ARCHIVED—Exemplary Practices 2008
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Each of the PMA Excellence winners completed a comprehensive questionnaire providing answers to questions that explored their personal and professional qualities, attitudes and experiences. During their visit to Ottawa they shared experiences and passed on their insights and hard-earned knowledge during the two-day workshop. The following are excerpts taken from the questionnaires.
The answers are direct quotes:
Describe Yourself in a Single Sentence
"I download my enthusiasm for math and science into the hearts and minds of young people." — Angela Magon
"Those who say, it cannot be done are interrupting those of us doing it." — Melanie Gertley
"I am a life-long learner with an insatiable curiosity and a deep love of nature, eager to share the joy and wonder of the world, but with a critical scientific mind that demands a search for truth." — David Moffat
How Do You Instill a Love of Learning in Your Students?
"I seek to help them discover their passion by allowing opportunities for success and involving them in meaningful projects. A mastery level approach to learning allows kids to not see assessment as a negative thing but as an insight into their own learning." — Murray Bulger
"Try to draw out student potential by challenging, inspiring and encouraging students, emphasizing respectful listening with effective communication skills." — John Harris
"I model risk-taking and the adventure of challenge. It is contagious." — Ian Fogarty
"By loving to learn myself. The best way to teach that I have discovered is by modeling behaviour." — Terence Young
What Should Teachers know about ECE?
During the two-day workshop in Ottawa, the 2008 PMA Teaching Excellence winners and the ECE winners were brought together to share and discuss common values and ideas and to acknowledge the importance of the role they each fulfill. Given that education is a continuum, it is important to share information from each end of the educational spectrum. In the companion booklet that describes the exemplary practices of recipients of the PMA Awards for Excellence in Early Childhood Education, educators similarly communicate the importance of teaching from their own perspective. When asked to comment, ECE said of their teacher counterparts:
"I have found that as diverse as people are, so are teacher's perspectives of the ECE field. My desire is that we unite as one educational system, that we all value the role we play as educators of children." — Brenda Rempel, 2008 PMA for Excellence in Early Childhood Education Recipient
"We are not a daycare — we provide the foundation for all future academic success and set the tone for attitudes concerning school and learning. We empower the youngest students to do their best and take pride in their accomplishments." — Terri Calder, 2008 PMA for Excellence in Early Childhood Education Recipient
Top Ten Helpful Tips From PMA Winners
- Love your subject.
- Remain a student yourself.
- Have a life outside teaching.
- Establish reasonable goals.
- Share everything.
- Cultivate innovation.
- Delegate when you can, but don't be afraid to take control.
- Leave psychotherapy to the professionals.
- Admit when you're wrong
- Remain humble. — Terence Young
Tools and Resources as Suggested by 2008 PMA Winners
- Definitely read academic journals for teaching. There are some great ideas.
- Do your Master's degree. It gave me wonderful insight into my teaching practices and led me to be a lot more reflective.
- www.nicenet.org or moodle are great interactive classroom discussion sites. — Devon Ross
Mentoring Others — How would the Teacher winners guide new teachers? What advice would they give?
"I would model hands-on lessons where students had plenty of opportunities to work with one another and discover answers and new information independently. I would show them how to incorporate technology, not teach how to use the technology." — Milissa Gavel
"The dizzying array of new technologies will try to trick us into thinking that they are the panacea that will solve every educational challenge. Don't believe it; I've been alive long enough to hear that kind of euphoric praise given out for the potential of television for education. The fact is that technology is very powerful only if it is enmeshed in effective instructional design; therefore, the decisions you make as a teacher are crucial!" — John Harris
"If I were to mentor a new educator, I would tell them that every child in a classroom is different and that it is important to be aware of the needs of the children in your care. I would stress the importance of mutual respect in a structured well-disciplined learning environment. I would show them how to develop exciting and innovative lesson plans based on current curriculum outcomes as prescribed by my district." — Shannon McCarthy
"Not to try and teach like me. You need to develop your own style. Good teachers beg, borrow, and steal strategies from more experienced educators. Good educators are continuously checking to see if they are in a rut or if they have discovered an effective pattern of pedagogy." — Ian Fogarty
- Don't reinvent the wheel. There are so many resources out there to use.
- When you find an online resource that you plan on revisiting, don't just bookmark it. Print off the first page of the site and insert it into your binder where you would use it. Otherwise you'll forget it's there.
- Don't be afraid to solicit advice from your colleagues — they are a wealth of information.
- Beware of negativity and attitudes of that won't work.
- Sit in on as many colleague classes as you can. Bring your marking if you need to.
- Don't be afraid to try new things and change things that aren't working for you. — Angela Magon
Choosing One Special Area of Interest and How It Is Approached
Self-Directed and Collaborative Learning: "Self-directed learning is accomplished in the learning of software tools by using teacher-developed video lessons that students can watch at their own pace. As well, the student can review the material again and again as needed. Most of the students move through the material at a much greater pace and with a better understanding than those who learn by just reading. Students who need extra help can get much more one-on-one help with the teacher." — Murray Bulger
Critical Thinking and Inquiry: "I provide puzzles for my students to solve and provide minimal specific instructions as to how to solve it. I then provide a variety of technologies for students to collect, analyze and present their results. I invoke my network to provide additional support. This all contributes to a culture of learning, purposeful use of ICT, student engagement and student inquiry." — Ian Fogarty
Student Engagement: "To me, it all starts with student engagement. As much as possible, I try to ask students to make personal/emotional connections between their lives and the topic being learned. If it happens, I think that students construct and connect the material topics relatively intrinsically." — Melanie Gertley