The issue of how best to teach students about the residential school legacy was the top topic of a recent gathering of educators from all over the province.
They gathered in Richmond for a professional development day workshop and many say it was a valuable opportunity to see classroom resources developed y the first nations education steering committee and the first nations schools association.
Responding to a recent study that found teachers in Ontario lacked the confidence in their ability to teach about the state funded, church run school, some participants said they lacked ability to deal with the topic. But those same teachers noted after the session their level of comfort with the issue was greater
Stephanie Duncan who teachers in Coquitlam says she first taught about residential schools and reconciliation five years ago in collaboration with an indigenous youth workers and a school survivor.
All through the day long gathering, the educators poured through the resources and talked about when to introduce the topic during the school year and how to ensure supports are in place for students who might have a strong emotional reaction to the topic.
She adds it is empowering to understand the legacy doesn’t have to be repeated, but at the same time it gives students a good understanding of what happened in the past.
The next workshop will deal with integrating indigenous knowledge and perspectives into elementary and high school science classes.