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Vimy 100: OISE inspires educators with lessons in leadership, innovation, identity, courage through lens of Canada’s past

OISE experts hold educational workshop in Vimy, more than 100 take part online

April 10, 2017

OISE attendees with military historian Tim Cook

OISE met and learned from Canadian military historian Tim Cook at Vimy. 

Left to right: Wendy Baker, EF Educational Tours; Elisabeth Rees Johnstone, OISE Continuing and Professional Learning; Tim Cook, Historian at the Canadian War Museum; Evelyn Wilson, OISE Continuing and Professional Learning; and Colin Shaw, EF Educational Tours.

Along with thousands of Canadians who gathered in France to honour the 2017 Vimy Centennial, experts from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), in partnership with EF Tours, also took part by holding a special workshop for educators in Canadian innovation, leadership, courage and identity through the lens of Vimy.

Roughly 50 Canadian education directors and superintendents participated in the workshop, ‘Vimy: A Classroom for Canadian Education Leaders’, in Arras, France, with another 100 educators from across Canada taking part online.

Teaching Vimy to all Canadians

OISE Associate Dean, Michele Petersen-Badali, attended the workshop in France and said it provided an invaluable teaching and learning opportunity.

 “Vimy presents a number of challenges to educators. How do we remember and honour courage and sacrifice without glorifying war? Equally important, how do we make Vimy relevant for Canada's diverse population of students, most of whom have no connection with this European and colonial war?” she said.

“As I participate in this experiential classroom, I am struck by our opportunity as educators to connect this historic event to the pressing national and global issues that our students face today and will inherit in the future. OISE plays a vital role in preparing teachers and school principals for this challenge,” she continued.

Also attending from OISE was Rosemary Evans, Principal of University of Toronto Schools, along with OISE’s Continuing and Professional Learning (CPL) Executive Director, Elisabeth Rees-Johnstone, and Evelyn Wilson, Associate Director, CPL.
Canadian machine gunners dig themselves in, in shell holes on Vimy Ridge, 1917.

Canadian machine gunners dig themselves in, in shell holes on Vimy Ridge, 1917. Photo Credit: Canadian Department of National Defence. 


Vimy Ridge

In 1917, for the first time, 30,000 Canadian troops from across the country stood together and fought as a single force, the Canadian Corps. The main offensive remains the single bloodiest day in Canadian military history with 3,598 dead and 7000 wounded. The Vimy Memorial was unveiled in 1936, after 11 years of construction, and remains Canada’s principal overseas war memorial. It was described by its architect and sculptor, Walter Seymour Allward as a “sermon against the futility of war”.

OISE is committed to delivering immersive and engaging learning opportunities to students and professionals from across the experience spectrum. Learn more about our course offerings.

For more information on the Vimy 100 ceremony, follow #Vimy100 or #RememberThem on Twitter.