Curriculum Analysis

Analysing Articles

Examining Opposing Viewpoints

Interpreting Folk Songs in History

Interpreting Cartoons

Responding Personally to Historical Information

Preparing to Conduct an Interview

Listening with Discrimination

Generalizing from Historical Data

Analysing Cause and Effect

The Confederation Debate: A Community Perspective

Examining Opposing Viewpoints

An approach which will help students to gain insights into an event is to examine views on related issues. Some views may be conventional, others radical or reactionary. By examining a range of arguments, one can understand the position of a particular point of view and, hence, more fully understand his or her own. More specifically, the student comes to realize that his or her own opinion is not the only one which is rational or defensible.

To assist in giving students the ability to critically analyse a piece of communication, the following material focuses on distinguishing fact from opinion, identifying stereotypes, and recognizing ethnocentrism. The material consists of a series of letters to the editor, from local St. John's newspapers, which argue for and against voting for confederation with Canada.

Outcomes

By engaging in these processes, students will achieve the following outcomes:

Canadian History 1201

  • Know reasons used by confederates.
  • Know reasons used by anti-confederates.
  • Examine methods used by confederate and anti-confederate groups.
  • Objectively analyse conflicting historical interpretations.
  • Retrieve and categorize information form a variety of sources.
  • Engage in critical thinking, decision-making and problem-solving.
  • Appreciate history as a product of the interplay among aspirations, personalities, ideals, and cultures.

Language Arts

  • Respond critically to a range of texts, applying their understanding of language, form, and genre.
  • Communicate information and ideas effectively and clearly, and to respond personally and critically.

Social Studies Skills

This lesson also promotes the following social studies skills:

Gathering Information

  • Read information sources with discrimination, particularly differences in purpose and coverage.

Organizing Information

  • Classify visuals, facts, positions, and events.

Evaluating Information

  • Distinguish between fact and opinion.
  • Recognize agreement or contradiction among sources and reasons for them.
  • Consider the reliability of information sources in terms of consistency, reasonableness, and objectivity.

Participating in Groups

  • Participate in groups formed to achieve a common goal.
  • Give and receive feedback in a positive manner.
  • Accept the role of a group facilitator.
  • Willingly work within the parameters defined by a task and related rules of conduct.

Instructional Approach

  1. It is suggested that exercises 1,2, and 3 be completed individually.
  2. Divide the class into groups of five students. Assign exercise 4 to each individual.
  3. Then ask students in each group to arrive at a consensus on which letter is least convincing. Each group will list the reasons for the selection on chart paper.
  4. Assume the role of facilitator and arrive at a large group (i.e., whole class) consensus on the selection.


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