Speaker in the Schools Program

Speaker in the Schools Program

The Virtual Speaker in the Schools Program ​13-167 Legislative Assembly SIS Material Kit Folder-Cropped.jpgis the latest version of the successful Speaker in the Schools Program initially launched in the fall of 2012. This initiative encourages students to engage in democracy and consider contributing to their communities by becoming parliamentarians when they grow up.

The Honourable Raj Chouhan, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, meets online with students from across British Columbia.  After a short introduction to the work of the Legislature, the Speaker is pleased to participate in an open Q&A with the students for the next 40 minutes.  Classes are encouraged to send in three questions in advance of the virtual visit to get the Q&A started and then individual students are encouraged to come up to the computer's microphone/camera and pose their queries directly to Mr. Speaker.  It is an illuminating session with the students posing thoughtful questions. 

When Covid-19 is behind us, the Speaker looks forward to returning to personal classroom visits where he will share first-hand knowledge with the students by leading them in a model legislature exercise. The students explore how a bill becomes a law through this fun and engaging simulation. Bills are debated on topics of their choosing, such as the construction of a new skating rink, reduction of daily homework or the provision of iPads for all students.  The students are provided with costumes and role play the various positions within the House to conduct a bill debate. A photograph consent form is provided to the teacher in order to create keepsake photos of the event

Explore how a bill becomes a law or learn about the role of the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.​

The objectives of the program are to:

  • introduce the students to the role of the Legislative Assembly in our democratic system of governance;

  • introduce the students to the role of the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly;

  • encourage the students to think about how they can be involved in our provincial democratic institution;

  • role play a provincial debate in their classroom (for in person visits only);

  • promote the BC Teachers’ Institute on Parliamentary Democracy to classroom teachers; and,

  • introduce the teachers to the many Parliamentary Education Office educational resources available for teaching democracy in their classrooms.

The learning outcomes support the following Big Ideas from the new social studies curriculum:

  • Canadian institutions and government reflect the challenge of our regional diversity
  • Systems of government vary in their respect of human rights and freedoms
  • Increasingly complex societies required new systems of laws and government

The 45 minutes virtual classroom visits are an excellent way for students to engage directly with a parliamentarian.  Testimonials from grade 8 students in Penticton highlight, 

"I liked how he really thought about his answers - they weren't fabricated."

"He really seemed like he cared about our questions."

When back to in-classroom visits, the hour long program is filled with laughter and excitement as students assume various roles including Speaker, Clerk and Sergeant-at-Arms. Together, the class debates a bill from introduction to royal assent. Educational resources supporting the learning outcomes are provided to the teacher along with follow-up activities for the students.

The Speaker encourages all young people to become engaged in democracy and parliamentary process.

​“I am continually amazed and inspired by the enthusiasm of the students. They are keen to learn about democracy and how they can be involved to make a difference in the world around them.” 

The Honourable Linda Reid, Former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia


Feedback from Schools and Students

"Thank you very much for the wonderful experience. I have spoken to many of the students and they all thoroughly enjoyed meeting you and learned a great deal. In fact, we began our music class this morning with "Pray be seated!"

Coquitlam Principal

"I enjoyed hearing about the path that led you to this role and how your passion for education influenced you."

Grade 10 Student

"I think it is really nice how you gave us a booklet to teach us in a fun way."

Grade 5 Student