Spotlight on Robert Jardine

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The Advisory Circle of Educators (ACOE) advises Elections Canada on best practices in the development of educational resources, future directions for its civic education program, and ways to ensure uptake by educators. In this series, we interview ACOE members to showcase their experience and expertise in civic education. Meet Robert Jardine, long-time Saskatchewan teacher and ACOE member at large!

Elections Canada: Hi Robert. Tell us about yourself.

Robert: Now starting the last semester of a 28-year career, I have taught every grade from 1 to 12 in a variety of communities, from Hutterite colonies to villages to cities. I’ve been involved with professional learning in Saskatchewan for many years. I served on the executive board of Social Studies Saskatchewan from 2006 to 2021, serving as President from 2009 to 2021. I also served on the teacher steering committees of both the Library of Parliament’s Teachers Institute on Parliamentary Democracy in Ottawa and the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Institute. Since 2019, I have been Vice-President of the Social Studies Educators Network of Canada (SSENC) and I am honoured to be a returning member of Elections Canada’s Advisory Circle of Educators (ACOE).

Elections Canada: What role do you play in civic education?

Robert: I am fortunate to have worn many different hats throughout my career: as a classroom educator, professional association leader, professional learning facilitator and resource developer. All these roles have provided me with opportunities to help shape, directly or indirectly, the next generation of engaged citizens in Canada. The classroom is naturally where (one hopes!) I have had the most impact.

However, working with fellow educators has also been a very rewarding and enriching experience, as I know that their growth as civic educators has the potential to impact the experiences of thousands of students. My participation in ACOE will continue to provide me with opportunities to assist teachers as they engage their students in civic education.

Elections Canada: Tell us about a memorable moment in civic education.

Robert: My interest in civic education goes back a long way. I have always been a government and politics nerd and like to brag that I have never missed voting in an election since I turned 18! My BA is in Political Science and History, and on the back of those courses I have always thought I was pretty knowledgeable about how our Westminster system works.

Fast forward to 2004: I was a participant at the Teachers Institute and grouped with Senator Landon Carter Pearson. I went into the meeting feeling pretty cynical about what I thought I would hear. Instead, Senator Pearson spent 45 minutes with us describing her work in Africa helping young women access equal educational opportunities, which was totally unexpected. To learn about the impact of a Canadian Senator in these young women’s lives was an eye-opening (and mind-opening) experience.

Elections Canada: Why did you choose to join ACOE?

Robert: The opportunity to help improve and develop resources for fellow educators is one that I have always embraced. I have used Elections Canada’s resources throughout my career. When I was invited to take part in their new resources, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse!

Elections Canada: What have you enjoyed most about ACOE meetings?

Robert: As any teacher is likely to tell you, teachers are usually the last group to be consulted in any decision that affects their work.

ACOE is one of the few bodies in which teachers’ voices are heard, respected and incorporated in meaningful ways into the outcome or final product. It is truly collaborative. Working with fellow educators from across the country reinforces my understanding that while there are obvious differences in student populations and work environments, Canadian teachers have much more in common with each other than differences.

Elections Canada: What recommendations do you have for educators who would like to improve their practice in civic education?

Robert: Of course, check out Elections Canada’s resources at!

Stay aware of current events and pay attention to political discussions happening around you. Attend your provincial or territorial teachers institute if available. The Library of Parliament Teachers Institute is one of the highlights of my professional life and without a doubt a “must-do”!