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Benjamin Alvin Paul: literacy and fishing for all

Year: 2019 – Province: Manitoba

Certificate of Excellence Recipient

Benjamin Alvin Paul

English, grades 10–12
Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute, Winnipeg, Manitoba

"Mr. Paul's 'north star' is his students. He continually hones his practice to support student success and skills development. … His advocacy for his students, his work in literacy, innovation and education for sustainable development go beyond the expectations of a classroom teacher."
— Colleague

A lover of the outdoors, Benjamin Paul teaches in an urban school with an increasingly diverse student population, he goes out of his way to foster inclusivity and to get students outside, with a fishing rod in their hand.

Teaching approach

Ben is never satisfied with students achieving what they always have. Blending low- and high-tech approaches, he challenges them to strive to do their best and reach the next level of performance.

In the classroom

  • Established extensive classroom library featuring novels from authors of diverse backgrounds; students can scan QR codes on the covers to watch video book reviews by their peers; for the reviewers, the videos are an engaging way for them to demonstrate learning.
  • Targets advanced writing skills for university-bound students: writing-intensive university prep course teaches soon-to-be graduates how to adapt their writing to the rigours of post-secondary life, including drafting and formatting academic papers.
  • Adapted the classroom to promote collaboration: desk-size and large, rolling whiteboards facilitate brainstorming and sharing ideas, conference pods with wall-mounted screens that mirror computer displays offer a comfortable, more intimate milieu for peer teaching and presentations.

Outstanding achievements

  • Revamped school's literacy resources: sourced titles and resources catering to students' backgrounds and interests for all English and English as an Additional Language classes; created kits to facilitate students' access to Indigenous perspectives in novels, plays and other texts.
  • Created one of province's largest sustainable development education programs: more than 200 students go fishing each week, while learning about species and fisheries management; collaboration with Ducks Unlimited brings chances to help with conservation work.
  • Has brought over $100,000 in grants and donations to the school: fishing equipment, clothing and tools to make the fishing program accessible to students who couldn't otherwise afford to participate; class sets of popular books; flat screen televisions on mobile arms and laptops for his classroom.
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