Inspiring teacher and trailblazing pedagogical leader Beth Alexander wins Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence
For Immediate Release: May 3, 2017
Contact: Farida Sheralam, Director, Marketing & Communications,
Available for interviews:
Beth Alexander, Award Recipient and Linden Curriculum Leader/Teacher,
Janice Gladstone, Principal,
Toronto, Ontario: Beth Alexander, The Linden School’s Curriculum Leader and STEM teacher, has been awarded the prestigious Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence. The award honours Ms. Alexander for her remarkable achievements in education and commitment to preparing students for a digital and innovation-based economy.
“In my experience within both public and private schools in Toronto, Beth stands out amongst a very rare group of teachers who magically infuses the love of learning in her students,” says Principal Janice Gladstone.
From a life-size model that allows students to climb inside a computer, to a lab exploring the chemistry of candy, Ms. Alexander is the creative genius behind many innovative projects that transform The Linden School into a magical place where students can truly enjoy exploring STEM and ICT. Knowing that all students learn differently, Ms. Alexander excels in adapting lessons accordingly, sometimes using a flipped classroom model to pre-teach material, and always utilizing class time to encourage students to take charge of their own learning by asking questions, seeking answers, setting goals, and performing self-assessments.
“Beth is, by far, one of the most outstanding, creative, passionate, innovative and engaged teachers that I have ever known,” says Dr. Lisa Barnoff, Linden parent and member of the Board of Trustees, who is also Dean, Faculty of Community Services at Ryerson University. “Beth’s pedagogical approach encourages students to develop their own capacity for leadership and helps them see how their academic skills can make the world a better place. For example, when my daughter was in Grade 6, Beth designed a math project that involved using numeration, measurement, and area skills to design a women’s shelter.”
Trailblazing pedagogical leadership
Ms. Alexander’s leadership in pedagogy has been equally inspiring for her colleagues. When she saw that the Ontario Ministry of Education doesn’t offer a K–8 computer studies curriculum, Ms. Alexander researched and wrote a brand new curriculum for Linden teachers, focusing on digital literacy, online citizenship, and coding skills, with the goal of showing students how they can be creators of technology and not just its consumers. Her innovative ability to fuse together social justice topics and pedagogical material to promote intersectional thinking is a rare skill, one that we were fortunate to see in action this April when Ms. Alexander fearlessly co-conceived and designed a brand new educators’ conference on Teaching for Justice. Not surprisingly, the sold-out event elicited rave reviews and, luckily for Toronto educators, Ms. Alexander now plans to offer this as an annual event. We can’t wait to see what she has in store for them this coming year!
About The Linden School
The Linden School is a socially progressive community where innovative best practices in girls’ education promote and strengthen student voice, well-being, academic excellence, and global engagement. Learn more at: www.lindenschool.ca.
About The Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence
Since 1993, the Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence have recognized outstanding elementary and secondary school teachers in all disciplines who, through the innovative use of information and communications technologies, help Canadian students to meet the challenges of a 21st-century society and economy.
About Beth Alexander (High-resolution Photos available for media)
- A believer in the Citizen Science movement, where not just professional scientists can further global knowledge, Ms. Alexander inspires her students to look for solutions to real world problems and supports them in speaking confidently to those in power. Last year, Ms. Alexander’s class engaged in a real-world traffic study on a street adjacent to their school where they felt a crosswalk was needed. The research done by Grade 6 girls was impressive; it caught the attention of the local city councillor Josh Matlow, the Toronto Star, and Global News, who visited The Linden School to hear students present their work.
- Ms. Alexander has served as a speaker at more than 20 conferences in Canada and the United States on a range of topics, from the science of the Underground Railroad to teaching teachers to incorporate Python coding into math classes. She was also part of a Participatory Action Research Group at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, exploring how to ensure math classes are equitable for students from diverse backgrounds.
- Ms. Alexander has published articles in the Science Teachers of Ontario monthly magazine Elements, and has been published in books such as Rethinking Mathematics and Rethinking Elementary Education, the latter of which won the BPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Award in Education in 2013.
- Ms. Alexander organizes an annual Social Justice Data Fair where students use math skills to make the world a better place — such as learning about forces and mechanical advantage while designing land-mine detectors. These fairs have inspired schools in New York and Chicago to follow suit.
- Ms. Alexander coordinates an annual Math Mavens and Science Sisters event that has girls and their mothers exploring problems together while building confidence in their math skills.
- Ms. Alexander has researched and written a comprehensive K–8 curriculum that focuses on age-appropriate coding skills for every grade.
- Ontario Institute for Studies in Education / University of Toronto
Bachelor of Education, Junior/Intermediate Science
- University of Toronto
Master of Arts, The Graduate Centre for Study of Drama
- McGill University
First Class Honours Bachelor of Arts, English
From STEM to STEAM: Science and Art Go Hand-in-Hand, October 19, 2015