Janet Thompson

Recipient of the 2012 Governor General's History Award for Excellence in Teaching

December 10, 2012
Canada's History speaks to Janet Thompson about the strategies she uses when teaching Canadian history in her classroom.

Gladstone Secondary School, Vancouver (British Columbia)

For Janet Thompson, the best way to engage students is to give them opportunities to be actively involved in their learning by thinking like historians. It’s this passion for teaching historical thinking that drives her in the classroom.

Students in her class know that they are expected to “do history.” They learn that the study of history is more than just a list of “facts to be forgotten” — it’s a discipline that involves rigorous methodology.

She has created an extensive body of work — in particular for her Grade 10 course — that is designed around the concept of continuity and change. Students complete a number of units that include everything from creating a comprehensive picture of early pioneer life in Upper Canada and analyzing primary documents regarding the journey from Europe to Canada, to recreating Confederation and building a historical walking tour of her school's community.