“When Social Justice Goes Viral: How 2012 was the Year Canadian Teachers Learned How to Confront our Country’s Hidden History”

SylviaTuesday November 21 at 5:30 to 6:30.

 477 Lamoureux Hall (LMX)

Lecture in English

Sylvia Smith is a  Teacher at Elizabeth Wyn Wood Alternate High School

As educators, we want our teaching practice to build confidence, self-esteem, and collective well-being amongst our learners.  And as teachers, parents, care-givers, concerned members of our communities, we anxiously hope for these outcomes.  But too often such goals remain mere buzz-phrases and educational jargon. This presentation will demonstrate how teachers can make the high-sounding ideals come to life for our students, by teaching and modeling for social justice.

Sylvia Smith is a high school teacher in Ottawa, Ontario. Since 2007 she has been teaching her history students about the difficult topic of Indian Residential Schools. In December 2011, Sylvia won the Governor General’s History Award for Teaching Excellence for the Project of Heart learning module she created to teach about the Residential School era; over 140 schools across Canada have now participated in the project. By 2013, 70,000 tiles commemorating students who attended Indian Residential Schools will have been created by project participants.

Project of Heart will demonstrate how all aspects of the learner in both formal and informal learning environments can be engaged through art and activism, to center the lived experiential knowledge of the “experts” — the Indian Residential School survivors themselves. Participants will learn how to engage the heart and spirit so our quest for reconciliation can become a reality.