- Previous Education:
B. Ed. University of Saskatchewan 1994 M. Ed. University of Saskatchewan 2001 Ph.D. University of Saskatchewan 2013
After 15 years working in the human service field, Koreen Geres entered the U of S to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Education. During this time, her volunteer experience with the Saskatoon Open Door Society inspired her to complete a certificate in teaching English as a second language (CerTESL). Teaching newcomers to Canada became a passion, and Geres sought innovative ways to support the learning needs of adults and teens. Returning to the U of S to complete a Mater’s degree in Educational Technology, Geres investigated computer assisted language learning and constructivist theories to create interactive activities that enhance student engagement. She also became interested in education and research as social justice issues. While teaching teens and young adults who recently arrived from the Balkans in 1999, Geres and her students completed a participatory action research project for the Dr. Stirling McDowell Foundation. The students’ reflections on the effects of trauma and struggles to integrate into society encouraged Geres to do an interdisciplinary PhD at the U of S to further investigate the factors that create risk or enhance resilience for youth who have experienced interrupted education and forced migration. All the while, raising awareness of newcomers’ needs and strengths through community involvement has been of the utmost importance.
Geres has been a Board member for TESL SK, SK TEAL, International Women of Saskatoon, and SIAST’s Educational Assistant Advisory Board. She is currently on the Board of the Dr. Stirling McDowell Foundation. This devotion to community engagement influences her practices as a secondary EAL teacher where she encourages students to become involved in International Day of Peace, Jane’s Walk, and many events for the elimination of racism. She also strives to incorporate classroom activities to support the emotional wellbeing of youth who have experienced trauma. Activities include cooperative group activities, written and oral storytelling, drumming and dance. Her digital storytelling project was presented at Microsoft’s 2010 Partners in Learning Forum in Singapore and placed second in the community category.
Providing opportunities for youth to build social capital and develop supportive relationships is a primary focus, so Geres and Dr. Jay Wilson from the College of Education have partnered to introduce teacher candidates to EAL students. Newcomer youth receive one-on-one technology instruction, and teacher candidates develop awareness of EAL issues. Advocacy for youth with high academic, social and emotional needs and mentorship of their teachers continues to be an ongoing challenge for Geres. She also seeks fora to raise public awareness regarding the many ways in which newcomers enrich our communities.