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K-12 Educator Bring Canada to the Classroom

Maureen Stevens and Hope Bentley
Maureen Stevens (left), with STUDY CANADA Summer Institute colleague, Hope Bentley, from Grayson, GA.

August 31, 2012

Originally posted: August 2012

The young people I teach will be tomorrow’s leaders and therefore they need to realize the increasing importance of Canada and its role in a successful future for the United States. STUDY CANADA provided the knowledge and experiences needed to assist me in broadening the horizons of my students. I plan to incorporate the story of Canada in our study of the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War (focusing on the role Canada played in the Underground Railroad), and the study of Canada-U.S. relations throughout World Wars I and II.

I learned a great deal at the 34th Annual STUDY CANADA Summer Institute for Educators. It was a wonderfully exciting and activity-packed week. The trips to Montréal, to Parliament, to the Supreme Court, to the War Museum, Museum of Civilization, and the MOSAICA enabled me to experience Canada in a way no textbook would allow me to do. I will now be able to teach my students about Canada more effectively that prior to this experience were not possible.

I have not traveled extensively around the world. Unfortunately for my students, in the very rural high school where I teach, the majority of them have not traveled further than 150 miles from home. We are a rather poor rural, textile mill town. I teach U.S. History to eleventh graders. My classes range from 30 to 35 students. The STUDY CANADA Institute gave me the tools I need to best present this information to my students. The guest speakers discussed the geography of Canada, the peoples of Canada, the political and judicial systems, the bilingual impact, and the culture of Canada. Each of the presentations made an enormous impression on me.

Every minute was filled with exceptional speakers, engaging field trips, and immersion in the culture of Canada. The amount of knowledge I gained from this one week is overwhelming. I will encourage my colleagues to take part if at all possible in the future. I know that I have become a better teacher because of this experience and that my students will ultimately be the beneficiaries.

“STUDY CANADA,” the Pacific Northwest National Resource Center on Canada’s annual professional development workshop, has been offered by Western Washington University for the last thirty-four years and hosted in Canada since 2006. Don Alper serves as program director and Tina Storer as program coordinator. The Center for Canadian-American Studies at Western Washington University gratefully acknowledges program funding from the US Department of Education (Title VI) and the Government of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Additional program support is appreciated from the Université du Québec à Montréal and Herff-Jones Nystrom. In addition, support for teacher scholarships from the Canadian Studies Center in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington as well as Greg Boos and the Pacific Corridor Enterprise Council (PACE) is appreciated.