Education doctoral student and professor claim ATA science teaching awards

Faculty of Education members swept the awards at this year’s Alberta Teachers’ Association Science Council. Secondary Education doctoral student Ian Doktor took home the Outstanding Science Teacher Award and Elementary Education department chair Jerine Pegg won the Distinguished Service Award. It just so happens that Pegg is Doktor’s graduate supervisor, and she was nominated by him.

“I've known Jerine for many years,” says Doktor.

“I first met her in my role as a high school teacher when she was providing professional development for teachers. During that time I realized she provided excellent workshops with very useful information and resources. A couple years later, in my role as the president of the ATA Science Council I became more aware of the work that she did supporting science teachers; she was happy to present her research and support teachers at various ATA conferences throughout the year.”

The feelings of respect between student and supervisor are mutual, with Pegg championing Doktor’s successes as an educator, some of which have received local news coverage.

“Ian is an enthusiastic and innovative teacher who is continually seeking new ways to engage his students in authentic science learning,” Pegg says.

“In addition to his regular classes he also runs an after-school science and engineering club where students conduct scientific research and engineering design projects of their own choosing. Last year his students' research resulted in a peer-reviewed scientific paper published in the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.”

Sharing the science education spotlight

Even though they both agree that the other deserves their respective award, sharing the stage together was a surprise, but a welcome one.

“When I found out that both Ian and I would receive the awards I thought ‘Oh no, people are going to think it’s rigged!’” jokes Pegg.

The two awards recognize contributions to science teaching and education excellence in Alberta, and for Pegg it’s particularly meaningful since Albertan teachers involved in the Science Council administer the awards.

“It’s even more meaningful to me that teachers decide, and not my academic peers. It’s teachers in the schools and the work that I do, and how that connects to schools is very important to me.”

The ATA Science Council adjudicates two award categories each year. The Outstanding Science Teacher Award recognizes excellence in science teaching in Alberta. Criteria may involve contributions to science teaching such as articles, workshops, curriculum development and other instances of professional development. Strong consideration is given to outstanding classroom teaching over an extended period of time. The Distinguished Service Award acknowledges broad, extended contribution to science education in Alberta. The criteria may include curriculum development, in-service, outstanding classroom teaching, professional publications, and contributions to the greater community related to science education.

Feature image: Secondary Education doctoral student Ian Doktor and Elementary Education professor and chair Jerine Pegg with their ATA science teaching awards.