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Alex Trebek Medal for Geographic Literacy

2001 Recipient - Phyllis Arnold

Teaching by the Book
Phyllis Arnold has never had much use for traditional school books. As a teacher in the early 1960s, she grew frustrated with those filled with references to presidents and kings but with little Canadian content. In 1967, as a graduate student at the University of Alberta, she scrounged up $150 to develop an audiovisual kit on the Frank rock slide of 1903. It was such a hit with students and teachers that it launched Arnold into a career in educational publishing.

Since then, Arnold Publishing has sold about a million innovative and highly visual geography (left), history and social sciences texts nationwide. That dedication to geographic education has earned Arnold the 2001 Geographic Literacy Award from Canadian Geographic Education (formerly Canadian Council for Geographic Education).

Arnold has topped up her $5,000 (U.S.) award with a personal donation to establish the $10,000 (Cdn.) Phyllis Arnold Endowment Fund, an annual award that will help teachers attend conferences or professional-development courses in geography. “There are a lot of teachers doing good work who never get any recognition,” says Arnold. “This is a way of saying thank you to some of them.”

— Monique Roy-Sole

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