Education in the Circumpolar North: Mapping the landscape


  • Jennifer Godfrey Anderson Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Sylvia Moore (Editors) Memorial University of Newfoundland


The Morning Watch was first published through the Faculty of Education at Memorial University in 1973 as a journal to highlight the “awakening consciousness of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador” (Gushue, 1977, iv). Opened in 1925 as a teacher education college, Memorial remains the only university in the province, with 10 teaching and learning facilities, over 19,000 students, and 5,200 faculty and staff from more than 115 countries. Memorial University now formally acknowledges the island of Newfoundland as the ancestral homelands of the Mi’kmaq and Beothuk, and recognizes the Inuit of Nunatsiavut and NunatuKavut and the Innu of Nitassinan and their ancestors as the original people of Labrador. Like the university, The Morning Watch began as a voice specifically for the teachers of Newfoundland and Labrador, but shifting geographies, climate change, and globalism makes the connection to history, the world, and to our Arctic partners, now much more significant. This special edition celebrates those connections by focussing on teacher education in the circumpolar north.

Author Biographies

Jennifer Godfrey Anderson, Memorial University of Newfoundland

My primary interest in education resides in the classroom, with children, and their experiences while learning. I began my teaching career as an elementary school generalist in British Columbia and have since taught in a rural intermediate school in New Zealand, high schools in Vancouver and London, and a middle school for gifted students in Calgary. In addition to researching and teaching, I have worked as a consultant with provincial, international (PISA), and national (PCAP) mathematics assessment programs, as well as international evaluation initiatives in Asia and the Caribbean.

Throughout my experiences, I have been surprised by the very different methods, values, and content in education, even between similar cultures like England, New Zealand, and Canada. I noticed that teachers and education systems have different expectations of their students and subject area proficiency. Even in mathematics, a subject that is thought to be universal, I noticed that expectations for mathematical literacy were different in different parts of the world. Consequently, I question the certainty of set criteria and ranking students and their learning using a percentage score and I remain uneasy about the competitive aspects of assessment practices while learning.

As I have continued my work with children and teachers around the world, these questions have only become more puzzling to me: How do values impact what we teach and evaluate? Whose knowledge counts? What are we missing by establishing learning outcomes and measurable criteria, even in subjects thought to be neutral such as mathematics? And, what are the effects of these decisions on our children, our education systems, and our planet as we move into the future? These questions continue to direct my career and inspire my research interests in classroom assessment, critical mathematics and experiential education, and I think the answers, and possibly some of the solutions to the challenging issues facing education and our society in the 21st century, reside in authentic, holistic, community, and land-based experience.

Sylvia Moore (Editors), Memorial University of Newfoundland

Sylvia is interested in Aboriginal/Indigenous education and working with teachers to offer culturally relevant curriculum. She uses a Indigenist methodological approach to research and her recent projects focus on storytelling and personal narratives.