Michael Berry

Recipient of the 2014 Governor General's History Award for Excellence in Teaching

November 3, 2014
Canada's History speaks to Michael Berry whose students get the chance to “meet” seven Prime Ministers in their time machine.

Dr. E.P. Scarlett High School, Calgary, (Alberta)

To what extent should government intervene in the economy of today? That is the central question at the heart of the Historical Federal Leader’s Debate created by Michael Berry. Going back to Prime Minister R. B. Bennett’s government in 1930, students at Dr. E. P. Scarlett High School “meet” seven Prime Ministers in their time machine and research their economic policies. Armed with their new knowledge, the students take on the role of a Canadian Prime Ministers and build the case for their chosen leader. The project culminates in spirited debate between contrasting economic theories of the last 150 years and how they have been applied to Canada. Students learn to appreciate how much their own lives are shaped by economic policies that have long histories in Canada. They develop research skills, construct arguments for respectful and heated debates, and learn to work with others. It is this focus on skills and connection to the present that make even the most uninterested student, ‘see the point’, in examining our past.