Ontario’s gone Global !
Woven throughout the new Ontario Social Studies curriculum, at both the elementary and secondary levels, are Units of Study asking students and teachers to consider the voices, experiences, and realities of communities around the corner and around the world.
In Grade 2, the People and Environments Strand Unit of Study is Global communities. What does this mean for teachers trying to put together lessons ? This means that students are encouraged to consider peoples’ identities beyond geographical boundaries; that there are Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims all over the world, and right here in Kingston. This concept of community identity beyond borders also applies to many Canadian First Nations peoples; such as peoples of the Algonquin confederacy like the
Ka Nee-en Ka ( Mohawk), and the Aboriginal peoples of Australia and New Zealand.
Global communities also giving our students a chance too see how some children live in different geographic regions of the world, and that the level of material wealth experienced there does not always directly determine quality of life or happiness.
In Grade 6, students are asked to explore, identify and understand how Canada’s geopolitical and economic institutions influence how we interact with other countries through trade, and international regulatory bodies like the UN.
In Grade 7 &8, students can focus more critically on how physical geographic differences result in economic development differences and perhaps even a misuse of resources through waste or over consumption, or through a disregard of endangered species in order to combat human poverty. The vast differences in the health, wealth and access to education available to people based solely on place of birth can be explored. A great age to discuss the difference between gender equality and rights of the child that may be guaranteed in LAW, but what happens in reality is a different story !
As students move into secondary grades, the shift in study moves from exploring and awareness, to unpacking the deep, historically based complexities that make solving contemporary issues of global inequality so difficult. Asking our young adult students to think critically about the long term impact of decisions made by leaders of the past that were perhaps made without a full understanding or appreciation of culture or environmental impact, may serve to create citizens who demand that their own business and government leaders do not act in haste.
Even more exciting? The thought that their own inquiry pursuits may inspire them to become those leaders.
The Queen’s Teacher Resource Centre has many resources for teachers of any grade who are taking this exciting journey with their students around the globe and home again. Click on the link to the list at your grade level, and if you can’t find what you’re looking, contact the TRC for further resource support !