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Rules and Criteria

Canada’s History is proud to present the Governor General’s History Awards for Excellence in Teaching. If you or a teacher you know deserves recognition, nominate or apply today!

2014 recipients

The Program

Canada’s History established the award in 1996 with the following aims:

  • to recognize excellence in the teaching of Canadian history regardless of the curricula in which it is taught
  • to inspire teachers and schools to strive for excellence in Canadian history education
  • to promote and facilitate the sharing of best practices and innovative teaching ideas within Canada’s teaching community

The Prize

Six recipients will be awarded:

  • An individual cash prize of $2500
  • A $1000 cash prize for the recipient’s school
  • A trip for two to Ottawa to attend the awards ceremony at Rideau Hall, the Canada’s History Forum, and the History-Makers celebration dinner
  • A medal awarded by the Governor General
  • A trip with other educators on a battlefields tour, presented by EF Educational Tours.*

* Itinerary and departure dates to be confirmed and subject to change. Team recipients will be awarded one trip and must select one individual to attend. Francophone recipients will have option to join a French-speaking tour. The cost of a supply teacher will not be covered by Canada’s History or EF Tours.


Whether you have been teaching in the classroom for three years or 30, the Society is seeking to celebrate leadership and innovation in teaching our young people about Canada’s past. We welcome submissions from elementary, middle and senior school classroom teachers. Teachers can submit a project, a body of work, or a group or school-wide initiative. To be considered, nominees must demonstrate that they have excelled in the teaching of Canadian history.

Entrants must:

  • be residents of Canada
  • work directly with students in a school setting
  • teach grades ranging from K–12 during the current school year
  • teach units or full courses that include a significant component of Canadian history at any grade level

Self nominations are encouraged. Posthumous nominations will not be considered. Team teaching and school-wide initiatives are of particular interest to the Society, up to a maximum of three nominees. However, group recipients will be expected to share any financial rewards equally among the team. Past recipients may not reapply.

How to apply

Teachers are asked to submit a unique project that is representative of their approach to teaching history. The application form consists of five, short answer questions. Teachers are also asked to submit a lesson plan, rubric, student work exemplars, and two letters of reference. Applications mus be submitted through the online application form. The deadline is April 1.

Criteria for Selection

Canadian history can be taught in many ways — as a self-standing course; through local or regional units; as a form of integrated social studies; or in courses devoted to literature, science, law, economics, geography, and so on.

Teachers in all these areas are eligible for the award, provided that their work features Canadian content and has an explicitly historical dimension.

A committee of judges will select six recipients based on a submission outlining the nominees’ achievements and innovations in the field of teaching Canadian History or Social Studies. Nominees must meet the following criteria.

Teachers must:

  • Demonstrate a commitment to Canadian history in their teaching.
  • Demonstrate that their teaching has an impact and that:
    • students gain a better knowledge and understanding of Canada as a whole, so that even a local or a regional study teaches them something about the nature and history of Canadian society in general
    • students understand how Canada’s past connects with its present and future
    • students gain a continuing interest in Canadian history
    • students are required to learn and apply both knowledge and skills in their study
    • students gain an awareness of the nature of history as an intellectual discipline
    • history content is comprehensive and incorporates factual knowledge with broader themes, concepts and ideas and the study of specific events, ideas, movements and peoples
    • students learn to assess historical evidence, to understand the balance between fact and interpretation, to consider questions of bias, accuracy, objectivity
    • students experience a variety of teaching and assessment strategies, resources and materials
    • students are actively involved in the learning of history

Note: It is recognized that these criteria will not apply with equal force to all grades and kinds of students, or to all kinds of classroom settings. Therefore, the criteria will be applied with appropriate consideration for the type, age and level of students involved. All recipients will be notified in Fall 2016.



If you have any questions about the award or application process, please contact Joanna Dawson, Community Engagement Coordinator, at 1.866.952.3444, x.225. You can also check out our FAQ section.

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