Three Day Professional Development Series for Teachers - Advancing Reconciliation in Education
In 2016, the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights engaged in a collaborative pilot project with five schools in Edmonton Catholic and Edmonton Public School Boards. The program applied a reconciliation through a human rights-based lens, exploring a variety of topics including the history of Residential Schools, the Blanket Exercise, Treaty, Worldview, Indigenous Language, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and Children’s Rights. After the first exploration, Advancing Reconciliation in Education facilitated the participation of students in a a process of building their own calls to action. Those calls to action were captured in art forms, videos, documents, a zine, and concrete actions that affected their school communities in positive ways . Permanent displays featuring student learning and messages to survivors of residential schools and a treaty recognition poster contest are some of the school-wide initiatives that students have moved forward on.
This project inspired the creation of a pedagogical resource directed to teachers and community trainers with a full curriculum (lessons, activities, etc) to provide teachers across the province with a meaningful process to educate on reconciliation. The relevance of this toolkit is strengthened by the fact that it was built with community and student participation and based on the experience of Human Rights educators who piloted the sessions in schools with the support and guidance of local indigenous knowledge holders and elders. https://www.jhcentre.org/reconciliation-in-schools/
The Advancing Reconciliation in Education Professional Development Series workshops provide the opportunity to work through the toolkit and learn skills and processes to apply that knowledge in the classroom. JHC will provide a framework for teachers to introduce and work through Canada’s complex and challenging history, while inspiring action and understanding in schools and the broader community.
This series equips teachers with skills to be in accordance with the new Teacher Quality Standard set by Alberta Education in the areas of Applying Foundational Knowledge about First Nations, Metis, Inuit, Fostering Effective Relationships, and Establishing Inclusive Learning Environments.
"Education, or what passed for it, got us into this situation, and education is what will lead us out. Schools seem to us to be one of the best vehicles to create and sustain a change in the attitude of all Canadians to the nature of the relationship that must exist between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in this country." Murray Sinclair
Session One: Starting the Conversation
The first full day workshop provides a starting point to open conversations about our shared history and a framework for introducing Truth and Reconciliation in the classroom. This first day aims to create a safe and supportive space for teachers to work through some important questions about teaching reconciliation in an age appropriate way. In this session facilitators introduce the toolkit and provide a grounding in some foundational principles for reconciliation: the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and local Treaties. Participants have the opportunity to learn from a local Elder/Knowledge Keeper who lead us in ceremony, share teachings and help work through some of the questions and barriers that may arise. Cross cultural dialogue about reconciliation in schools is fundamental to the day, as well as the sharing of best practices and introducing the sessions of the toolkit.
Session Two: Truth Before Reconciliation
The second full day workshop provides participants the opportunity to delve deeper into activities and topics of the toolkit. This session demonstrates collaborative, participatory learning activities to discuss Treaty, UNDRIP and Reclaiming Indigenous Language and Worldview in education and explore alternative pedagogies for the classroom. The JHC models age appropriate ways to bring these concepts into the classroom and engages with a local Indigenous knowledge keeper to explore the local context of these topics.
Session Three: Turning Knowledge into Action
This third and last session is also a hands on workshop designed to explore how teachers can hold space for difficult topics and use student participation and art-making to help students process our colonial history, express their feelings about Canada’s past, and bring students to recognize their agency through art and activism. The Calls to Action process is an important way for students of all ethnic and racial backgrounds to recognize that their voices are valued, that they can be agents of change, and contribute to meaningful conversations and actions in their school and community. In this workshop, we model process, present concrete examples of students’ work, and provide teachers with practical tools and examples to implement the process in their classroom. Teachers also walk away with a clear idea and strategy of how to respectfully connect with local community resources to support the journey they will begin with their students.
- Lethbridge: SAPDC (Southern Alberta Professional Development Consortium, 1701 5 Ave S). Dates: Nov 6, Nov 7, Nov 27.
- Cold Lake: LNES. Dates: Oct. 2, Jan. 19, Mar. 15.
- Red Deer: CARC (8 Page Avenue). Dates: Oct 12, Nov 2, Nov 16.
- Edmonton: ERLC. Dates: Oct. 23, Nov. 20, Jan. 29.
- Grand Prairie: NRLC. Dates: Oct. 16, Nov. 13, Jan. 17.