Defining moments in Canada

I’ll put the credit to Paul McGuire for getting me curious about Canadian History again. It came as a result of a blog post that he made sharing his thoughts as be does his research for his PhD course.

As I mentioned on the This Week in Ontario Edublogs show, I never was big about History in school. It seemed like an endless flow of movies and memorization. To the defense of my teachers, I probably have got it wrong as memory can be selective at times.

As I was doing my research for the show and then later in discussion with Stephen Hurley, I got to think about current events and the rewriting of history as I knew it. I know that the ultimate goal is to get it right.

The big issue around here is in the construction of the new secondary school. The current one and, indeed our town, is name in recognition of Jeffrey Amherst. The new school, however, won’t carry that name, instead being called North Star High School. Not everyone is supporting of a name change. Apparently, it’s going even further with the town rethinking itself.

It’s not the first time that we’ve experienced this in Canada. Notably, we have the name change of Berlin to Kitchener which was the first that came to mind for me. We’re noticing in the news recently. that there are other changes, like dropping the reference to John A. McDonald in the Peel District.

As we know, these days, information doesn’t just go away. Post it once and it’s there forever or until you delete it. But, by that time, it may have been copied or archived somewhere else. The net result may well be two versions of the same story.

We’ve just gone through another April 1 where the real news continues but also a lot of sources feel compelled to write a story that tests your abilities to understand what you’re reading.

Going full circle on this, it’s nice to be able to rely on a resource that will stand the test of time and serves useful in the classroom. One that you might find handy is the Defining Moments Canada website.

It’s not an all-inclusive resource but addresses huge moments for all Canadians.

For education, there are resources about how to use these in the classroom which would be incredibly helpful.

Of course, this doesn’t cover everything Canadian but there’s one page that I think is particularly useful and introduces me to the expression “Curatorial thinking”.

Curatorial thinking empowers students not only to demonstrate their learning, but to discover new connections allowing them to contribute to our understanding of the past and to positively influence the future. 

If you’re addressing things Canadian in your classroom, you owe it to yourself to check out this resource and see where it can help you.


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