My participation and proficiency in the TALONS Socials Canada from 1815-1914 Unit has been very good. I am effective member of the class and I positively contribute to the learning environment by sharing my knowledge and opinions. I have a complete and thorough understanding of the material covered in class, I have met all the PLOs set out by the Ministry of Education and in many cases I believe I have exceeded these recommendations. I have a good understanding of major events and influential people that had a part in shaping Canada’s identity from 1815-1914 and I have an increased awareness of how this identity has changed and evolved into that of present day Canada. Over the course of this unit I have also been able to gather enough information and understanding to form my own view of Canada’s identity. Through this process I have learned about the differences in the lives and cultures of people in various ethnic groups, how these groups interacted with one another and the structure and narratives of the Canadian government pre, during and post confederation as well as in the past 50 years. Reflecting on the past year of Social Studies, I believe I have thoroughly met the expectations set out by the Ministry of Education and I am fully meeting or exceeding in the areas of engagement and participation, documents of learning, reflections and summative assessments.
Early on in the school year, I conducted my Eminent Person Project on a Canadian Bagpiper and during the development of this project I met all the PLOs in section A through my research, synthesis and presentation on Night of the Notables. Through this process I also began to meet PLO B3 which relates to the influence of immigration on Canadian society from 1815-1914. The large volume of Scottish immigrants to early Canada is the main reason why, to this day, there are still such large and pronounced Scottish communities and regularly celebrated traditions.
In the previous term I gained an in-depth understanding of the life of Sir Alexander Campbell as well as the lives of people who shared his place in society in terms of gender, race and class. I achieved this through my participation in the Canadian Confederation Role Play and my research regarding his life and legacy. I also learned about the colonization, settlement and governmental reform that led to the confederation of Canada through class discussions, reading articles and conducting my own research. For a more detailed reflection on my prior learning as of the Socials Midterm you can check out my blog post.
This term I definitely met the goal I set in my Midterm to learn more about PLOs B1-B4 and in this section is where I believe I did some of my best work. An example of this is my work in regards to PLO B2 or evaluating the impact of interactions between Aboriginal peoples and European explorers and settlers. After discussing the topic, specifically residential schools, reserves and the Indian Act, in class I wrote a blog post about the ways interactions between Aboriginal people and the governments of Canada and New Zealand differ. After conducting research and talking to some of my friends from New Zealand, I formed the opinion that, somewhere along its history, New Zealand did something right which dramatically increased the historical understanding and integration of the Maori culture. I then conducted more research and wrote my Op-Ed relating to PLO B2 on the action New Zealand has taken to improve its countries aboriginal relations and how I believe Canada could and should do the same. However, I think the best part of this process was the fact that a week or two after I finished my Op-Ed, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Published their report and recommendation for actions the Government of Canada can take to improve Aboriginal relations and address and reconcile the past.
I gained a thorough understanding of PLOs C1-C4 as well as an understanding of modern politics and the political narratives of the current political parties. Through class discussions and readings about the National Policy, CPR Railway and westward expansion I built on my understanding of Canadian politics from 1815-1914 that I gained through the Confederation Role Play in the previous term. I developed my knowledge on this topic and PLOs D and E further during the final Social Studies unit on modern political economy. By analysing the political narratives of the past and modern governmental parties I was able to make connections and get a sense of the recurring patterns in Canadian Politics. After in class discussions, debates and research in regards to the current political parties narratives for the upcoming federal election, I was able to identify a personally relevant political narrative and objectively compare the political parties’ platforms to find a match. I wrote my blog post about my political narrative of ensuring jobs for young Canadians and compared the information I had found in a mind map. In class we also discussed the role of the environment in modern politics and made a mind map about the four main political parties’ narratives in regards to the environment.
Additionally, I have been participating in committee work within TALONS and within my band which shares many parallels to the structure of a democratic government and the process of decision making and conflict resolution that occurs within this type of government. I also had my Op-Ed for my EIIP Group published in a local paper. This term I developed my ability to synthesis and process large amounts of information and create my own conclusions or opinions. I believe this is evident in my blog posts, op-ed and contribution to in class discussions. My goal for improvement for next year is to learn to use more types of media to effectively represent and collect documents of my learning.
I have many thoughtful and useful documents of learning that I put a considerable amount of effort into during the course of the socials unit. They are of various media including my paper notes, my electronic blog posts, my spoken final address, my Op-Ed and my Socials Final. I take notes or mind maps on a regular basis and I believe that they are like sub or supporting documents of learning in the sense that they help me produce higher quality blog posts, help me draw connections between events and cement important ideas or concepts.
When it comes to summative assessments and reflections I like to group them into the same category because I believe that they lead to a similar, if not the same, end product. Summative assessments or tests, like a thoughtful and honest reflection, will give you an answer to the basic questions “What do I know or understand?” and “what do I need to improve on or learn more about?” Both are, in my opinion, effective forms of assessment and necessary in the education system as it is now. In terms of my own reflection and performance in regards to summative assessments throughout this unit, I believe this social studies midterm assignment, in conjunction with my blog posts and in class role play, is a prime example of my reflection abilities and a good piece of work to be assessed or graded. For this assignment I am reflecting on my own performance compared to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Education, what I was able to grasp and what I would like to learn more about. Most importantly I am also reflecting on how I developed an understanding of concepts, why they are important concepts and what I still strive to understand.