Teachers and peers help students through a process of self-reflection and discussion about a significant event – a turning point – in their lives. Students then write an essay about that event to relate its significance to their present situation – and to their future. They are then encouraged to submit their essays for formal evaluation, recognition, and publication in an annual anthology. Those chosen for publication receive cash prizes, engraved plaques, a copy of the anthology, and are invited to recognition events in their area.
These are general timelines. For specifics, check your region below.
September – teachers register online until September 30.
October – teachers attend in-service and/or do eLearning modules.
November to February – implement Turning Points in the classroom. All students are expected to participate and write the culminating essay. Turning Points is flexible. It can be run over several months or in the space of two weeks.
March – teachers select the best essays and, if agreed upon with the students, submit them ELECTRONICALLY for the essay contest. We will send an allocation form that shows the number of essays your school may submit.
April – Tier 1 Judges (Faculty of Education students) and Tier 2 Judges (authors, retired educators, journalists, story tellers, business professionals, members of the community) judge all submitted essays and select finalists. Winners are announced.
May – Winners and their teachers, principals, families and judges celebrate student success at an awards event.
June – The Anthology of Winning Essays is published.
Download your Regional Turning Points Timeline:
The Turning Points Essay Competition is open to all students currently in Grade 6 to 12. It is suggested that the essays be marked as part of the Language/English program.
1. Essays must be authentic (true story)
2. Essays must adhere to the maximum word count for the grade level:
Group A Grade 6: 250 to 350 words
Group B Grades 7 and 8: 350 to 500 words
Group C Grades 9 and 10: 500 to 700 words
Group D Grades 11 and12: 800 to 1,000 words
3. Essays must have an effective title (note that "My Turning Point" or "personal essay" will not be accepted). Title is not included in the word count.
4. Student name must not appear on the essay pages.
5. Essay font must be Arial, size 12.
6. Entries will be marked on the basis of originality of thought, clarity of language, organizational structure, use of conventions such as grammar and spelling, understanding of a "turning point" and impact on the reader.
7. Once an essay is submitted to The Learning Partnership, the essay becomes the property of The Learning Partnership.
Registration and Letter of Agreement for 2013 - 2014 [form]
"All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are."
- Pablo Neruda, Nobel Prize-winning Chilean Poet and Political Activist
For more information, please contact:
Phone: 416 915 7615