Critical pedagogy: a path to Canadian core knowledge.

Hello Ms. Nilsen,

It is with great excitement that we await your arrival here at VAN Elementary. As educators, we are excited to share in your knowledge and improve our practice, while the students can’t stop talking about how they will learn a few Norwegian turns of phrase. For now, however I am happy to answer your questions – starting with what every Canadian needs to know.

In answering this question I began to realise that the answer lays more in the ways we know than in what we know. There is no doubt in my mind that the history of the country is an important part of the curriculum, as are reading, writing, art, science, and math. However, I believe that the ways in which we teach these subjects, and in turn how we ask students to think about these subjects, is what we should be focusing on. I believe that students learn as much from the content that we teach as they do from the manner in which we teach them. That being the case I believe we should be focusing on teaching critical thinking skills, mindful interpersonal skills and how to value knowledge of all varieties. It is with these building blocks that our students can become informed human beings who engage in active community building.

As educators we are afforded the opportunity to offer knowledge as a tool. We have the ability to engage with our students in such a way that the knowledge they gain from our classes can be used to help them deal critically with the realities they face. In doing so they will also be able to dismantle constructs and begin to transform said reality – in this way education and knowledge, as per Feire, become liberating.

We are currently at an interesting juncture in British Columbia Ms. Nielsen. The ministry of education has recently drafted a new curriculum that will begin to be taught in September 2015. This new curriculum offers a lot of space for educators to get creative. It is my hope that this space for creativity brings new energy to the practice of critical pedagogy, for it is my belief that valuing knowledge in such a way is at the core of “what every Canadian needs to know”.

I look forward to your arrival,

Ms. Fleming

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