MSSTA Diversity Panel 2016

main-qimg-c2776b7fe0b5c2d411ac68569ecde0edThis panel discussion scheduled for Friday, October 21st at 1:00 pm at the Manitoba Social Studies Teacher’s association PD Day will focus on including diverse perspectives in Canadian history classrooms in the 21st century.
Panelists include:

Matt Henderson (Moderator)
Matt will speak to the idea of Radical Experiences & Radical Diversity! Matt will highlight how understanding the unique experience of each learner may lead to a greater cognitive diversity within a learning community and a greater diversity in ideas, passions, and perspectives. Folks at this session will engage in a discussion about learning, power, privilege, and voice. Matt is the principal at the Maples Met School in the Seven Oaks School Division.

Daraius Bharucha
Daraius Bharucha was a Captain in the Merchant Marine before becoming an educator. He is currently the Department Head of History at Bill Crothers Secondary School in Unionville Ontario. Through the course of his academic and teaching career Daraius has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the Governor Generals Silver Medal for Academic Excellence, The Governor Generals Award for Excellence in Teaching History, the George Hopton Award for History and has been recognised for his volunteer contributions to the community by the Government of Ontario. Daraius has been invited to speak and present at many local, national and international conventions and conferences and has authored publications and articles including curricula that have been widely used across North America.

Stefano Fornazzari San Martin
Stefano Fornazzari San Martin was the youngest of three brothers when he arrived to Vancouver as a political refugee with his parents who escaped the military dictatorship in Chile. He holds a Master’s in history from the University of Connecticut where he explored indigenous resistance to Spanish conquest. He is currently the Department Head of History at The Dr. GW Williams Secondary School in Aurora, Ontario.  He has two beautiful children he is raising in french with his wife Marie-Soleil, and enjoys vacationing in Quebec City at every opportunity. He has worked as an educational publishing consultant and reviewer, including being a part of the team that produced THE BIG SIX HISTORICAL THINKING CONCEPTS and other textbooks and teacher resources. Stefano and Daraius. M. Bharucha were awarded the Governor General’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2012 for their project entitled: MY PLACE IN CANADIAN HISTORY: DIGITAL STORYTELLING WITH HISTORICAL THINKING CONCEPTS.

Darius and Stefanon Stefano  be talking about identity creation and the way in which young people from diverse backgrounds can locate themselves within the spectrum of Canadian history. The idea being that it is through this location that a critical portion of their Canadian identity is developed and how this generally plays out in terms of the evolving notion of a modern Canadian identity.

Greg Miyanaga
For 27 years, Greg has taught Grades 2-7 in Coquitlam, a suburb of Vancouver.  In 2006, he received the Governor General’s Award for Excellence in Teaching History from Michaelle Jean. The Big Idea will be what teaching diverse perspectives and controversial issues looks like in an elementary classroom. He will use examples from his previous GG work in teaching about Japanese Canadian internment during the 1940s, and with my new work in a similar project called Landscapes of Injustice.

If you would like to provide feedback on this session, please do so below!

Ecological Literacy: Reflections

In January, our Global Issues class looked heavily at the concept of ecological literacy. Here are some refections from our collective and individual experiences. These reflections consisted of “mini” PechaKucha presentations, whereby learners created 10 slides which moved every 20 seconds (10×20) in order to present their arguments.

Ecological Literacy from nic calen on Vimeo.

Eco Lit from Riley Chard on Vimeo.

MIni PechaKucha from Adeyemi Fatoye on Vimeo.

Ecological Literacy R from Riley Chard on Vimeo.

Eco Lit (C) from Riley Chard on Vimeo.

Climate Change Staring us in the Face

image

Photo from Globe and Mail. Photo by John Raedle.

Well, it happened. Following 70 years or so of scientists (I generally think of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring as a beginning point in this conversation in the West) telling us that human activity is inflicting catastrophic damage on all systems on this planet, mainstream media, whether consciously or unconsciously, has started to report regularly our relationship with our home.

On Friday June 17th and Saturday, June 18th, the Globe and Mail, perhaps because the earth is in revolt and stories of destruction are so prevalent and ubiquitous, seemed to devote most of its reporting to ecological issues. Here is a sampling:

Earthquakes Shake Alberta Town’s Faith in Fracking

Come Hell or High Water: The Disaster Scenario that is South Florida

Preparing Cities for Changing Climate – Before it’s too Late

There was also an interactive game included on the web version of the Globe and Mail on how to prevent a city from succumbing to the effects of climate change: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/can-you-future-proof-a-city-play-game/article25560486/?from=25552300

Crop Expert Norm Hall on how Drought is Hurting Prairie Farmers

Saskatchewan Wildfire Evacuees Anxious for All-clear to Return Home

All of these articles and associated catastrophes came at the same time that Canada’s Premiers, government leaders of our ten provinces, wrapped up meetings concerning energy and the environment. While there was some recognition that externalities, like greenhouse gases, need to be regulated, accounted, and diminished, most of the talk was about how to export Canada’s nonrenewable energy and generate revenue.

The House on CBC had extensive interviews with various premiers: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thehouse/premiers-clash-leads-to-unprecedented-energy-agreement-1.3154480/rachel-notley-seeks-balance-between-economy-environment-1.3154493

And then a pipeline, owned by Chinese-owned Nexen, spilled 31, 500 barrels of bitumen essentially into a tributary of the Athabasca River on Treaty land: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/nexen-says-crews-working-around-the-clock-at-spill-site/article25549619/


And yet the conversation we have at the school level, the school board level, and perhaps in wider educational circles, rarely reflects the need for ecologically literate citizens. in 2015, we are still confounded and confined by discussions advocating for 21st Century skills, better math skills to keep up with Singapore, and/or fictitious notions of “grit.”

Ecological literacy will become the new pedagogical push in the 21st century, it’s just a matter of when. It is comforting that both the University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg faculties of education offer courses in sustainability to future and current teachers, and it is further encouraging that more and more students are volunteering to take these courses. 

Despite this flicker of light, the conversations, literature, and practice in the classroom does not focus on sustaining and protecting the very thing that sustains all life — the biosphere. At what point to we, as educators, begin to shift our focus from outcomes of the past to outcomes of survival, justice, and equity? On what side of history do educators want to be on?

My hope is that this latest publication of the Globe and Mail will push public discussion, both within and outside of the realm of education. I hope it pushes us to understand that short-sighted mission statements, empty five-year plans, and our propensity to give lip-service to forces like ecological literacy are tiresome and destructive. Action is required, now. As teachers, let’s make ecological literacy the new imperative in 21st century learning and stand up to those who would roll their eyes or scoff. 

Global Citizenship: A Stab in the Dark

I have recently been trying to deconstruct and analyze the notion of global citizenship, mostly as a tangential interest into some other research, but also in light on this omni-present commodification of education and attacks from neoliberal camps.

This is what I have been monkeying around with given recent readings from Appiah, Nussbaum, and Ruitenberg. Let me know what you think:

Global citizenship can be conceptualized as our capacity to imagine and mitigate the plight of others (including people, other species, and ecosystems) based on our capacity for critical examination, our ability to acquire and generate significant knowledge about the world, and our willingness to engage in imaginative compassion which surpasses all boundaries of race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, and class.