2023 Medal Winners | francais

The 2023 CAP Award for Excellence in Teaching High School/CEGEP Physics (Ontario)

is awarded to

Saara Naudts

"Receiving this award makes me feel very grateful. I am thankful for the many opportunities to learn about PER from expert physics educators who generously share their experiences. I am indebted to my students for their honest and grounding feedback that is shaping me into the educator I am becoming." winner citation

The Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) is pleased to announce that the 2023 CAP Award for Excellence in Teaching High School/CEGEP Physics (Ontario) is awarded to Saara Naudts, Peel Distrct School Board - Mayfield Secondary School, in recognition of her passion and dedication in teaching physics, particularly her use of physics education research and culturally responsive and relevant pedagogies that inform her classroom and inspire her students to pursue physics. announcement

Saara has been teaching physics in the Peel District School Board since 2004 and believes that anyone can learn physics. She creates opportunities for students to be successful and celebrates their wins. Her instructional approach is based on the Universal Design for Learning (UDL), accommodating the needs and abilities of all learners and helping break down barriers. Saara implements a diverse range of relevant, collaborative, and hands-on inquiries and design activities to connect concepts to real life applications and to align with students’ interests and lived experiences. When students do something that requires them to think critically and analytically, learning is a natural result. If the inquiry is followed by reflecting on the experience where meaning and relevance is created, growth and change takes place.
In 2011, Saara made the most important decision in her professional life by attending the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI) “Einstein Plus”, a one-week intensive workshop for high school teachers. In addition to having discovered her new teaching style, which was diametric to the socratic ways she was taught physics, the experience became the start of her journey in physics outreach. Saara has been an executive member of the Ontario Association of Physics Teachers and taken on a variety of leadership roles, including conference chair, contest editor, vice-president, secretary, conference presenter, and newsletter contributor. Saara has also been involved with PI’s outreach as an Einstein Plus and workshop facilitator, resource reviewer, and co-coordinator of the Ontario Teacher Network. Furthermore, Saara agrees that education is not preparation for life, but is life itself. She models that philosophy by regularly attending workshops and conferences, and she recently completed a Masters in Education with a focus on PER for which she received a Medal of Academic Excellence.
Saara plans on continuing to help advance the nominator citation

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