Critical thinking and social consciousness

Dear Mrs. Galindo,

I am pleased to hear of your upcoming visit to my classroom. I am thrilled to share with you the foundation of the Canadian school system as well as my personal beliefs about what every Canadian needs to know today.

The Canadian school system continues to teach the proud history of Canada, including the French, English and Aboriginal founders. However, the telling of Canadian history has been told mostly from the perspective of white, male, European colonizers such as Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald. Stories of racial discrimination, exploitation and mistreatment of people (visible minorities such as women, aboriginal people, Asian immigrants) who have also helped create Canada have often been silenced from past teachings. Although the majority of Canada’s population over the past few centuries has been immigrants, the making of Canada is rife with discrimination, violence and racism towards people of a different culture, ethnicity, language, gender and religion.

As there has recently been a shift Canadian curriculum, teachers are now encouraged to incorporate aboriginal content in their classrooms. A positive step forward, this offers teachers a means with which to discuss with students the multiple, diverse, and often tragic histories of our country. Even today we live in globalized cities where ideas of culture, “race”, gender, ethnicity and language all intertwine to create complex interactions with social, political, economical and environmental implications. Our current issues are deeply rooted in our countries history; however, Canadians cannot continue accept only one type of narrative of our countries history if we want to understand the people who inhabit our country and live harmoniously with our global neighbours. Students’ critical thinking is a fundamental and paramount skill that can empower them to question, analyze, research information, opinions and prejudice.

I encourage my students to become responsible citizens of Canada and the world. My students learn and research about social, political and environmental injustices that have taken place and continue to take place in Canada and around the world. I believe in sharing the white, male colonizers perspective of Canadian history as well as investigating unpopular, untold, and silenced stories of equally important persons and events. My students learn about women like Nellie McClung, Japanese internment camps, Chinese head-tax, Komagata Maru, homelessness and residential schools. Global citizenship encourages development of socially conscious students who think more broadly about the diverse people on Earth and to develop appreciation and understanding of our planet. Ideas of humanity, human rights and unity through diversity should be at the forefront of teaching and guide students through learning. If we can bridge learning in the classroom with real-life events, students can connect with learning on a whole new level and becoming life-long learners.

I hope this helps to answer your question rather than confuse you, however such a simple question can lead to complicated answers. Please inform me of any further questions or concerns you may have. Looking forward to your visit.


Christine Joyce



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