Souad El-Achkar – Raising the Standard in Math Education

Year: 2021 — Province: Nova Scotia
Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Halifax Regional Centre for Education
Grades 6 to 10 - math
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia


“Souad El-Achkar is an exceptional mathematics educator who tirelessly works to create a learning environment in which all students can be successful in achieving their full potential in both their academic and personal lives. Not only does she have a profound impact on the classrooms where she teaches; she impacts the larger educational community through her leadership practices. She teaches mathematics from a student-centered, problem based approach. She possesses the recipe to share her deep understanding of math content and related pedagogy in order to make the curriculum accessible and engaging for all students. This is no small feat.”


Teaching Approach

Souad knows that mathematics is not simply teaching a procedure and having students complete questions from a textbook; and it’s not only about getting the right answer. She wants students to be mathematical thinkers and problem solvers. She understands the mentality of a mathematician and works tirelessly to develop these skills in her students. Her students solve problems, theorize about the mathematical situations, explore, discover and develop their conceptual understanding of mathematics. They work with their peers; they are creative in representing their mathematics and learn to communicate their thinking effectively.

In the Classroom

Souad understands that learning is social and collaborative. Both in the classroom and on-line, Souad finds ways to keep student collaboration at the forefront of her teaching practice. She does this in the classroom by using activities such as stations, treasure hunts, and classroom sharing. Remotely, she uses Jamboard and digital breakouts to have students collaborate together while they are physically apart. This collaboration allows students to share their thinking and strategies for solving problems in a safe, supportive environment. This focus on key mathematical teaching practices - questioning, discourse and justification - strengthens students as mathematicians.

Souad regularly models for the teachers she coaches the importance of formative assessment to guide teaching decisions when planning for students’ needs and interests. She ensures each lesson includes clear learning targets and opportunities for students to self-assess and reflect on their learning through self-checking activities such as Pixel-Art using Google Sheets, Desmos activities and Digital Breakout rooms that allow students to check if they are solving problems correctly as they work towards an end product. This immediate feedback and other cognitive strategies foster student independence, self advocacy and ownership of their learning.

Outstanding Achievements

Souad’s remarkable skill and dedication to the craft of teaching is transforming the way teachers teach and students learn in her environment. She literally pushes the boundaries. Her positive influence on the math community is both deep and far reaching. In addition to the support she provides teachers and students who she works with directly, she also mentors fellow coaches and provides professional development to educators throughout the province. Her mantra is simply: “to help others”. This is an understatement of her actual work and accomplishments.

Get in touch!

Halifax Regional Centre for Education
33 Spectacle Lake Dr,
Dartmouth, NS B3B 1X7
Twitter: @HRCE_NS