Archived — Recipient Bios

Year: 1998 – Province: British Columbia

Certificate of Achievement Recipients

Susan Woelke

School: Stuate Lelum Secondary School, Chemainus Native College

Principal: Jack Smith
School website:
Grades/Subjects Taught: Secondary English, history, art, career and personal planning

Teaching approach:

  • Convince students who have not succeeded in the education system that they can learn.
  • Build trust and give love and encouragement to both willing and unwilling pupils.
  • Adapt teaching techniques to accommodate students' cultural beliefs and practice.

Outstanding achievements:

Developed a number of practical exercises to encourage reluctant First Nations' students to embrace learning:

  • Do-Use-Teach: cajoles, encourages and persuades insecure students to do a practice in class, use the skill in an assignment, and then teach it to someone else, until mastery and confidence are achieved
  • Catch the Chalk: makes students the teachers. They learn concepts by correcting deliberately faulty work, gain confidence in their knowledge by creating practice exercises and test questions, and improve self-esteem by teaching lesson to class.
  • Be In Control: enables students to keep up with work despite family and community cultural pressures by distributing printed and illustrated weekly lesson plans and assignment sheets, including evaluation procedures, which allow students to plan work and know what's expected.

Students who test significantly below grade level in literacy and numeracy when enrolling at the school are soon brought up to grade level under Mrs. Woelke's care. Graduates have gone on to become teachers through the Native Teachers Education Program. Others are enrolled at the University of British Columbia or community college, in business courses, or are employed in a variety of office jobs.

Rave reviews:

"I am constantly reminded of the impact of Susan's teaching by the numerous alumni who drop in, seek Susan out, embrace her warmly, and thank her for being part of their lives." Fellow teacher

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