Cynthia Bettio

Recipient of the 2022 Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching

November 14, 2022

Our Lady Queen of the World Catholic Academy, Richmond Hill, Ontario

Among her peers, Cynthia Bettio is recognized for her pedagogical knowledge, leadership, and creativity, and for designing projects that have real-world applications and benefits. Bettio’s students undertook a year-long project to investigate Canadian history from 1914 to the present through the lens of traditionally underrepresented groups, including Indigenous people, racialized Canadians, and women. The course content was divided into six time periods and students investigated each time period from the perspective of a different minority group. For each time period, students designed their own open-ended inquiry question, practiced applying one of the six historical thinking concepts to their research, and completed a short video reflection to document their learning process.

Students also created a set of five playing cards per time period, modelled on the Snapshots in Time cards developed by Dr. Lindsay Gibson, Dr. Catherine Duquette, and The Critical Thinking Consortium. For each card, students had to choose an event or person to highlight, make a concise and compelling case for its historical significance, locate primary source images to represent the topic, and design a digital card. Students then worked with a community partner, STEM Minds Inc., to code and to design an online game using the 700 cards they created. Through this project, students combined rigorous historical work with innovative game design for a truly engaging and authentic learning experience.