Responding Personally to Historical Information
The study of historical events, as a discipline, need not be viewed
in the classroom as distinct from personal response. The teaching
of history should provide opportunities for students to explore
complex social issues and to respond to them within their own
personal framework. Students come to many learning situations
with personal feelings, arising out past experiences shaped by past
experiences, biases, and stereotypical knowledge. The teacher can
design learning opportunities in which students can test and refine
their views and perspectives.
The confederation process provides opportunities for the student
to examine the actions, roles, and positions of key persons and
arrive at conclusions about their preferences and values. A case in
point is the position taken by Lester R. Burry (1898-1977), a
missionary of the United Church in Labrador. He was an ardent
promoter of the confederate cause and was a delegate to the
Two of Lester Burry's
provide a valuing incident to which students can
react. A modification of Fraenkel's model for value-inferences is
used; the following focus questions provide a framework for the
task and the related exercises provided in the student material:
- What is happening in the situation?
- Why is it happening?
- From what is happening, what values may be inferred?
- What evidence is there to support these value-inferences?
Then the students are asked to put themselves in a situation in which
they have to make inferences about their own values.
By engaging in these processes, students will achieve the
Canadian History 1201
- Identify the purpose of key political movements.
- Know reasons used by confederates.
- Examine methods used by confederate groups.
- Retrieve and categorize information from a variety of
- Engage in critical thinking, decision-making, and problem-solving.
- Appreciate history as a product of the interplay among
aspirations, personalities, ideals and cultures.
- Appreciate the contribution of individuals, groups and
cultures to the development of Canada.
- Select, read, and view with understanding a range of
literature, information, media, and visual texts.
- Respond personally to texts.
- Respond critically to texts.
Social Studies Skills
This lesson also promotes the following social studies skills:
- Recognize trends and patterns in information;
- Draw conclusions.
Participating in Groups
- Give and receive feedback in a positive manner.
- Willingly work within the parameters defined by a task
and related rules of conduct.
- Isolate ideas in a piece of communication;
- Determine relationships among these ideas;
- Explain the relationships;
- Infer underlying values.
- Compare inferred values to one's own values.
- Use lecture to provide an overview of the task (refer to the
four focus questions above).
- Assign the reading of Burry's two brief speeches.
- In the whole class setting, have students discuss the first
two focus questions; i.e.; "What is happening in this
situation?" and "Why is it happening?"
- Ask the students to complete the five exercises contained
in the student material, Responding Personally to
Historical Information. This will be an independent
- After the students have completed the exercises, have
them break into triads to compare their responses to
exercises 3 and 4. Each student should be prepared to
defend their responses.