Saturday, 26 February 2011

Thoughts from Teachers' Convention

I didn't get a chance to blog on Friday as is my usual because I was at Teachers' Conventions on Thursday and Friday. I spent Friday at the University of Lethbridge with a booth at the Southwestern Alberta Teachers' Convention promoting the Galt programs. That afternoon the local ATA Social Studies Council and the Galt hosted a social at the Galt as a way of introducing teachers to the resources of the museum and to provide an opportunity for teachers to network and visit with colleagues.

On Friday I was in Calgary at the Palliser District Teachers' Convention presenting on teaching critical and historical thinking skills to students.

One thing I enjoy about Teachers' Convention is having a chance to talk to teachers about their concerns and issues -- what topics are they looking for resources to help teach? What areas of study are they finding difficulties in getting their kids to understand? If they had all the times and resources, what sorts of programs would they like to see?

This gives me the opportunity to keep up with what is happing in the education field and, most importantly, gives me a chance to start brainstorming new programs or new resources the Galt can provide to assist teachers and students as much as possible.

One topic came up from teachers at both conventions (and an education professor a few weeks before convention) so I know there's a real need for this -- understanding immigration in Canada today and how Canada is changing as part of the grade 9 curriculum. We have immigration programs for grade 5 and 7 classes but they focus entirely on historical immigration -- studying which groups came when and their stories. But there is a real need for expanding this for a grade 9 class -- grounding students in the historical but focusing also on modern realities and modern challenges. And I have plans to work with a few local teachers to see what sort of program we can develop to bring this history into the now.

This is why I love teachers' convention -- it is an amazing place to observe problems, recognize the opportunities and generate new programs and resources that meet a very real need. My brain is buzzing with ideas and I can't wait to email and meet with these teachers in the weeks coming up to get to work on a new program.

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