Category Archives: Teaching History

Ontario History Curriculum: Many Questions to be Answered

By Samantha Cutrara This academic year I’ll be writing a series of blog posts for Active History focused on history education in Canada. In these posts, I’ll be outlining the Canadian History and Social Studies curricula for each province and identifying some possible opportunities for collaboration between historians/archivists and teachers in elementary and secondary schools. As I mentioned in my… Read more »

The Hubris of Academe, or, “Students Suck”

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By Elise Chenier There are few moments in life as self-defining as being awarded a PhD. I got mine in 2001 from Queen’s University, one of Canada’s “top” schools. The ceremony required me to kneel before the Chancellor who tapped me once on each shoulder with his mortarboard. It did its magic. When I stood up and crossed that stage,… Read more »

Do you know what the children are learning?

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By Samantha Cutrara What is the purpose of learning history? Are we doomed to repeat it? Do we lose grounding? Are we stranded without space or place? Does history provide us with the skills for understanding evidence or content for narrating experience? As adults, as educators, as historians, we answer these questions with a blend of cliché and seriousness, never… Read more »

Why so dull Canada? Deconstructing Children’s Books on Confederation

Canadian history is often perceived as dull, but I argue that Canada’s history has been made dull in order to obfuscate the diversity of experiences that were legislatively supposed to be outside the experience of the newly confederated Canada

“In Defense of … “: Historical Thinking and Cultural Appropriation

By Andrew Nurse This is the second essay in a three part series on historical thinking and cultural appropriation. For the first part in the series, click here. One of the key characteristics of the commentaries that defend cultural appropriation is that they come in the guise of history. A friend sent me one today that referred back to Elvis… Read more »

Dreams of This as Home: Chinese labourers in children’s history books

Samantha Cutrara, PhD My last two blog posts for ActiveHistoy.ca deconstructed pre- and post-Confederation Canadian history in children’s books. My findings suggested that stories that explored difficult histories or social justice topics often did not connect these stories to larger national forces and thus felt isolated from the rest of Canadian history. These findings suggest a dangerous separation. Historians, teachers,… Read more »

Teaching the Legacy of the Sixties Scoop and Addressing Ongoing Child Welfare Inequality in the Classroom

Krista McCracken Over the past six years, while working at the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre, I’ve seen a significant growth of awareness among students and community groups about the history residential schools.  Granted, this awareness can still be hit and miss and there are definitely still many misconceptions about residential schools, however an increasing number of visitors come to the… Read more »

Doing The Work: The Historian’s Place in Indigenization and Decolonization

Skylee-Storm Hogan and Krista McCracken Indigenization and decolonize are words that seem to be permeating institutional conversations in the heritage world and in the post-secondary field right now.  Despite the  frequent use of these words there are still many questions about what the terms mean and how they can be moved into practice. Earlier this month Dr. Shuaneen Pete spoke… Read more »

Deconstructing Children’s History Books: Residential Schools

By Samantha Cutrara Children’s historical books can serve many purposes. They can teach children about history, as well as develop emotion and empathy about figures from the past. In “Recreating the Past,” Evelyn Freeman and Linda Levstik argue that children’s historical fiction fosters ongoing process of historical interpretation in which the child is an active participant (pg. 331). From my own experience… Read more »

Dusting off the history of drought on the Canadian Prairies in the 1930s

By George Colpitts, Shannon Stunden Bower and Bill Waiser [Editors note: this post was prepared for both our website and NiCHE-Canada.org where it was published on Monday, November 28, 2016]. The dustbowl years on the Canadian prairies live on in the imaginations and landscapes of Western Canadians. Elderly survivors might still leave teacups upside down on saucers, as they did… Read more »