The Booker School is proud to announce that Ms Temma Frecker, Grade 4-5 homeroom teacher, has been awarded the Governor General’s Excellence in Teaching History Award for 2018.
Temma wears many hats at the school; she is also a Curriculum Coordinator, as well as the whole school French teacher. She has been involved with The Booker School since it first opened in 2012, and has taught a range of subjects over the years. She has been instrumental in facilitating many student-led initiatives and learning experiences, but it was her class’s exploration into the removal of Halifax’s contentious Cornwallis statue that led to the Governor General’s selection committee approaching her.
The school’s educational programme is inspired by the International Baccalaureate and the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development. It encourages learners to actively seek out solutions to real-world problems, and Temma saw Cornwallis as the ideal opportunity for her Grade 6-8 students to take a deep knowledge dive into the current affairs affecting the province of Nova Scotia.
They were tasked with creating a Proposal by following the Inquiry Cycle. This follows 5 learning steps: (1) Tuning In to the issue and deciphering what was already known; (2) Finding Out more by researching the topic and the controversy surrounding it; (3) Sorting Out knowledge through the discussion and development of initial ideas; (4) Making Conclusions by drafting personal papers on the proposed ideas; (5) Taking Action through debating the issue, conducting a mock committee meeting where proposals would be discussed and revised, and finally working together to compose an official Proposal to send to the Special Advisory Committee on the Commemoration of Sir Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous History.
What followed their Proposal surprised the students. Temma reflected on the experience by saying, “We sent the letter to the Committee and several news outlets before the Christmas break and thought that might be the end of it. The Unit ended in December 2017, but the experience continued. Our first weeks of January 2018 were taken up with interviews (newspaper, magazine, radio, TV) and responding to feedback (media, email, social media, and even community members stopping by the school). We were invited to do an interactive presentation to a Grade 11 Mi’kmaq Studies class. Brad Hall and Elizabeth Sircom, sculptors who have done historical and commemorative work, came to our class to share their points of view on the proposal. The most meaningful outcome of this project so far was our meeting with Deputy Mayor of Halifax Waye Mason (Councillor for District 7, where the statue was), who came all the way from Halifax to spend the afternoon discussing the students’ ideas and giving us context of the debate in City Council. The students were surprised and empowered to see that they are actually a part of this conversation and that many people were listening to their ideas.”
Temma is an innovative teacher; she has a big heart, and she holds her students to high expectations. From everyone at The Booker School, we are so proud of you. Big congratulations for receiving the well-deserved recognition for being such an awesome educator!