A self-directed professional


In 1972 I entered the Professional Development Program (PDP) in the Faculty of Education. I had graduated from Simon Fraser University in Economics and Commerce in 1969, because I was looking for a career with more meaning then the work I had been doing for three years. That year changed my life. Teaching is both art and science, and in that year I learned more about the art of teaching, not the science.

Dr. Maurice Gibbons, was in charge of the program, and he was starting to develop his ideas on the self-directed professional. We were given a choice of three streams when we arrived on campus. I, and about 50 others, chose the program that offered us the opportunity to learn about ourselves and to use that information to help students. I spent the first two months honing my skills in teaching at what is now Terry Fox Secondary in Port Coquitlam. We arrived back from our practicum and as part of the program went to Kamloops where we spent two weeks living in a rustic setting, learning about life, ourselves, with some touches of psychology and philosophy.

Back on campus, we were given the opportunity to engage in more self-exploration and develop our own philosophy and approach to teaching. There was very little direction, but there was a great deal of guidance and advice. I learned to develop my creative side, which allowed me to see opportunity where others saw obstacles. I graduated from the program where I learned about art, movie making, writing and myself. I took a job in Surrey teaching Art and Business. For three years, I moved from my Typing and Recordkeeping classes, which were very structured and ordered to my Art class, which was unstructured and full of creative energy.

In 1978, a new opportunity was presented to me, and I started the first Cooperative Education Work Experience program in Surrey and the second in BC. For me this perfectly blended creativity and business. I started with 12 students, and within the first year, I had over 100 students wanting to take the program. Within three years, the program was in every high school in Surrey, and within five years the program was in almost every school district in BC. I used the ideas and themes I had learned at SFU working in Dr. Gibbon’s program to develop and show likeminded professionals my vision of the program.

I oversaw the program in Surrey until 1989, when I moved on to the idea of developing the teaching of information technology in schools. In 1995, I was seconded to the Ministry of Education where I developed a team that created a vision and a curriculum to teach information technology in K–12 BC schools.

The creation of the Cooperative Education Work Experience programs, the development of the curriculum for Information Technology and other educational programs I worked in, happened because in 1972-73 I had the opportunity to become a self-directed professional under the guidance of Dr. Gibbons and the PDP program.

Royce Shook
B.Ed. 1969, PDP 1973