Daniel Conner

Recipient of the 2010 Governor General's Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History

August 16, 2010
Canada's History speaks to Daniel Conner about the strategies he uses to engage his students in Canadian history.

Rockridge Secondary School, West Vancouver (British Columbia)

Students in Mr. Conner’s classes take on subjects that are very much at the heart of Canada’s identity and ones that remain as controversial as ever. Examining such issues as fair trade in the fur trade, French and English responses to the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, and immigrant adjustments to Canadian society, students weigh evidence, make connections, share interpretations, explore values, form opinions and consider alternatives. At the same time, they are challenged to develop an insider’s perspective. In their problem-solving and decisionmaking, Mr. Conner’s students integrate what they know with how they feel. In this way, they become historians. They gather their information, review the evidence and then use their imagination, intellect and feelings to re-create Canada’s past for themselves. Students, parents and Mr. Conner’s colleagues have commended his ability to motivate, challenge and inspire his students to value their involvement with Canada’s past and to identify its connections to the present. The true measure of his achievement is the depth of understanding they demonstrate as they respond to the vital and continuing concerns of Canadian history.