On March 31st, 2019, Facing History and Ourselves in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Ontario partnered with Durham District School Board, Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, Peel District School Board, Toronto District School Board, Toronto Catholic District School Board and York Region District School Board to host a day long educator conference to discuss ways educators and institutional leaders have worked, and can work to decolonize and Indigenize education.
On March 31st, Facing History and Ourselves, in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Ontario invited University of Manitoba scholar Niigaanwewidam Sinclair and Art Gallery of Ontario Curator Wanda Nanibush to discuss institutional disruption, decolonization and Indigenization, as part of a day-long conference for educators. This event was recorded and can be viewed here.
In the Aftermath Project, director Sarah Terry reminds us that war is only half the story: "To be fully informed, we have to know the stories of post-conflict." It is in these stories, "where we are constantly redefining what it means to be human, what it means to live again, to rebuild civil society, to recover from trauma. If we don't know these stories, then we don't really understand the world we live in, and we will repeat history again and again and again." Through her poetry, Holocaust survivor Donia Blumenfeld Clenman conveyed some of these essential stories of the aftermath of genocide. With clarity, humanity and gentleness, her words connect us to her struggles, and teach us what it means to face - and recover - from trauma. In the month of her passing, we remember her legacy and honour her words.
This is part two of Amy Smith’s Blog The Road to Equity: How do you define equity? In part one she discussed her own learning journey of gaining additional knowledge about groups identified as in need of more support in schools in the equity and inclusion branch of Peel Board’s five year School Success Plan. All of her reading and learning encouraged her “to really reflect on the life I was living, and the privileges I have that I was not even aware of simply because I was born in a white, abled, cisgender body.” In part two she will cover how she took her own learning and expertise to help other educators start their journey, to start learning about who they are as people and how their privilege and bias impacts their students.
On Monday May 6, 2019 Facing History and Ourselves Canada is celebrating our tenth anniversary with a program called Unlearning Hate: A Conversation with Derek Black and Allison Gornik at the Toronto Centre for the Arts.
Topics: Truth and Reconciliation, Indigenous History, Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy, Indigenous, difficult conversations, trc, stolen lives, settler eucators, Treaty, Sacred Circle Teachings, Decolonizing Schools, Facing Canada
“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” How many of us have heard this quote or a variation of it? Sayings like these are repeated so often nowadays that they have lost meaning. People will complain, “I don’t need you to lecture me, I already know all this,” “The past is the past, leave it behind where it belongs,” or a blatant dismissal from those who are so cemented in the now, that they refuse to see the truth right in front of them.
Topics: Student Voices, Choosing to Participate, Armenian Genocide, Students, Facing History and Ourselves, Holocaust Education, Rwanda, Student Work, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course, Equity in Education, Facing Canada
A Mindful Classroom: Establishing A Safe Space for Sensitive Topics
Many of us have seen the importance of mindfulness in our classrooms and personal lives. Being present and aware are integral to truly absorbing what is around you. How mindful are we of exactly what is around us in the classroom? The physical space we build for our students is often an afterthought to efficiency and more intangible metrics of behaviour and dynamics. This year, I made it my goal to be mindful of the materials within my classroom and how well they represent the values I hope we exercise within these walls.
Topics: Art, Student Work, Indigenous History, Social and Emotional Learning, Middle School, Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy, facing history pedagogy, Treaty, Facing Canada, cross curricular teaching and learning
Ever since attending my first Facing History and Ourselves workshop, I have looked for ways to incorporate Facing History pedagogy into my middle-years classroom. This year, I used the scope and sequence and pedagogical triangle to design the structure of my Grade 8 English Language Arts course.
Why Cross Curricular?
We know that time with students is limited, so taking advantage of repeated themes which exist between courses to help build bridges between knowledge gaps is an effective strategy. We also know that in the hecticness of a regular school day, these great concepts are often just that- concepts- because we don’t have time to take on anything more between teaching, marking, meetings, that varsity game you promised to attend, and the play you are helping find props for. Here are a few ideas with ready-to-use resources so that, if one speaks to you, you can easily use it within your classroom sooner rather than later. Remember, trying out one of these ideas on your own first and then looking to next year to work collaboratively can be a starting point, if finding an interested colleague to collaborate with proves difficult.