Over the past three months Facing History and Ourselves, in partnership with Regent Park Focus and with funding from Mozilla Hive Community Projects, worked with students from several Toronto District School Board high schools to create short radio pieces exploring issues important to local youth. This project was called RadioZilla.
“Sir, it keeps happening again and again. We don’t learn. I don’t think we’re going to get better. There doesn’t seem to be much hope.”
Three years ago a grade 12 student said this to me in my West and the World class. Every so often it echoes in my head. She was doing a research paper on Rwanda and the United Nations, and had done a significant amount of reading on the topic and she was passionately upset about how the world had allowed the Rwandan Genocide to happen.
With any new course, teachers will often ask themselves, “Where do I begin?” This is an even more daunting question when dealing with such a difficult subject as genocide. In my preparation for teaching the Grade 11 Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities course at Louise Arbour Secondary School, I asked myself, “How can the students and I relate to situations that are so extreme and beyond most of our experiences?”