PG Teacher Wins National History Award For WWII Class Project
Prince George, B.C. – A big honour for a Prince George high school teacher.
Glen Thielmann, a social studies and geography teacher at D.P. Todd Secondary School, has been awarded the Government of Canada History Awards for Teachers.
Thielmann says his project, which he calls the Echo Project, refers to both the generation of students that he teaches (the echo or millennial generation) and also the nature of the research.
He says it involves casting out a question across an expanse, in this case time, and hoping for some kind of response.
“The project is for Grade 11 students and the idea is to reach back,” says Thielmann. “The echo they’re trying to create is across two generations, a 50 year gap.”
He says the goal was not only to help students develop critical thinking and research skills, but for them to learn more about the significance for Canadians of events revolving around WWII.
Thielmann says some of the results, including a project from last year, were astonishing.
“A student, a friend of his grandfather, who was a British soldier during WWII, was captured three times by the Germans and escaped twice,” he says. “The third time he was liberated.”
Thielmann says the veteran, who happens to be in his mid 90s and living in Prince George, had a camera with him and was able to document what he saw.
“The photographs were riveting, the sort of things you’d expect from WWII documentaries including the disturbing images.”
He says his experiences were such that he was called upon to be a witness in a war crimes tribunal.
As for the award itself, Thielmann was just one of 20 winners from across the country, and received both a certificate and $2,000.
“I used the $2,000 to buy a MacBook so I can continue teaching in my classroom.”