Pupils to study residential schools

Subject to enter grades 9 and 11 curriculums in a Manitoba first

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MANITOBA high school students will become the first in Canada to study residential schools as a significant part of mandatory history courses.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/06/2010 (4542 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

MANITOBA high school students will become the first in Canada to study residential schools as a significant part of mandatory history courses.

The province will pilot the new program, From Apology to Reconciliation, in schools this fall, and implement it in the curriculum province-wide in Grade 9 social studies and Grade 11 history in September 2011.

"We’re the first jurisdiction in Canada to have this thorough a curriculum," Education Minister Nancy Allan said in an interview Tuesday. "We’re a model for the rest of the country."

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES Students at Birtle Residential School assemble for photo. Manitoba high schoolers will study topic.

Allan said residential schools have been included in the curriculum before but there will now be substantial training programs offered to teachers and extensive resources and material. Each grade will have five lessons a year covering residential schools.

"It is so significantly important, particularly because of the depth and breadth of this historical point of view," Allan said. "We have placed significant emphasis on aboriginal perspectives.

"We involved residential school survivors, elders, educators and community members," she said.

The pilot project will be launched in four schools still to be named — one in an urban school division, another in a rural school division and two in First Nations schools, which use the provincial curriculum.

Allan said there will be training for teachers in the new curricular materials on professional development days during the 2010-2011 school year. Next January, the province will organize regional training sessions to which each division will send teachers who, in turn, will help train the rest of their divisions’ teachers in the materials.

Allan said Manitoba began serious preparation for the new curriculum two years ago when Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued an apology for residential schools.

Last week, the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) began its nationwide hearings in Winnipeg, interviewing and listening to survivors of residential schools.

Helen Robinson-Settee, director of the province’s aboriginal education directorate, said the province is "developing a teacher’s guide and a DVD. The DVD highlights a number of residential school students and their children tell stories of their experiences," she said.

"They talk about the impact that residential schools had on their families."

Robinson-Settee said there will be no specific reference to churches, though some survivors name a church. But there will be a timeline and historical detail about the arrival of Europeans.

"You really can’t talk about residential schools unless you go into colonization," Robinson-Settee said. "In Grade 11, you’d go into more detail."

Robinson-Settee said Yukon is the only other jurisdiction to introduce residential schools into the curriculum. That happens in Grade 6.

The subject is covered in Grade 11 native studies courses, which are optional. "In Frontier School Division, it’s mandatory that every student who graduates takes an aboriginal studies course," Robinson-Settee said.

"We’re developing the learning resources to support teachers," she said.

The province is working with the TRC, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Manitoba Métis Federation and the Treaty Relations Commission to establish a speakers’ bureau.

Further details and a five-minute preview of the DVD are online at

http://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/cur/socstud/far/index.html

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

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