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Greg Speiser: building solid foundation for thinking and learning

Year: 2019 – Province: Manitoba

Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Greg Speiser

Math and physics, grades 10 to 12
Nelson McIntyre Collegiate, Winnipeg, Manitoba

"The neat thing about Mr. Speiser's class is that the conversations would continue in the hallway. … Mr. Speiser has the unique ability to awaken the curiosity within even his most sceptical students without them even knowing."  — Student

A big-picture thinker, Gregory Speiser constantly reaches out for new and different ways of teaching and learning in all subject areas, and is playing a key role in his school's pedagogical transformation.

Teaching approach

To Greg, the memorization of formulas is a distant second to having students learn fundamentals and develop a solid conceptual foundation to think from. He then guides and empowers his students to run seminars to help them reinforce their learning through presentation and dialogue.

In the classroom

  • Employs "modelling instruction" to help clarify physics concepts: rather than following the traditional lecture-then-practise approach, students do guided inquiries; extends this technique to include computer 3D modelling so students can answer questions beyond their math skills.
  • Uses "whiteboarding" problem-solving approach: students work in groups on questions, growing to trust their peers, take risks and appreciate the value of learning through error and reflection.
  • Augmented his flipped classroom to give students more time and opportunities to practise, so they can understand concepts better; students must demonstrate mastery prior to moving on; this breeds success and confidence, and helps students set learning goals rather than meet deadlines.
  • Connects science learning to the global community: for example, students work with an international student-led research program, tracking and photographing polar bears; students also support watershed research by doing water testing in nearby rivers.

Outstanding achievements

  • Developed two components of school's Weeks Without Walls program, in which students can explore areas of interest for a week when classes are suspended: his coding and robotics, and wilderness programs have created avid coders and nature-lovers among the students.
  • Selected to be board EdTech Mentor, based on his exceptional use of technology and innovative pedagogy in his teaching, including creating a class that combines 3D modelling and physics, screencasting his lessons, and offering self-paced and personalized learning opportunities.
  • Has become the science expert on the school's Grade 9 interdisciplinary team, even though he doesn't teach in that grade; his colleagues value his measured and useful input, which is based on his multi-faceted approach to teaching.

Get in touch!

Nelson McIntyre Collegiate
188 St. Mary's Road
Winnipeg MB R2H 1H9
Twitter: @gregspeiser, @nmcLRSD

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