Nelson A. Boylen CI,
Finalist for the 2011 Governor General's Awards for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History
Students engage in a series of differentiated activities that enable them to gain a stronger sense of belonging and citizenship while fostering an understanding, interest, and connection to Canadian history. Through graffiti exercises, group research, and the production of an African-Canadian arrival timeline, students participate in critical analyses and discourse regarding their own identities and place in Canadian society. After the timeline is completed, students physically place themselves in the location of their families’ entrance to Canada to acquire an appreciation of the similarities and differences between themselves and those of other cultures who arrived within the same time period. Finally, students express their identity creatively through a variety of artistic representations such as a song, rap, poem, or a graphic depiction.
Greg Birkett is an educator, writer, and youth mentor who is dedicated to student success and development both inside and outside of the classroom. Birkett uses unique pedagogical strategies to engage his students in meaningful study of topics rarely explored in classrooms including the history of racial epithets and discrimination in all forms. Students in Birkett’s classes critically analyze media, produce their own talk shows, create original pieces of written and graphic art, and host school-wide symposiums as they work toward a practical understanding of history and its connection to present day realities. As a writer, Birkett co-authored a history textbook, Black History: Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas, and is an award-winning poet and spoken word artist. Greg Birkett teaches History, Politics, English, and is the Assistant Curriculum Leader of Student Engagement at Nelson A. Boylen C.I. in Toronto.