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- Ronald Blair Video Profile
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Year: 2009 – Province: Newfoundland and Labrador
Certificate of Excellence Recipient
Eric G. Lambert School
PO Box 40, 1 Lobstick Avenue
Churchill Falls NL A0R 1A0
Subjects and Grades Taught: History, physical education and French in grades 7 to 12
Ronald Blair has taught in schools with no facilities and currently teaches at one that, although in a remote community, has access to all the facilities the town has to offer. As a "jack of all trades," he has taught a wide variety of subjects and worked with students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 in 24 years on the job. No matter what he is asked to do, he throws himself into it with energy and enthusiasm and, more importantly, with all the intelligent creativity he can muster.
Mr. Blair believes that adaptability, creativity and innovation are keys to teaching. Since there is so much competition for students' attention, he says, teachers must constantly adjust their approach in order to provide a quality teaching experience. In addition, he believes that teachers must interact respectfully with students to empower them to be confident, independent and creative, and comfortable showing their talents and expressing themselves.
- Recognizing the potential for information and communications technology to end the academic isolation of students in far-off communities such as Churchill Falls, Mr. Blair quickly brought technology into the classroom, giving students access to libraries and information from all over the world. He also uses technology to enhance his teaching and improve student performance and opportunities, such as participating in an online geography challenge.
- Mr. Blair regularly integrates social studies with other subjects and school activities. He has worked with English teachers to improve students' writing skills in assignments for history class. He has also led multi-disciplinary and multi-grade projects with drama and English students.
- In a previous teaching job, Mr. Blair was faced with the challenge of teaching physical education without a gymnasium or multi-purpose room. He improvised and taught a program that included activities such as balloon volleyball and hand hockey in the classroom, snow golf and snow football on the frozen harbour, and Inuit games. In recognition of his efforts, his school was awarded the Quality Daily Physical Education Award from the Canadian Association of Health, Physical Education and Recreation an incredible nine years in a row. His students have also made provincial and Canada Games teams and won provincial championships in three sports.
"As captain of an aircraft, I must be able to communicate effectively to the entire crew, be flexible, be able to adapt to changing conditions, show good leadership. These qualities and abilities I can accredit to learning not only from my parents but, just as important, from my high school gym teacher, Mr. Blair." Former student
"As I waited to present my business plan outline to the judges [of the Provincial Enterprise Olympics], Mr. Blair] sat patiently and joked with me, a simple act that was invaluable in relieving my stress and boosting my confidence. More importantly, it emphasized his true belief in my abilities." Former student