"Teaching physics is something that I love to do and am passionate about. To be recognised as being good at something that I love to do is both amazing and humbling at the same time. I would like to thank the selection committee and my colleagues and students who nominated me."
The Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) is pleased to announce that the 2015 CAP Award for Excellence in Teaching High School/CEGEP Physics (Ontario) is awarded to James Ball, J.F. Ross CVI, his mastery at recognizing how individual students learn best. From having students use hand-held whiteboards to draft their ideas and solutions to problems, to using YouTube videos to show physics in the real world, to his leadership in the OAPT, to his mentoring of students in the Sir Isaac Newton OAPT prize exams, to his work in charitable activities, he has shown himself to be an exceptional physics teacher both in and out of the classroom.
James Ball is recognized for his extraordinary personal engagement of students in class, and his contributions in physics education beyond the classroom through his sharing of ideas through workshops and talks. One former student writes “In the classroom, he was always an understanding and patient teacher, working with students one on one to make sure they were meeting their goals.” He is known for his innovative use of in-class YouTube videos to show real-world physics, and his effective use of demonstrations, particularly those involving the entire class acting out phenomena such as collisions of elementary particles. He has delivered workshops for teachers at the EinsteinPlus program at the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics, at OAPT and STAO conferences, and at the Perimeter Teachers’ Network. He has been a leader in the OAPT, having served as President, newsletter editor, conference organizer, membership secretary, and has written a number of articles for the OAPT Newsletter. He recently initiated and developed the Guelph-Waterloo Physics Teachers Alliance (GWPT), an annual gathering of local physics teachers for the purpose of sharing ideas about best teaching practices. In addition, his work with students as a swim coach and his in-school leadership involvement with major charities illustrate to students, through his example, what it means to make a difference in the lives of others.