As we reach the mid-point of our semester in Social Studies, we have begun to piece together our various assignments, projects, discussions, and role-plays, and contextualize them in relation to the course curriculum. This process serves to give us an idea of which prescribed learning outcomes (PLO’s) have been checked off our list, and the ones that will be explored more rigorously in the following months. For myself, I’ve felt that I have a fairly decent handhold on many of the components of the curriculum, but know that certain PLO’s will require some more attention as the semester continues.
It can be said that the Socials 10 curriculum has distinct categories of PLO’s; the A section generally covers the skills and processes used in Social Studies, while B-E covers the historical factors that contributed to Canada from 1814-1915. That being said, the PLO’s are generally not covered sequentially, as a lot of the learning outcomes are met simultaneously through activities in and out of class. The over-arching activity in which I engaged in the most productive learning was the Confederation Role-Play, where I blogged, tweeted, and discussed confederation issues from the perspective of Marie-Anne Gaboury, a Western settler during the early to mid 1800‘s. Through my animation of this historical character, I was able to not only cover PLO’s that directly related to a French-Canadian middleclass-woman, but also had the opportunity to interact with characters of other political and ethnic groups. It was this interaction that ended up providing the deepest rooting for my understanding of some of the curriculum expectations
Firstly, I feel that I was able to cover large parts of the B2 PLO (evaluate the impact of interactions between Aboriginal peoples and European explorers), more specifically in the areas of Aboriginal-European relations, and the impact of Aboriginals on the identity of Canada. Through early improvised discussions between ethnic groups during the role-play, other students made clear some of the desires and fears of the Aboriginals, and I managed to sift through some of the ideas from my character’s perspective. Would Gaboury support or refute the Aboriginal standpoint? What were her own relationships with the Aboriginals like? Using a biased character to explore the curriculum allowed me to view both the Aboriginal and French-Canadian perspectives critically, and some of my proposed answers to these questions are answered in my first blog post. Furthermore, in the days leading up to the final confederation conference I had discussions with Tecumseh’s character about the possibility of a pan- aboriginal union separate from Canada, but ultimately decided it was not in my character’s best interest to join with them. However, my verbal participation in the conference itself allowed me to express my opinions and support for their proposed endeavour, showing a more strengthened understanding of their political and cultural importance in Canada. Lastly, a third aspect of B2 was explored in a CRAAP testing blog post discussing the rationale for treaties. In the post, I explore the ideas of a “Euro-centric mindset” and was able to discuss some of the factors that contributed to treaty conflict.
The Confederation Role-play also brought with it a more thorough understanding of C2, regarding the historical conferences that led to the creation of Canada. I was able get a pretty firm grasp on the succession of the conferences, and took notes for myself to understand the process and method in which the conferences took place. Again, this PLO was also supported by our own TALONS conference, which allowed us to play around with a similar structure and to fight for our own party’s desires and wishes for Canada. Through this activity, the biggest thing I noticed was how spread apart the parties were near the beginning of the conference, but how communication and negotiation provided more effective compromise for resolutions. In addition, the recreated conference also covered parts of A3, demonstrating argumentative and collaborative skills through the creating of an argument with other French Canadians (even though our own individual desires were often varied). A3 was also demonstrated in my Final Address, in which I performed as Gaboury to look forward into the future of Canada and project her own fears and wishes into the speech itself. Although Gaboury wasn’t a major player in the political side of Confederation, I felt that the final address was an effective oral representation of how one might feel as a compassionate observer to the union made in 1867.
In contrast to the PLO’s that have been met, there were times within Social Studies Activities that I was especially aware of the learning outcomes that were yet to be completed. For example, I am less familiar with B3 than I’d like to be (evaluate the influence of immigration on Canadian society), specifically relating to the Underground Railway. There were some characters in the Confederation Role-Play that were heavily involved in the railway, but during class discussions, I sometimes found it difficult to follow along when the topic was brought up. More interactions with these heavily involved characters may have improved my understanding of the Underground Railway, and helped to add some more context and depth to my more basic knowledge. However, because all the confederation blog posts still exist, I am planning to go over them with a bit more attention, which will hopefully aid me if the topic comes up in our Northwest studies. My starting point would probably be with Harriet Tubman on Tim’s blog.
I believe that room for improvement can also be found in B1’s ‘compare the roles and daily activities of men and women’ and B2’s ‘assess the role of Aboriginal women in the fur trade’. Both of these PLO’s go past the grand, historical events, and concentrate more on the nuance of gender roles and the duties of everyday life. I first became more interested in these sections while watching the CBC’s Riel, which portrays the way of life that is quite different than the one we carry out in our modern Canadian society. Again, becoming more active within other students’s blog posts would add more depth to my knowledge on this issue, but I expect to become more engaged in these PLO’s as we continue to study the Northwest and the fur trade. I could also expand my knowledge in these areas by doing some more research in these areas, but also by exploring other documentaries that might portray the more day-to-day activities and roles that took place during this time.
I will apologize for the sheer length of this post, but I assure you that it is soon wrapping up! The PLO’s that I mentioned (both in the ‘covered’ and ‘room for improvement’ categories) were able to observed through my own learning processes and products. It was an interesting experience to asses myself in this way, as it brought to light not only points of strength, but perhaps also some shortcomings in diligent Social Studies engagement. Overall, my path is somewhat more defined for the second half of the semester, and the themes of the curriculum are becoming clearer. Now that we’ve gained some momentum, I look forward to furthering my interaction with the Socials Studies curriculum in the weeks to come.