Education News Fall2015/Winter 2016 - Page 6

GOVERNOR GENERAL ’ S HISTORY AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING
Photo Credit : MCpl Vincent Carbonneau , Rideau Hall , © OSGG , 2015

RECOGNITION OF ACHIEVEMENT

GOVERNOR GENERAL ’ S HISTORY AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING

Photo : At the Canada ’ s History Awards in Ottawa . ( L-R ) His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston , Governor General of Canada , presented the Governor General ’ s History Award for Excellence in Teaching to Kim Sadowsky . When receiving the award this fall in Ottawa , Kim dedicated the award to the reconciliation of Treaty relationships in Canada .
In October 2015 , Kim Sadowsky , a teacher at Thom Collegiate and a Master ’ s of Education ( Curriculum & Instruction ) student in the Faculty of Education , University of Regina , was announced one of six winners of the 2015 Governor General ’ s History Award for Excellence in Teaching .
Recipients of this award are celebrated for their achievements in teaching Canadian history . Kim ’ s success is due to the design of her Native Studies class , which explores the question , “ Who is a Treaty Person ?” The class re-enacts Canadian history throughout the semester in a simulation .
The following is Kim ’ s description of the course :
“ In Native Studies 10 / 30 , students embark on a Treaty simulation that lasts the entire semester and takes them through an intricate role-play where students become the Indigenous peoples of Treaty # 4 territory in what is now Saskatchewan . It is a living simulation where each day the students are playing out key events in Canada ’ s history and drawing their own conclusions about how the events of the past have influenced their place in Canada today as Treaty people . Their course goal is to create an inquiry-based or social-action project that demonstrates their knowledge of Canada ’ s Treaty relationships and encourages others to acknowledge that ‘ We Are All Treaty People ’ and as such have a responsibility in understanding and acknowledging our shared history of this land .
The semester begins with one simple question : “ Who is a Treaty person ?” From this question , our entire course unravels as students relive Canadian history from both an Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspective . The goal of the course is for students to begin to act on their understanding that being a Treaty person carries a massive responsibility in working towards decolonizing and reconciling Treaty relationships .
Students and even the teacher play the role of either the Indigenous peoples or the Government of Canada as they take part in the simulation . They begin with Treaty negotiations as the classroom is transformed into a historical time warp . Eventually , students are assigned reserves ( certain areas of the classroom ) in which they are to live . The Residential school , offices of the Indian Agents , and the Prime Ministers headquarters are also assigned locations in the classroom .
Throughout the semester , students experience day-to-day scenarios in which history is played out : Everything from the Indian Act , to attending residential school or being forced to leave their reserve because of Enfranchisement is re-enacted . Later in the semester , they visit ideas of revitalization and resource development on reserve , truth and reconciliation , and current events from society and politics .
Nearing the end of the course when the residential school is closed , students discuss the contemporary effects of inter-generational traumas and current social issues that have resulted from Canadian history . They explore their own family roots and stories , acknowledging their identities within this history . Students piece together how the past has impacted their understanding of the present , and as a result , they create hopeful healing and possibilities for the future . They acknowledge and celebrate the success and contributions of Canada ’ s Indigenous peoples to the building of Canada and society today .
During the simulation students gain knowledge and empathy as they navigate thru Canadian history and critically develop the skills to investigate the perspectives of various decisions that were made by the Canadian government and Indigenous people .
As much as possible , the content of the course is delivered in the oral tradition to honour Indigenous ways of knowing . Primary sources are used as much as possible if there are to be written documents . The students have access to elders , residential school survivors , local authors , politicians , and familial stories to really make this history live .
Students are connecting with material that makes it real and meaningful . It is one thing to learn about decolonizing from books … it is quite another thing to live it . That is what the simulation attempts to do .
The students ’ final project is to create and show an exhibition of their learning . The outcome is to demonstrate their understanding of
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