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Two BCTF members win Governor General’s History Award

Two BCTF members are off to Ottawa this week as recipients of the Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching. Congratulations to Glen Thielmann from Prince George and Janet Ruest from Chemainus!

The Governor General of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, will present our colleagues with this award in Rideau Hall on November 22, as part of the official Governor General’s History Awards ceremony.

Janet Ruest Governor General of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette

From the Governor General’s History Awards website: “Using the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation as a backdrop, Janet Ruest encouraged her students to go beyond the textbook to research diverse and lesser-known stories that were meaningful to them. To begin their Canada 150 — My Story project, students used the Historical Thinking Concepts to develop inquiry questions. After consulting primary and secondary sources, students conducted one interview with someone connected to their topic. The project culminated with a public exhibition, where students shared their research in a format of their choice, from scrapbooks to digital presentations. Canada 150 — My Story allowed students to synthesize their knowledge in a challenging, creative, and rewarding project, while also contributing their own stories to the broader narrative of Canada’s history. During her career Ms. Ruest has shown dedication to her profession and an ongoing desire to improve — the end result has been increased student engagement and success for her learners.”

Glen Thielmann Governor General of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette

From the Governor General’s History Awards website: “The Skookum Stories project is about telling a strong story that draws on a student’s history and culture. Skookum means “strong” or “big” — it comes from the Chinook Jargon, a 19th-century trade language on the West Coast. Students begin their research project by engaging with concepts of family, community, culture, and identity. Using heirlooms, documents, photos, journals, and even recipe boxes as prompts, students are encouraged to find one aspect of their history to investigate further, and to which they can apply concepts of historical thinking. There is a deep intergenerational component, as students work with family or community elders to exchange knowledge and research. Finally, the students share their story collection with their peers and celebrate their success with a class feast. One student described the project as a selfie with all his relatives lined up behind him. Through the Skookum Stories project, Mr. Thielmann has helped his students foster intergenerational relationships and uncover diverse, meaningful histories.”

Both teachers have already been featured in their local community news. Glen Thielmann in the Prince George Gazette and Janet Ruest in the Chemainus Valley Courier.



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