Core knowledge: Social Studies

Dear M. Kelchuk,

I am so pleased to have you joining my classroom and look forward to collaborating with you.

What a loaded and complex question you have asked me, I will do my best to answer your query. I think that what is most important for any Canadian students, whether they’re newly or arrived or born here, is  to be taught a more realistic, multi-perspective view of Canada’s past. Once our students can understand the past they will better understand how previous interactions are currently coming into play and being replicated. Many cultures that exist in Canada have had their perspective on our history silenced, displaying to our students a very culturally homogenous perception of our past and present.

One such cultural group is that of First Nations peoples. I believe it is incredibly important to discuss,teach and learn about the various and diverse Aboriginal cultures that exist in this vast country and more importantly the abuse and cultural cleansing that has been inflicted on these particular Canadians. The result of our past actions has caused a big fraction of our peoples values to be underrepresented, undervalued and in many ways completely disrespected. Anytime a group of people is ostracized there will be resulting tensions and social impact and without explaining the perspective of these marginalized groups, students will have a very superficial view of their country and its inhabitants. For this reason, I think it is important for social studies to play a big part of classroom curriculum.

Social studies is also a great way to integrate a more multidisciplinary approach to teaching. Through the exploration of different cultures you can address many of the prescribed learning outcomes (PLO’s). If we look again at First Nation cultures we could very easily integrate science and art PLO’s into a cultural study. For example, to do this when teaching a lesson about the Haida people I might integrate natural sciences by talking about how they collect Cedar bark without damaging the tree and going into greater detail about how trees get sustenance. I could also talk about Haida carvings, the symbols used and their other forms of Art and have students do Art project inspired by what they have learned.

Of course, this is just my opinion and as you and I both know everyone has their  bias. My best advice to you during this exchange is really just to keep an open mind about our students and try to use their cultural diversity as an opening to integrate the other materials you hope to cover. Please let me know if you have any more questions, I am sure you will do just fine. I look forward to meeting you.


Charlotte Bodolec

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