TDSB approves replacing current Grade 11 English course with class focusing on First Nations writers

TDSB approves replacing current Grade 11 English course with class focusing on First Nations writers

Trustees from the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) have voted in favor of a motion to replace the current Grade 11 English course with a curriculum that instead focuses on First Nations, Métis and Inuit writers.

The motion was accepted with 18 votes to 3.

Before the vote, student trustee Isaiah Shafqat, who is a member of the Two-Spirit Mi’kmaq and the Loon clan, urged trustees to support the motion as it sends a message of solidarity and a message that indigenous perspectives matter .

“I would like to emphasize to Trustees and the public that we are not substituting Shakespeare, Dickens or (other) classic literature for Indigenous authors such as Leanne Simpson or Tanya Talaga. We simply dedicate one of the four compulsory English credits to each and every one of the four mandatory English credits that high school students have to complete an indigenous education course,” he said.

“This satisfies calls to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada 63.1: to make an age-appropriate residential school curriculum, treaties, and the historical and contemporary contributions of Aboriginal people for Canada a mandatory educational requirement for kindergarten children through Grade 12.”

A number of trustees also supported the application, saying it was a crucial step and an opportunity for student enrichment.

“By incorporating Indigenous authors and texts into 11th grade English, students not only meet 11th graders’ expectations of English, but also learn about a whole range of notable First Nations, Metis and Inuit literature from which they might not learn in other courses,” TDSB Chair Rachel Chernos Lin said in a statement after the vote.

The application was submitted and accepted by the TDSB’s Planning and Priority Committee on January 26.

It requires that the Director of Education submit a report on a plan for the phased implementation of Contemporary First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Voices (NBE3U1) (NBE3C1) as a compulsory Grade 11 English grade for university, college and workplace in all TDSB secondary schools .

The course is already offered in some schools as an alternative to the compulsory English course in the 11th grade, but it is not compulsory. No changes are proposed to the English program for Years 9, 10 and 12.

While the course focuses on contemporary First Nations, Métis and Inuit voices rather than European writers, it is still intended to prepare students for the compulsory Year 12 English course.

In moving the application to the TDSB’s Planning and Priorities Committee, Trustees cited the inclusion of First Nations voices in the mandatory curriculum as part of implementing the recommendations of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, recognizing such voices as “an integral part of Canada.” Story.”

The motion requires the Director of Education to submit a report no later than June this year. The motion also calls for the director to explore how Indigenous education can also be embedded into the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs at TDSB.

Colleen Russell-Rawlins, the board’s education director, said in a statement that she fully supports the implementation of the course.

“Indigenous elders and scholars have reminded us that truth must come before reconciliation, but the TDSB and Ontario education system do not yet have a mechanism in place to ensure all students learn truth about Indigenous brilliance, contributions and history and from contemporary indigenous voices learning Canada,” she said. “This is an exciting opportunity to ensure our students graduate with a better understanding of indigenous cultures and history than their parents/carers.”

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