Nat Banting, a teacher at Marion M. Graham Collegiate Institute, likes to “push the boundaries” when teaching mathematics.

Banting puts student decision-making at the centre of learning.

“I always tell kids that the solution to a math problem is an argument,” Banting said.

The high school teacher wants students to be involved in the lesson, discussing with their fellow peers and identifying critical pieces of information to find the problem.

Banting has been named this year’s Margaret Sinclair Memorial Award recipient from the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences in Toronto.

The national award recognizes Canadian educators who “demonstrate innovation and excellence in promoting mathematics education at any level,” the institute said in a news release.

“He’s very deserving and we’re very proud of him,” said Jennifer Brokofsky, mathematics coordinator for Saskatoon Public Schools.

“It’s unfamiliar for sure, maybe the best way to describe it would be a blur,” Banting told CTV News.

His students at Marion Graham said Banting deserves the award.

“It’s kind of deceiving because it feels like you’re not learning, but I learn so much. We’ll talk about math problems so much and I won’t even notice it,” Grade 11 student Katie Spence said.

Banting will receive $5,000 and a will deliver a math lecture at the University of Toronto.

“It is beyond humbling to even have been considered for this award, let alone be selected.”

Correction: Banting is not the first practicing teacher in Canada to win this award. The award is handed out by Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Science, not the University of Toronto. CTV News regrets the errors.