Archived — John Robinson

Year: 2006 – Province: Manitoba

Certificate of Achievement Recipient

School: St. John's-Ravenscourt School
400 South Drive
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3T 3K5

Principal: David Howie
School Telephone: 204-477-2485
School Fax: 204-477-2429
School website:
Grades/Subjects Taught: Grade 8, S1-S4, Public Speaking and Debate, Economics

Teaching approach:

  • Promotes independent thought and critical reasoning.
  • Tailors his teaching style to each student.
  • Creates the potential for leadership and builds confidence in students.
  • Teaches the skills of collaboration and being a team player.
  • Uses examples of everyday life in lessons, as well as innovative teaching methods such as board games, to model production dynamics in economics.
  • Gets to know students on a personal level and dedicates time to helping students with both academic and personal issues.
  • Organizes and gives professional development courses for teachers in Manitoba schools and also trains new teachers to be speech and debate coaches.

Outstanding achievements:

  • Mr. Robinson has set up a website that his students may access for research, information on future debates, and links to other debate sites worldwide. Coaches across Canada and their students also use this site for information on how to host a tournament, scripts, resolution topics and dates for tournaments.
  • He has created a database for assessment of students and has spreadsheets to use for tabulation at tournaments that he shares with schools across the country. He has also created several spreadsheets to make the draw for a debate tournament for all combinations of teams entered and to overcome all contingencies, so the tournament director may change the draw instantly to save time and to relieve stress.
  • For his own students, he makes a film of each of their debates and gives a critique assessment. As well, he makes a CD of each debate and gives it to each student so that they may take it home to study the debate to see how to improve.
  • The tabulation programme he created to give accurate results quickly to coaches, students and parents has become the standard for national and international tournaments in debate. It is common for Mr. Robinson to be called to tournaments, such as the World Public Speaking Championships, a few days in advance to install and explain his tabulation programme and his methods of creating the draw and allotting judges in the room.
  • Mr. Robinson's classes host many debate and public speaking events each year. They judge younger students and give critiques, they organize and run the rooms as speakers and timers, and for senior debates, the students help find adult judges - for some tournaments, that can mean as many as 140 judges.
  • The students also help other schools to host tournaments by helping judge, time, critique and tabulate results. Mr. Robinson's classes have hosted the Pan-American Debate Championships, the Provincial qualifier for the Senior National Debate Championships, the Provincial qualifier for the Western Debate Championships, several junior tournaments, and the Can West Global National Public Speaking Championships, to be held in February 2007.
  • Mr. Robinson holds in-services for schools for their staff, acts as a resource for most schools in Manitoba, and holds training sessions for students in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba to produce more coaches and debate opportunities throughout the province. He has created a set of School Initiated Courses that has been accepted for credit by the Department of Education in Manitoba. Other Manitoba schools and a school in Nova Scotia have copied these course outlines for use in their classrooms.
  • Mr. Robinson is President of the Manitoba Speech and Debate Association, a Past President of the Canadian Speech and Debate Association, a board member of the World Individual Debate and Public Speaking Championships, and a board member of the Senior National Debate Championship. He founded the Can West National Public Speaking Championship, co-founded the World Individual Debate and Public Speaking Championships, and co-founded the Canadian Junior National Debate Championships. He convened the 1990 World High School Debate Championships, coached the Canadian Team at the World High School Debate Championships, and has been a judge at these championships.

Rave reviews:

"The ultimate culmination of my education from Mr. Robinson was my winning of the World Public Speaking Championship in England in my final year of high school. I must say that the large trophy should have had the words "John Robinson: #1 Coach" written on it, not my name. It was his dedication to education that empowered me to achieve that success." - Former student

"I cam to SJR already imbued with a love of learning, but it was Mr. Robinson who pushed me to expand my academic interests and broaden my horizons." - Former student

"I will be graduating high school this year, and there is no question in my mind about what aspect of my school life I will miss the most: my interactions with Mr. John Robinson, who has been a teacher, a mentor and a friend to me for six years. He is a remarkable teacher in both his skill and his compassion. But the even more extraordinary fact is that I am not alone in this evaluation. It seems that every student Mr. Robinson meets feels a personal connection with him, a sense that he truly cares about their well-being and growth." - Student

"I am sure Henry Adams had a teacher like John in mind when he wrote in his famous autobiography that 'a teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." - Director of Studies, St. John's-Ravenscourt School

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