If you ask any of the tens of thousands of students Ken Wong has taught in his career as a professor at the graduate and post-graduate levels, they will say he is one of the most gifted educators in the country. Tony Chapman’s recent LinkedIn tribute to Wong garnered over 50,000 views, 600 likes and hundreds of comments from people positively impacted by his teaching.
A first-generation Canadian from a mixed background of Chinese, French, English and Irish, Wong was always conscious of the impression he would create for others and the responsibility he felt to represent his family and his race. In the 1950s, Montreal was anything but diverse — but that didn’t stop his family. His Dad, with 25 cents and a mocked-up egg carton, convinced one of the largest grocers in the city to sell his eggrolls. Over the next few decades, he built his idea into one of the largest processors of Chinese food in the country. Ken describes the dinner table as a boardroom table, where he could connect the dots between what he learned in school and real-world business.
He also talks candidly about the impact a family tragedy had on his approach to learning and how his Jesuit education informed his approach to teaching.
A believer that true educators do not just teach technical knowledge – they teach values – Wong comments on the lack of leadership in the Canadian education system, the need for tools and independence to allow students to learn in different ways, and the importance of celebrating and publicizing the tactics that work. And why.
Finally, his take on the expression “and, not or” shows the power of addition and inclusion in life and learning.
A teacher who went well beyond the transaction of teaching, Wong will be dearly missed by the education community as he steps aside to, as he says, “turn the reins over to someone a little younger, with a fresh perspective and some new ideas.”
Chatter That Matters is hosted by the Marketing Hall of Legends and the Canadian Marketing and PR Hall of Fame Inductee Tony Chapman. Tony wants to counter the storm of negativity and a growing sense of impossibility by sharing true stories of possibility and positivity. Stories of people who make things happen, despite today’s challenging circumstances. In doing so, he hopes their life lessons inspire others to do more and to be more. RBC is the presenting sponsor.
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