- May 9 - Cremona School teacher nominated for Edwin Parr Award
- May 8 - Board Meeting Highlights, May 8
- May 3 - Acclaimed speaker shares his message with students
- May 2 - Delburne student competes at Skills Canada
- Apr 18 - Construction project begins at schools in Innisfail
- Apr 9 - Three Excellence in Teaching semi-finalists
Carstairs teacher receives national award
Carstairs Elementary teacher receives
national award for Master’s Thesis research
Rozina Ahmad is on a special trip to Wilfred Laurier University in Ontario today, where she will be honoured by the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE) at their annual congress.
CSSE is Canada’s largest organization of professors, students, researchers and practitioners in education. Ahmad is not only receiving an Arts Graduate Research Award for her work, she will also be presenting her thesis findings as part of the conference. It has been a whirlwind of activity for the Grade 4 teacher at Carstairs Elementary School, who has just completed the Master of Education (Curriculum and Instruction) program at St. Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia.
“My research involved integrating the arts with core curriculum, which was a new concept for the students I was working with,” said Ahmad. “My thesis is based on the premise that, by incorporating art into each of the core subjects, it encourages expression and supports the entire creative process. I believe, and plenty of research has shown, that kids simply need to make art as part of a full learning process and they do it naturally. I don’t mean to simply mimic what they see in museums, which sets them up for immediate failure and disappointment when they can’t recreate it. Art gives them an opportunity to create, explore and discover - which are all the skills we’re looking for in 21stCentury learning. If you integrate that into core curriculum, students are immediately connected with the subject matter because they mold the information into something that becomes personally meaningful to them.”
Ahmad’s thesis is titled: Visual Journals, Creative Processes, and Cross-Curricular Connections: an artist-informed inquiry. At first her students were shocked when they had to do Social and Math in Art class, but they came to enjoy it.
“Kids secretly like to be challenged and they love discovering a new way of seeing the world,” said Ahmad. “I really believed art could be an important thread to help kids succeed in other courses, but knew I was pushing the boundaries in my research by using the art form itself as a method to present my findings. I believe the artwork contains all the information from my research and is just as valid as a researcher who takes notes. My intention was to present my thesis solely through a serious of artwork, but I found it also needed a written interpretation.”
In the end, her 200 page thesis is comprised equally of visual and written interpretation of her research findings. The model of using drawings and artwork to form a visual journal is what Ahmad now uses while teaching each of the core subjects. This method forms the base for her Arts Graduate Research Award. The award is for artistic merit and for offering important new perspectives or ways of thinking about arts research and teaching.
“I’m really proud to be receiving this, but I will just be flying down and returning on Monday. I love my class too much to go for too long,” said Ahmad.