Archived — 2013 Exemplary Practices

Exemplary Practices 2013
Welcome Image banner showcasing various students and excellence winners

2013 marked the 20th anniversary of the Prime Minister's Awards (PMA) for Teaching Excellence. Running in parallel, since 2002, the PMAs for Excellence in Early Childhood Education (ECE) have honoured remarkable educators from across Canada. This incredible journey has involved over 1,600 award recipients from all provinces and territories, five prime ministers, more than 1,200 schools and centres, thousands of students, and an unquantifiable amount of passion and dedication that has already been passed on to another generation. Highlights of this two decades-long celebration of excellence in education can be found in a short video.

The Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence honour outstanding and innovative elementary and secondary school teachers in all disciplines who instil 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 innovative practices of some of Canada's most inspirational educators.

Educators may receive one of two Prime Minister's Awards: the Certificate of Excellence (national) and the Certificate of Achievement (regional). Certificate of Excellence winners are brought to Ottawa to receive their award from the Prime Minister and to participate in a variety of activities, perhaps most importantly, to share their innovative ideas and best teaching practices.

This sharing takes place in a forum open to other educators called "Teacher Talk". Topics for discussion 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 took part in the same forum this year. Topics for 2013 were: Using Technology to Connect and Empower; Teaching to Inspire and Engage; Enabling Success in all Students; The Language of Learning; and, Teaching beyond the Classroom. 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.

As unique as each of the 2013 recipients are, what they all share in common is a tremendous passion for teaching and an incredible commitment to the students and children in their care. The final speaker of the day, teaching excellence recipient Gina Wong, summed up her fellow speaker's stories with the following found poem drawn from their presentations:

Everything worth doing is worth doing well.
Teachers are facilitators and co-learners.
Teaching is more than the outcomes.
If they don't learn the way you teach, teach the way they learn.
Give respect to get respect.
Inspire and explore to promote cognitive discussions.
Do not be afraid to try something new: take big bold risks in your own learning.
See the kids in front of you.
Kids have inspired me to connect more with others and to bring fun things to them.
"There but for the grace of God go I".
My learning is incorporated into my students' learning.
Educational empowerment by putting needs of students first.

Create a living classroom by creating a sense of belonging.
Every child has a soul - celebrate the moments that take your breath away.
A place to share language lives in a multicultural and multilingual society.
Find their voice through their lived experience.
They gave me the confidence.
Teach from the heart to touch the hearts of the students.
Learning goes beyond the classroom and creates memories.
Value the voice in the learning and the vehicles of learning.
Make a change in the community.
Find passion in their lives and joy in the journey.

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.

Articles Gabriel Roman Ayyavoo

Gabriel Roman Ayyavoo

Exploratory Learning in the 21st Century: Inspiring Cognitive Presence in Education
As a nature lover, I endured the territorial wing smack by Pteropodidae, the black flying fox (bat) in Malaysia and survived the defensive bite by giant venous scolopendra (centipedes) on an island in the South China Sea. In my Cuban dives, nematocyst stings by millepora complanata (fire corals) increased my painful appreciation for aquatic camouflage. …Continue reading.


Richard Baker

Richard Baker

Teachers, Things You Already Know
500 words to outline best teaching practices, is a tough task. After 35 years of teaching from grade three through to grade 11, there are a few things that come to mind. My reflections will not be new to you, but may help to validate what you already do in your classrooms. You are the expert. You know that even well thought-out plans may have to be scrapped to deal with what faces you at 1:57 p.m. in your classroom. …Continue reading.


Leigh Brown

Leigh Brown

Teaching in the Oral Tradition
What are we going to do for "I Love to Read" month? This simple question started our whole school on a journey of exploration that took five months, and ended with many of our students becoming published authors. As part of our school's cultural mandate, students and staff participate regularly in Aboriginal traditional ceremonies, including pipe ceremonies, sweat lodges, and sharing circles. …Continue reading.


Gérald Charron

Gérald Charron

My passion, the project method of teaching
What I especially like about being a teacher is that not only do I get to educate the adults of tomorrow, I learn right along with them. The project method of teaching satisfies my desire to acquire knowledge and skills with my students. Every challenge is an opportunity to better myself, and I love instilling this taste for adventure in my students. …Continue reading.


Aviva Dunsiger

Aviva Dunsiger

Education for All: Closing the Achievement Gap with the Use of Technology
How do you reach students that struggle? As a teacher, I'm committed to teaching all students how to learn, and that often includes students that have experienced academic difficulties in the past. The purposeful use of technology allows me to close the achievement gap and ensure academic success for every student. …Continue reading.


Angelina Fabien

Angelina Fabien

It's a matter of heart…
I am a Chipewyan Language Instructor at Deninu School, a small K to 12 school located in Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories. When I was first hired, none of my students spoke the Chipewyan language, the ancestral language of the community. Fort Resolution was home to one of Canada's first Residential Schools and through this experience, many of the parents and grandparents of my students had lost their language. …Continue reading.


Adrian French

Adrian French

Building Historical Empathy and Engagement in the Classroom
How could a high school student ever begin to empathize with a soldier in the trenches of the First World War? This question drove me to explore the potential of a cross-curricular approach for my high school students. A project-based approach to curriculum can build historical empathy and increases engagement in his classroom. …Continue reading.


Viviane Gaudreault

Viviane Gaudreault

Infusing Authentic Self-Acceptance - and a Risk Taking I Can Do Creative Cooperative Spirit in the Young Developing Student - Are We Up to the Task?
The teaching pedagogy topic that I have selected addresses childhood emotional development and the need for preparing the young student to effectively operate in an unfamiliar competitive environment with others, and in a manner that enables each student, with a fully acknowledged entitlement, to explore themselves, their particular abilities, and learning opportunities in their rapidly changing and stressful world. …Continue reading.


James Brian Jackson

James Brian Jackson

Get Them Out of Their Seats
The things that we want our students to remember from their years in school aren't always the lessons that we share with them with the teacher at the front and the kids taking notes and answering questions. While the writing and the reflection is important, the things they really hang onto are the times they have been engaged away from their desk. …Continue reading.


Vernon Kee

Vernon Kee

How to Do More without Burning Out
They say teachers are most likely to quit from burnout in the first five years of their career. Usually these teachers are the ones who take on too much, either from the great needs they see in their community or in their own drive to do their best. As one who constantly pushes the boundary for burnout, I can definitely say that the following three things have helped me survive my first five years of teaching: …Continue reading.


Janey (Min-Wah) Lee

Janey (Min-Wah) Lee

Engaging Hard to Reach Inner City Learners
Fifteen years ago I started teaching at Thunderbird Elementary School, a needy inner city school on Vancouver's east side, and directly across the street from the largest social housing project in British Columbia. Students come from immigrant families, are refugees, or come from single parent households. Many are on social assistance and living in poverty. …Continue reading.


Margaret Murphy

Margaret Murphy

Inspiring Students to Achieve Their Full Potential
My goal as a teacher was to inspire youth to achieve their greatest potential within a community of dedicated mentors who could guide their way. I taught in an unusual classroom—a teaching cafeteria—in 1989 there were 12 special needs students and a kitchen staff preparing lunch for 80 people. …Continue reading.


Maria Nickel

Maria Nickel

Space Jam - Dare to Think Mighty Dreams
How does a teacher inspire a generation of science enthusiasts through real-life, hands-on space science? My answer is a space jam of unique, learning, exploration and being a real scientist in real time. My focus will be on the programs I run at school: the Space Knights Space Club and the Student Spaceflight Experiment Program. …Continue reading.


Kristen Sawyers

Kristen Sawyers

Learning Through Hands-on Experiences for Students and the Teacher
Teaching in Nunavut has afforded me many unique opportunities and experiences as an educator. Incorporating Inuit traditions, and culture through the Inuuqatigiit curriculum, have shown me the value of teaching beyond the classroom walls. My professional practice has evolved to incorporate land-based learning, project-based learning, and volunteer travel. …Continue reading.


Gregory Smith

Gregory Smith

Cross-cultural Connections in the Digital Age
Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, and blogging are all are ways in which our students use the Internet everyday to make connections within their own circle of family and friends. But how much are they used to make connections with the world outside? We assume that this technology has led to a more global village where our children are more aware of world events and more accepting and understanding of various cultures. Is this really what is happening? …Continue reading.


Gina Wong

Gina Wong

Building Foundations: Global Citizenship begins in Kindergarten
All students can be successful in their learning. Young children can be active citizens who can contribute to their community and beyond. Young children are encouraged to take ownership of their learning and to share their knowledge with the whole class through class presentations, in small groups as emerging readers, and with individuals through peer feedback in writing. …Continue reading.

Resources

Online tools/communities

Organizations

Software and Applications

  • AudioBoo
  • Dragon Dictation
  • Facetime
  • KidPix
  • Pixie 3
  • PixnTell
  • Toontastic
  • Word Q

Blogs

Partners

RBC Foundation
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

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