Saskatoon educator one of 50 finalists for international teaching award
- Fraser Needham | January 16, 2016
A Saskatoon educator has been nominated for a prestigious international teaching award.
Belinda Daniels, who teaches at Mount Royal Collegiate in Saskatoon, is one of 50 finalists for the 2016 United Kingdom-based Global Teacher Award.
She is the only Canadian nominated for the award that comes with a $1 million prize.
Daniels teaches Cree, Native Studies and History at Mount Royal.
She also helped develop the Core Cree high school curriculum for the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education and has run the Nehiyawak summer language workshop for the past 11 years.
Daniels says she sees the nomination for the award as an opportunity to bring greater awareness to such issues as historical colonialism and racism against Aboriginal people.
“It’s an opportunity to bring Indigenous issues to the forefront which I have been doing with every interview that I have done,” she says.
The Mount Royal teacher says she is also a strong proponent of land-based education or in other words teaching about the environment and sustainability.
As part of this she helped create a 6,000 square-foot garden at Mount Royal where students help grow and harvest various vegetables such as potatoes, corn, squash, tomatoes, turnips and zucchini.
“I don’t think our students know how to see forward thinking. So I am always trying to find ways of how can you show this and planting, doing gardening, really shows this idea of how things progress forward. As part of this I teach them about GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and food sovereignty because I want them to see that food has to be treated responsibly and is not a commodity.”
And if she were to win the Global Teacher Award, Daniels says she would definitely invest the winnings further along these educational lines.
“I’d like to go bigger. I’d also like to do something in regards to trees, something in regards to horticulture and I am also very interested in looking into how do we clean up our lakes and rivers.”
The Global Teacher Prize was created in 2014 as a means of raising the profile of the teaching profession.
It was established by the London, England-based Varkey Foundation, which is non-profit organization.
Nominations are open to anyone who teaches elementary or secondary students.
The nominees will be pared down to 10 in February before a winner is selected sometime in March.
Daniels is currently on educational leave as she pursues a doctorate in language recovery at the University of Saskatchewan.
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