2014 Exemplary Practices
One of the most enjoyable parts of the four days national Prime Minister's Award (PMA) recipients spend in Ottawa is Teachers' Talk. The sharing that takes place during this best practices session is motivating and memorable for both the participants and those in the audience privileged to hear these extraordinary educators speak first hand. Sometimes funny, often moving, and always inspirational, the unique ideas and innovative solutions these top teachers have found to common challenges will be of service to anyone interested in excellence in education and early childhood education. Teachers' Talk Moderator Dr. Joel Westheimer opened the event by saying,
"Some people think of teaching as a way of pouring information into children who are empty vessels. Paulo Freire talks about this as the 'banking method' of education, where the teacher deposits information into the child and then makes a withdrawal during examinations… I think that education, and teaching in particular, is about creating a space in the classroom where children's imagination and abilities can flourish. And that's hard work on the part of teachers. When I read through the projects that we will be celebrating today, and the work that you're all doing, it really reminded me that the role of the teacher is a challenging and an ambitious one."Dr. Westheimer is the University Research Chair in Democracy and Education at the University of Ottawa and an Education Columnist for CBC Radio.
Topics for discussion at Teachers' Talk are drawn from recipient's nomination packages and are based on what they feel are their best and most transferable teaching practices. Reflecting the growing trend in Canada toward integration, recipients of both the PMA for Teaching Excellence and for Excellence in Early Childhood Education take part in the same forum. Topics for 2014 were: "Fostering the Wonder of a Child" – Inspiring Learning Through Emergent Curriculum; « Une démarche bienveillante » – Building Foundations for Lifelong Learning; "No Child Left Behind" – Ensuring Success for All Students; "Learning in Common" – Collaboration to Support Student Achievement; "If you Build it…" – Using STEM to Inspire and Engage; and finally, "Child-Lived Experience" – Challenging Students in Learning for Life. Summaries of these best practices, as well as links for the resources these educators use regularly in their classrooms and childcare centres can be found in this publication.
The Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence honour outstanding and innovative elementary and secondary school teachers in all disciplines who instill in their students a love of learning and who utilize information and communications technologies to better equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in a 21st century society and economy. The Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Early Childhood Education honour exceptional ECEs who excel at fostering the early development and socialization of the children in their care, and at helping build the foundation young children need to make the best possible start in life. Each recipient's biography highlights the teaching philosophies and best practices of some of Canada's most inspirational educators.
The Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence and Excellence in Early Childhood Education are administered by Industry Canada in partnership with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and with the generous support of the RBC Foundation. For information about this program, its partners and recipients, please contact the program office.
Information, views or comments offered in this publication have been submitted by the 2014 Prime Minister's Award recipients and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Prime Minister, Minister of Industry or the federal government departments involved in this program. Provision of links from this Internet site to sites located outside of the Prime Minister's Awards program domain does not imply endorsement or credibility of the service, information, or product offered through the linked sites.
Teaching in the Northern Context: Essential Skills and Best Practices to Ensure Engagement and Success
Arviat, Nunavut is about 250 km due north of Churchill, Manitoba and is located on the west coast of Hudson Bay. It is fly-in only; isolated; flatter than the Prairies; not a tree for hundreds of kilometres. It is home to 2,500 souls—90% Inuit. It gets frightfully cold and the blizzards really are the stuff of legend. …Continue reading.
A Classroom Without Walls
Every child is an expert in something. They may not always realize it, but as we begin each school year, students are taught how to purposefully study, create, and then share their expertise with others. What students learn in school today is not much different than it has always been, but how they are learning is an adventure. …Continue reading.
The importance of teaching social media literacy skills in schools
I often think about what we need to teach our students to best prepare them for the age of digital technology. First of all, I believe that every child should have an opportunity to learn essential computer skills (including computer programming). I was thrilled when the Ontario government announced that it has committed to $150 million in funding for school boards to promote technology in the classroom over the next three years. This is definitely a step in the right direction. …Continue reading.
Never Stop Learning
One of the things I truly love about teaching is that I continually get to learn new things which I have the privilege of passing on to my students. What makes it even better is if the knowledge I pass on has a positive impact not only on my students, but on their families and the community. …Continue reading.
"If You Build it…." – Using STEM to Inspire and Engage
Where I find my most successful teaching is actually outside of the classroom. Building robots that compete on the world stage has developed many skills in myself, my students and families in our school community. Students in our afterschool robotics program learn without realizing it, and they become passionate, engaged and encouraged to communicate, network, and develop technical and non-technical skills. This robotics experience also builds into my classroom with practical examples and projects—robots are used throughout computer engineering courses from grade nine to twelve. …Continue reading.
Educational Robotics—a holistic and inclusive approach to teaching STEM
Educational robotics has been a passion of mine for many years. I started by mentoring a Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) underwater robotics team as a new technology teacher. As a pilot teacher for the newly released skilled trades and technology program, I trained over several summers to teach the program courses. One course that really challenged me and solidified my interests in robotics was the High School Robotics course. …Continue reading.
Susan Marshall Steele
Building Blocks for Physical Literacy – Physical Literacy Class
Most of us are aware that, for optimal growth and development, children need up to 60-90 minutes of physical activity every day. This is critical for their current health and well-being and for their future. One of the many barriers holding children back from achieving this goal is a lack of physical literacy. …Continue reading.
Big Questions in the Classroom
Question! Question! Question! Have you ever been surprised or tongue-tied when a child asks you a really big question? Here are a few philosophical ponderings I've heard from students in my work as an elementary school teacher: …Continue reading.
The Importance of Collaboration
Collaboration on several levels is key to the success of the Vancouver District Enrichment Program for which I am the head teacher. Our Mini School comprises a maximum of 150 students from Grades 8 through 12. We have six teaching staff. We all teach in both the Mini School and the larger Main School that we are affiliated with. Our mandate is to provide an enriched education to bright and motivated high school students from across Vancouver. Our classes are gender balanced and reflect Vancouver's ethnic diversity. …Continue reading.
Together it can be done
Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to teach alongside many amazing educators and I have had the pleasure of working with, and learning from, exceptional and inspirational young people. Time and again they have proven to me that when people see beyond their limits and create opportunities to work together, a great deal gets done. …Continue reading.
- Damien Kee – Technology in Education
- FIRST Lego League
- FIRST Tech challenge
- Ground Breakers
- Lego Mindstorm Robotics
- Q is for Question
- Team 2056
- The Duke of Edinburgh's Award
- The Learning Coats Project
- The Teaching Coats Project
- VEX IQ
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