Rhonda Draper

Recipient of the 2007 Governor General's Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History

May 31, 2010
Rhonda Draper accepting her award at Rideau Hall, 2007.

Glenmore School, Kelowna (British Columbia)

Rhonda Draper believes that learning is accelerated through expressions of the “musical voice” in young people. In her unit plan Canada: On the Wings of Our Song she exemplifies this teaching philosophy through a focus on folk songs written from the perspectives of “workers, cowboys, campers, and political leaders.”

Students learn not only the subject matter in the songs but also about the purpose of music in the past, and the technology involved in producing it since music has not always been commercial in nature. The unit uses songs which represent our chronological history. Students also create their own songs and narratives to show what they have learned about history and music.

Rhonda's commitment to her work goes far beyond the classroom. She has organized and led events such as “folk song sing–a–longs” at Benvoulin Heritage Church of Kelowna, B.C. as well as performed these folk songs at many local festivals and events. She has also produced a CD and has begun to share this unit with other schools, performing and working with teachers.