Year: 2017 – Province: British Columbia
Certificate of Achievement Recipient
Rockridge Secondary School
5350 Headland Drive
West Vancouver, British Columbia V7W 3H2
Principal: Jeannette Laursoo
School telephone: 604-981-1300
School email: N/A
School website: www.westvancouverschools.ca
Subjects and grades taught: Secondary level Science, Biology, Physics, Leadership
Local park keepers, visits to the marine station and forest exploration: an empty classroom characterizes Thomas Harding’s approach as he uses all spaces as learning spaces, getting his students outside and connecting classroom content to the real world.
If one was to look-up ‘experiential learning’, Harding’s picture might just appear: continuously expanding his network, connecting his students with experts and getting them out exploring. Harding engages his students by connecting to their stories, and understands that inspiration comes from their passions.
- Harding developed a leadership course that pulls together a curriculum of skills that benefit not just the students, but the community at large.
- Harding’s leadership students applied for and received a $20,000 grand from Solar BC to supply and install solar panels on the school roof – teaching them team building, conflict resolution, communication, collaboration and self-awareness. Not afraid to let his students lead, Harding collaborates regularly with “tech savvy” students to incorporate research skills with ICT use in the school. This included securing an innovation grant alongside his colleague that had his students researching how their motivation was effected when they had choice in their direction of study, and when they were better equipped with research and reading strategies for the digital environment.
"I know of no other teacher who takes his gift of teaching as seriously as Tom. The way he plans and the way he executes belies a unique solemnity of purpose. Coupled with this is a spirit which soars high and free. This combination is what makes him an artist. It’s what invites students through the door of science and to love a teacher who knows exactly why he is there."
"Tom really challenged us to take charge of our own learning and to become independent thinkers. (…) He helped me trust in my own logic, reasoning and deductive abilities that are so critical to develop as a scientist. He inspired creativity in science, and encouraged independent thought and out-of-the-box solutions."
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