Professor Profiles

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Alexandra Fidyk

Associate Professor

Education

Secondary Education

About Me

Dr. Alexandra Fidyk currently serves as Associate Professor in the Department of Secondary Education where she teaches courses in teacher education (Social Studies), curriculum theory, research and depth psychology in relationship to education, culture and the Arts. Prior to moving to Edmonton, she was Core Faculty and Research Coordinator in the Department of Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute, CA. Here she taught a doctoral research series including research process, scholarly writing and dissertation preparation in addition to courses in Jungian Psychology. Her first professorship, before this move, was an Assistant Professor in Educational Foundations & Inquiry and served as Director of the Curriculum & Social Inquiry Doctoral Program at National Louis University, Chicago, IL. Alexandra continues as Adjunct Faculty with both institutions as well as Associate Faculty at St. Stephen’s College; further, she serves as chair and internal reader on numerous doctoral committees at all four institutions.

Alexandra received her PhD at the University of Calgary; her dissertation, Silence & Eros: Beckoning the Background Forward was a hermeneutic exploration into the meaning of silence – as a creative and generative entity/process. After doctoral studies, she completed clinical training with the C. G. Jung Institute of Chicago and Family Constellation Work with the Hellinger Institute of Western Pennsylvania. As a Certified Jungian Psychotherapist in a private practice, she integrates both modalities along with mindfulness practice rooted in Zen Buddhism (Soto), which began twenty-five years ago when she taught in Japan. This early practice has been extended by training in Vipassana Meditation by Goenka; Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) with Jon Kabat Zinn; and Transcendental Meditation (TM) with Deepak Chopra. Current interest in trauma, cellular memory, neuroscience and the wisdom of the body – as an epistemology; knowing as a ‘feelingful state’ – has led to present training in Integrated Body Psychodynamics.

Insights gleaned from Wisdom Traditions and process philosophy can be seen not only threaded through her scholarship but also as a means to challenge dominant discourse on questions related to identity (trans-subjectivity), citizenship (inter-species), teacher education (individual psychological development), research (ontologically located in an animated world), creativity (unconscious dynamics) and suffering (necessary and meaningful). Her attention to psychodynamic and trans-generational theories offers a valuable and often missed perspective regarding what does and does not happen within classrooms, family life, cultures and community. Such theories compliment her previous studies in curriculum theory, hermeneutics, ecology, globalization, social studies, literature and the arts. Today the influence of each discipline can be seen integrated throughout her research.

Alexandra’s pedagogical practice stems from teaching high school Social Studies (including Economics and Psychology) and English Language Arts (Canadian, American and British Literature, & Creative Writing) in rural Saskatchewan. Curriculum and pedagogical understanding/skills/values were complicated and further developed by teaching and studying in Japan, China, England, Finland, Colombia, South Africa and Egypt as well as working with the Canadian International Development Agency in Kosovo. Curious about human patterns and oddities, she continues to be drawn to places that offer immersion in cultural and geographical richness, yet maintains a life on the edges as a unique way of learning and becoming.


Research

Research Interests:
Transdisciplinary Studies and the many interconnections of such fields: Curriculum Studies, Philosophy of Education, Buddhist Thought (Wisdom Traditions), Process Philosophy, post-/Jungian Psychology (Depth, Imaginal, and Mythopoetic Studies), Hermeneutics, Phenomenology, Poetic Inquiry and Arts-informed methods, Teacher Education (Social Studies), Ecological and Socially Responsible Pedagogy, Ethics, Transgenerational Work (Trauma and Body Psychodynamics, Systemic Constellation)


Teaching

Courses Taught (since 2010)

EDSE 373   Curriculum & Teaching for Secondary School Studies Majors is a curriculum and pedagogy course that will introduce you to the theory and practice of social studies education in junior and senior high schools in Alberta. Attention will be given to the program of studies, complementary resources, and a range of topics and issues related to the teaching of social studies in secondary school settings.

EDSE 473/474   Curriculum & Teaching in Secondary Social Studies.  The purpose of the on-campus component of the term is to develop understandings and skills related to social studies teaching. There will be some theoretical examination of the social studies, as well as the development of a working understanding of the Alberta Social Studies Program of Studies. We will explore a variety of approaches to teaching social studies. This on-campus component has a course weight of six credits.  Evaluation is on the letter grade system.

EDFX 450   Field Experience.   There is a nine-week field experience placement in either a junior or a senior high school. Students will start with planning and teaching individual lessons then move to longer units of work. The evaluator is the mentor teacher who discusses the evaluation with the student-teacher and the assigned university facilitator. Please note the website for the Field Experience Handbook is . The field experience has a course weight of six credits. Evaluation is on a pass/fail basis.

EDSE 451   The focus here is to recognize practical classroom needs by meaningful integration of theoretical understanding with practical experience. This course seeks to foster understanding about one’s growth as a teacher, and the relationships between the curriculum-as-planned and curriculum-as-lived in the classroom. This course has a weight of three credits. Participation will be the major criterion. Evaluation is on a pass/fail basis.

EDSE 405    Introduction to Curriculum and Teaching.

EDSE 501    Curriculum Seminar: The Inner Life & its Significance to Practice, Research & Ethics.  This course is framed around the Jungian concept of an inner life and its ethical relationship to living both individually and collectively. In exploring this multi-layered relationship, key Jungian concepts will be addressed in applying an analytic psychological perspective to practice, research (writing) and ethics.  For example, we will look at complexes (perfectionist, over-achiever, inferior, etc.) and their influence on research questions and at archetypes (warrior, helper, clown, etc.) and their influence on the way one teaches (counsels, manages, leads). We will consider the ways in which Jungian and post-Jungian perspectives contribute to individual development in the ongoing work of uncovering and attending the unconscious. This process asks that we acknowledge and understand the dynamics between our inner and outer worlds. Regardless of the vocation, this means “the expansion of consciousness and the working toward a meaningful integrated life as evidenced in authentic relationships with self and others” (Boyd & Meyers, 1988, p. 261).

Keywords: ego, shadow, persona, complex, psyche, unconscious, projection, archetype, anima/animus, symbol, pedagogy, curriculum, practice, ethics, subjectivity, individuation

EDSE 501 LX04    Curriculum Seminar: Jungian Psychology & Its Significance to Relationships.  This course (pre-study requisite necessary) offers a space to explore, apply and question Jungian concepts and theories wherein they intersect with lived experience, vocation, and research. In exploring this multi-dimensional relationship, emphasis will be given to self-expression, transformation, creativity and the development of consciousness. Further, we will look to the potentials and limitations of Jungian psychology in contemporary contexts. This course includes experiential, somatic and expressive activities within a dynamic learning community.

EDSE 501    Curriculum Seminar: Culture, Memory & Meaning. This course examines cultural dynamics, in particular the concept of cultural complex which applies to religious, ethnic, gender, social even geographical identities. Through the use of psychodynamic concepts and theories we will consider new ways to understand and address not only current conflict, but also historical memory, relations to place and patterns of culture.  We will question assumptions about belonging and identity delving into issues related to group memories of specific traumas, historical assumptions that operate with in the individual’s connection to present conditions, shadow processes related to “otherness” and affective responses for comprehending stereotypes, racism and genocide.

EDSE 504   Curriculum Inquiry – Contemporary Issues.   The overall aim of this course on curriculum inquiry is to provide the means through curriculum scholarship to become more fully involved in discussions and decisions that concern teaching, learning, the social good, and public education.  Details to follow.

EDUC 910 Directed Reading Course (Depth Psychology & Education), Simon Fraser University

Directed Reading Course (Independent Study) Sample:  This directed readings course explores the intersections in the literature in education (holistic, arts, transformative, poetic and depth psychological education). Its focus examines, for example, the student’s research question: What is the role of image in the relationship between perception and consciousness (awareness)? This exploration includes an inquiry into the dialogue between known and unknown; conscious and unconscious; visible and invisible; archetypal image and archetype per se, recognizing “the stop” (Appelbaum) where/when a new possibility enters the field, another archetype or myth has presented its potential influence and the necessity to “listen” for this pause; create room for it; practice “deep democracy” Mindell) where each voice has resonance, where its particular pattern of energy has room to influence and help in the shaping capacity of transformation. The literature search seeks parallels, gaps, absences and the ways the disciplines of Education and Depth Psychology inform each other.

Independent Study courses will be tailored to the unique interests of the student(s) enrolled.