CAS K-12 STUDY CANADA Award
CAS is proud to support the STUDY CANADA Summer Institute for K-12 Educators offered by the WWU-UW National Resource Center on Canada.
CAS will award $300 to a Washington State teacher for participation in this premier teacher-training program held annually since 1978.
A letter from the Study Canada 2011 scholarship recipient:
Dear Jane Bloom, Robert Richardson, and the Canada-America Society,
I don’t know how to thank you fully for facilitating my participation in the Study Canada program. In the current political climate, which has not been favorable towards educators across the nation, merely receiving your scholarship boosted my morale. However, attending Study Canada definitely was a tonic for my self-esteem and enthusiasm as an educational professional, and every teacher that I spoke to at the end of the process felt the same way. In a nutshell, Study Canada was a well-planned, thoroughly delightful and intellectually stimulating program that whetted my appetite for more of the same. From the quality of accommodations and approachability (and indefatigability) of the group leaders to the caliber of the professors chosen to lecture us and the number and variety of educational opportunities and resources afforded us, the entire week exceeded my expectations. Even the composition of the participants, with educators from a range of disciplines and grade levels spanning the coasts was enlightening. This diversity was important because of the perspectives that were brought to bear, particularly at the end when we exchanged ideas about what captured our interest on the trip and how we will use these ideas in the classroom. It has been a few weeks since my return and I am still processing everything I encountered and wading through the wealth of materials I gathered.
Each summer for the past few years I have tried to visit a different area of Canada for my own scholarship and to provide my students with more information about each region. I can comment truthfully that on my own in Ottawa I would not have gained access to the facilities, the dignitaries, and the insights that I learned from Study Canada. Some of the themes highlighted by the group's organizers, such as nations within a nation, might not have occurred to me otherwise. Their connections allowed entrée to people and places unknown to me. I would have toured the Parliament building, for example, but not with a member of parliament! I may have photographed the American Embassy but I would not have attempted to go inside nor dreamed of an audience with Ambassador Jacobsen. I have visited Montreal and spoken with residents about the francophone culture, but my sophomoric conversations could not compare with the dueling perspectives of avowed Quebec sovereignist Bernard Landry and multicultural proponent Pierre Anctil (who takes Bernard Landry to task in the forward of his latest book on culture and the state). Meeting these two gentlemen at the University of Quebec in Montreal and witnessing their open rivalry was one of the highlights of the trip for me, followed closely by my conversation with novelist Charlotte Gray. I could never have imagined having an intimate discourse about writing with an author who has achieved the Royal Order of Canada!
Obviously, I came away from the experience feeling extremely valued for my role in the educational process and for my efforts in promoting favorable connections between the two countries. I am a secondary school humanities instructor and I focus on the history and culture of the border countries of Canada and Mexico. Almost everything I learned can be applied directly to my curriculum. I thought that the program provided a very comprehensive and logical progression of topics from physical geography to history, politics, cultural issues, and economics. My only criticism is a self-serving one—I wish that I could have stayed longer and had more time with each professor/lecturer. I have a genuine passion for Canadian studies and each presentation generated so many questions from me and ideas for further study in addition to validating what I teach.
This summer I plan on revamping many of my curriculum units, based on what I learned from the program. I believe that I have a deeper understanding of the Canadian political process now, and how it compares to the process in the United States and this new knowledge will change the way I teach this subject. Usually I tackle economics in my Latin American unit but now that I know that Canada is our number one trading partner I am expanding my lessons accordingly. I begin teaching immigration with a novel involving Mexican coyotes, or illegal human traffickers. Now I plan to tackle some of the Canadian border issues, too. In addition to a webquest about Ellis and Angel Islands, I am planning to introduce an interactive website I learned about from a Study Canada presenter that encompasses Grosse Isle, Pier 21 and Partridge Island in Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces. Comparing the differences between Canadian multiculturalism policies and the melting pot in the United States is also a consideration along with a comparison of US immigration policy to the Canadian point system. Additionally, I plan to capitalize on the upcoming anniversary of the War of 1812 and include a unit on this war—a topic I have never covered before. The Revolutionary War is taught at a different grade level in my district, so until this program I didn’t spend much time pondering the bifurcation of the British Empire in North America. The ramifications of an extended period of colonialism, and being a part of a commonwealth of nations instead of inheriting a significant national identity were really never comprehensible to me until I visited Ottawa and spoke to locals both in Ottawa and in Gatineau-Hull.
A few days after returning from Canada I began teaching summer school. Initially, I incorporated some of the light-hearted aspects of my trip into my lesson plans, such as teaching my students some French-Canadian dances and how to make maple sugar taffy. However, this past week I used information that I received from our Metis presenter in an art unit involving Haida artist Bill Reid. We are now comparing his work and the aboriginal worldview to that of Emily Carr, whose paintings I first learned about while visiting the National Gallery in Ottawa. As you can see, Study Canada has had an immediate impact upon my teaching!
Thank you again for the work that you do and for helping to fund my professional development. Please do feel free to call upon me if you need anyone to advocate for this program.
Monroe School District Humanities Instructor
Study Canada 2011 Scholarship Recipient