Blair Robillard Awarded “Innovation in Teaching” Award
Blair Robillard was recently awarded the Physical Health Educators of Manitoba “Innovation in Teaching” award. We wanted to share a little bit more about this honour, so we’re sharing the nomination letter from Darla Armstrong, a Faculty of Education baccalaureate student who took Blair’s Aboriginal Games and Activities course and who nominated him.
Community Scholar for Indigenous Achievement Heather McCrae and Professor Joannie Halas also submitted letters of support.
Here’s the text of Darla’s nomination letter:
“When I entered the Aboriginal Games course, last year in early June, I thought that I was going to pick up some First Nations games and activities and come away with a few more tricks in my teaching bag. This did happen but what else happened was a greater connection to self and others through an environment that was created where all were welcome and accepted. I also gained a much deeper understanding and appreciation of the First Nations culture as well as the other cultures of the many participants in the class.
The reason these effective domains were able to happen was due to the teacher, Mr. Blair Robillard. Blair came in with an openness and transparency that promoted all of his students to drop their shields and share thoughts and feelings about very personal things in their lives. Blair not only talked the talk, but walked the walk. Through honesty and emotion he gained our trust and made us believe that we could do any game or activity that he placed in front of us without worrying that we were going to be judged or criticized. By teaching like this, he dealt with the whole person, not just the intellectual but the social, emotional and physical parts of human interaction, which balanced our perspectives and internalized what we were learning by what he had to say.
I feel Blair’s innovative style of teaching using the medicine wheel and incorporating the entire human (body, mind, heart and spirit), enriched his teaching. I also feel his close personal connection to his students made it easier to internalize and make us want to share, which was always the message he was trying to convey. I believe if this innovative style of teaching was incorporated into more classrooms, with the passion and excellence Blair Robillard exemplifies, there would be fewer drop-outs in schools and more nurturing, caring, and well balanced individuals in this world.”