each other through the process of collaboration. I have a greater sense of and appreciation for other programs now, and hope to do more of these kinds of projects in the future.”
Students in Marketing, Sociology, Early Learning & Care and Mental Health & Addictions working together to examine the factors that influence homelessness with a member of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness.
Last updated: March 24, 2017 4:06 pm