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Philosopher Kids

Written by Tom Hawthorn

Published in Torch Magazine, 2009

Article Description: Tiffany Poirier appeals to the philosophical instincts of kids — in her classroom and in a new children’s book about the ABCs of rational thought. It’s rooted in a quest she’s been on since an early childhood tragedy. Read more here.

Download: Tiffany-Torch Magazine

Torch Magazine-Tiffany


TEDxVictoria: “The Power to Question”

Written by Steven G. Saunders

Published on TEDxVictoria.com

Article:

TiffanyPoirier_FeaturePhotoTiffany Poirier truly cares about children. She not only cares about them directly, but she cares about what they’re thinking, and perhaps more importantly, just how they’re thinking it. She’s also an award-winning educator, accomplished children’s book author/illustrator, educational writer (with specialties in gifted education, philosophy for children, and creativity), a curriculum designer, staff developer, and has even led a variety of workshops, presentations, and speaking engagements.

After becoming a teacher in 2006, Tiffany tackled her calling with fervent passion, quickly receiving the Hazel and Jack Grimmitt Scholarship and the Outstanding Practicum Award from the University of British Columbia in the same year. Tiffany created and presented over 30 unique and special professional development workshops for teachers all over the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.

One of the focuses of Tiffany’s passion is supporting children to develop and practice skills for philosophical and sagacious dialogue, with the widely read Torch Magazine publishing an article discussing her work. Tiffany has herself written educational and heuristic articles for The Tyee, BCTF’s Teacher Newsmagazine, and Synergy Magazine; as well as going on to write and illustrate Q is for Question: An ABC of Philosophy, a “children’s critical thinking book”.

It’s hard to think that a young girl who was once admonished by her Kindergarten teacher for “colouring on the classroom carpet, singing too loudly, and throwing playground gravel” would grow up to be such an academic inspiration for growing youth everywhere, but here she is, making positive change happen — not only in educators, but in their teacher’s lives, as well.

What Tiffany calls her “outside voice” has done nothing to prevent her from achieving a Masters of Education studies in Administration and Leadership (University of British Columbia, 2012), a B. Ed Elementary Education (University of British Columbia, 2006), a BA in Philosophy (University of Victoria, 2004), and a certificate in Performing Arts (Canadian College of Performing Arts, 2000). Tiffany did qualify for an “A” level CSPA Skydiving License, but, as she says herself, she finds “teaching and co-learning with her students is the ultimate rush!” and enjoying “throwing around ideas in a new playground”.

I would like to personally thank and appreciate Ms. Poirier taking her time to speak with us. It is teachers just like her who, along with my wonderful parents, played a vital role in shaping and influencing me. I would not be the same person I am today if it were not for them. I consider myself extraordinarily fortunate, and I am overcome with joy that there are still folks like Tiffany out there, giving it their all.


How the TED Ideas Conference Changed the World

Written by Giustina Qualizza

Published in Nexus Newspaper, November 13, 2013

Excerpt:

slide15Elementary school teacher Tiffany Poirier will also be speaking [at TEDxVictoria] about education, but from a very different point of view. She is the author and illustrator of a recently published critical-thinking book for children entitled

Elementary school teacher Tiffany Poirier will also be speaking [at TEDxVictoria] about education, but from a very different point of view. She is the author and illustrator of a recently published critical-thinking book for children entitled Q is for Question: An ABC of Philosophy. Her goal is to help children recognize their inner philosopher by teaching with enrichment programs within the public school system.

Poirier is approaching TEDx as a way to better understand the role of a teacher, and has found the experience has made her more thoughtful of how she spends her time in the classroom.

“It’s hard because as teachers you think your job is to get up there and expound your wisdom, but that’s not teaching, that’s lecturing,” says Poirier. “There’s a big difference. I don’t want to be a lecturer, I want to be a facilitator, so I’ve got to be silent and let the kids do their own thinking. TEDx has been a great boot camp for that.”

She admits that she is used to having the luxury of time while teaching, and she’s excited about being challenged by the need for efficiency in her presentation.

“I’m comfortable speaking,” says Poirier. “But this is another whole realm of challenge and opportunity… because of the framework, because of the restrictions, because of the profundity of what could occur because of what we’re sharing.”

The focus of Poirier’s presentation is very closely connected to the message that TED, as an organization, is so committed to spreading. She is able to sum it up perfectly by explaining her desire to inspire inquiry in the people around her.

“People often think that changing the world and having big ideas is at a distance from them, and they can’t do it,” says Poirier. “What we forget is that ideas come from somewhere, as answers to questions, and we can always control the kinds of question we ask. If you don’t know what your idea worth spreading is, take inventory of the big questions that have been stirring in your heart.”


Surrey Teacher Talks TED

Written by David Connop Price

Published in the Surrey Schools Employee Newsletter, December 2013

Article:

surreyschoolsnewsletterA Surrey school teacher has been given a big stage to share her idea of giving children time, space and strategies to explore big questions.  Tiffany Poirier, a challenge teacher for grades 3-7 at Prince Charles Elementary, believes that by letting children use logical reasoning to explore philosophical questions like ‘what is justice?’ and ‘what is the meaning of life?’, they will find their own meaning, create their own answers and be well on their way to solving the problems of the world.  Now she has the chance to share this approach with 800 people at a TEDx talk in Victoria and with more watching the video online.

Now she has the chance to share this approach with 800 people at a TEDx talk in Victoria and with more watching the video online. TEDx events are local versions of the global ideas sharing TED conferences.

“In my talk, I played audio recordings of students in dialogue ad showed pictures of their classroom activities–it was awesome to be able to highlight their voices because I think society doesn’t see and give enough credit to young people for being the intelligent, caring, critical thinkers they are,” says Poirier.

She says the audience was warm, receptive and open to hearing her ideas.  Her idea emerged from the “community of inquiry” practice explored in her classroom.

Poirier is a fan of the TED talks. She sets her students big goals and likes to meet one herself each year–and her target this year was doing a TEDx talk.  She spent about four months preparing for the 18-minute presentation and says it was a great learning experience for her.

Many teachers use TED talks in their classrooms and the growing library of thought-provoking videos is a huge benefit, says Poirier who believes fellow educators would have plenty to offer the talks as well.

Referring to the TED slogan, she says, “I think teachers especially can do a great job sharing in the TED format because we have lots of practice sharing ‘ideas worth spreading’.

“Everyday teachers take big concepts and bring them to life with stories and examples in a concise timeframe. I believe every teacher–and every human–has a story to tell that could change the world.”


Recipient of the 2014 Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence
Challenge Teacher (Gifted Education) in the Surrey School District

Published by University of British Columbia Teacher Education Office

Read article online here.

tt 2Article:

“This job is a dream come true! Working with students is fun, creative, and challenging—and every day I feel I’ve found my purpose!” That’s the perspective of Tiffany Poirier who graduated from UBC’s BEd in Elementary Education program in 2006. She is now a children’s author, speaker, Challenge Teacher in Gifted Education with the Surrey School District, and recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

Teaching Excellence

Of her days at UBC, Tiffany is quick to praise the supportive faculty and experience of collaborating with cohort colleagues.“I especially remember the deep discussions in our ‘Teaching for Social Justice’ class, the late nights writing lesson plans, and great group projects.”

Tiffany earned UBC’s Hazel and Jack Grimmitt Scholarship and Outstanding Practicum Award for excellence in teaching. She was hired immediately by the Vancouver School District as a District Resource Teacher in Gifted Education, (K-7). “It was like diving into the deep end of the pool right away!” In her first year as a teacher, Tiffany was already designing new curriculum guides to meet the needs of diverse learners and presenting professional development workshops for her colleagues.

From Big Questions to Big Stages

Tiffany’s passion for philosophy, inquiry, and dialogue-based learning inspired her to write and illustrate her children’s book, Q is for Question: An ABC of Philosophy (O Books, 2009).

“I noticed that my students loved asking big questions about life, meaning and the universe,” she explains, “and so I created this book first for them.”

Now recognized nationally as a leader in the “philosophy for children” movement, Tiffany has been interviewed by Michael Enright for CBC Radio’s The Sunday Edition, had her class the subject of a radio documentary, and published education articles.

Tiffany and her work have been work featured in Torch Magazine, The Tyee, Synergy Magazine, Teacher Newsmagazine and at CourageRenewal.org.

She now has a story in a forthcoming anthology, Teaching from the Heart (Jossey-Bass) and is currently writing a textbook on Personal Interest Projects with an accompanying online video course.

Also a seasoned speaker, Tiffany has presented at the World Gifted Conference, the Greater Edmonton Teachers Conference, and enjoyed meeting and speaking at events with her education heroes, such as Parker Palmer, Taylor Mali and Bob McDonald. In November, Tiffany gave a talk titled “The Power to Question” at TEDxVictoria.


National Award for Surrey Teacher

Published in The Surrey Now newspaper, October 14, 2014

Article: 

Awardwinning teacher Tiffany Poirier had butterflies in her stomach Tuesday (Oct. 7) when she met Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Tiffany Poirier_Stephen Harper 3Awardwinning teacher Tiffany Poirier had butterflies in her stomach Tuesday (Oct. 7) when she met Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

“It’s just such a momentous occasion, this whole trip here,” Poirier told the Now shortly before her return flight home to Surrey with a Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

Poirier is among 17 national-level winners of the award this year.Recipients and their families were flown to Ottawa for three days of special events, panels, and ceremonies.

“It’s been a trip of a lifetime,” Poirier said from Ottawa, “and it’s been so special for me to be able to bring my husband and son along as well, and to meet some amazing educators from across the country.”

Each year, Poirier teaches close to 200 “gifted and highly able” elementary students from across the district as part of Surrey Schools’ The Challenge program. Her classroom is

Prime Minister Stephen Harper presents Surrey teacher Tiffany Poirier with her national Teaching Excellence award in Ottawa last Tuesday (Oct. 7).

located at Prince Charles Elementary on 100th Avenue. She is also an in-demand speaker at professional-development workshops and conferences.

“This elementary teacher is cultivating the next generation of philosophers and critical thinkers,” reads a note next to Poirier’s name on the list of awardees’ highlights.