Spotlight: Faith Fenton


Faith Fenton aka Alice Freeman (c. 1885) [Source: LAC]

October is Women’s History Month in Canada and instead of writing about the usual suspects, I thought I would take a look at the life of a lesser known female figure in Canadian history. Alice Freeman (1857-1936), better known as “Faith Fenton,” was a schoolteacher turned popular investigative journalist. Her life was pretty remarkable not just because Alice was one of Canada’s first female journalists but because she was one of the thousands who headed up to the Klondike in 1898–except she was looking for stories, not gold. Continue reading

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Call for Grade 7-10 History Teachers in Ontario!

Do you incorporate the Six Historical Thinking Concepts into your history lessons?
Got 45-60 minutes to spare and want a grad student forever in your debt?

A component of the Master of Teaching program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education involves conducting a small-scale qualitative research study. My research will focus on how educators are applying the six historical thinking concepts in their history lessons and what outcomes they are observing regarding student engagement. I am interested in interviewing teachers who have experience teaching the Ontario history curriculum both with and without incorporating the historical thinking concepts into their history lessons. The main goal of my study is to determine whether the historical thinking concepts are an appropriate framework for teaching Canadian history in Ontario’s increasingly diverse classrooms.

Why?

The Six Historical Thinking Concepts and emphasizing diversity are seen as the two most effective instructional practices for teaching Canadian history (Barton, 2008; Fogo, 2014; Sears, 2014; Seixas & Morton, 2012). The concepts provide teachers with a framework that encourages students to consider history beyond a mere conglomeration of facts; it is a way of knowing and developing an understanding about the relationships of peoples and events in the past and how these relationships impact the present (Lévesque, 2008; Seixas & Morton, 2012). As for emphasizing diversity, the incorporation of multiple, diverse perspectives can help students to understand how Canadian history is relevant to their lives (Barton, 2008; Lévesque, 2008; Peck, 2011), which becomes increasingly important as the demographics of Ontario continue to change.

Research suggests that historical thinking and diversity in history are not only compatible teaching practices, but their combined implementation will help students develop a deeper interest in and understanding of Canadian history. Both are part of the Ontario history curricula, however there is little information on how these two practices are being applied by teachers or what outcomes these practices are having on students’ understanding of Canadian history. The voices and experiences of Ontario’s teachers are missing from the Canadian history education conversation.

That’s where you come in!

Your participation will involve one 45-60 minute interview, either in-person or via Skype at a time/place that is convenient for you. While the interview will be transcribed and audio-recorded, you, your students, and school will be anonymous. You will be assigned a pseudonym to maintain your anonymity. The contents of this interview will be used for my research project (this includes a final paper and a presentation to my colleagues). You are free to withdraw your participation at any time. I will destroy the audio recording after the paper has been presented. I will share a copy of the transcript with you to ensure accuracy and a copy of the final paper.

Sampling Criteria

  • Participants should have a minimum of 5 years experience teaching the Ontario history curriculum for either grades 7, 8, or 10.
  • Participants should have a minimum of 2 years of experience applying Peter Seixas’ six historical thinking concepts in their teaching of the Ontario history curriculum.
  • Participants will teach history in a classroom where student demographics are ethnically diverse.

If you would like to participate or have any questions, please leave me a comment here or send an email to carmen.cadeau@utoronto.ca

With sincere thanks and appreciation for your time,
Carmen Cadeau

Ortona: Was It Worth It?

A Canadian soldier at the Battle of Ortona. December 1943. [Source: Canada at War]

The Canadian Forces faced one of their toughest battles during World War II during December 1943. Their goal? Capture the small coastal town of Ortona, Italy. The Canadians fought their way through rubble-covered narrow streets, booby-trapped houses, machine-gun fire, and concealed landmines throughout the town. As the CBC described it, Ortona was a battle in the “courtyard of hell.” The Canadians were successful in the end, but at a cost of 2,200 casualties. Was it worth it? (Shout out to GP Cox for inspiring me to research this battle!) Continue reading

Erasing History? On Problematic Representations of the Past


An Angus Reid poll found that 55% of Canadians are against renaming schools named after Sir John A. Macdonald. When it comes to statues however, 71% are open to the idea of relocating monuments to museums where they can be viewed in proper historical context. [Source]

I’m about two weeks late on all the buzz surrounding this topic, but oh well. I have been thinking a lot about representations of history throughout 2017; how we choose to commemorate the past, as well as the politics and implications that go along with this. It’s hard not to think about, what with the #Canada150 rhetoric in full swing throughout the first half of the year, along with all of the controversies around historical place names and statues both here and in the US. This post has to do with the latter. This is not an opinion piece, rather it is a collection of the many different opinions that have emerged from the debate on statues and place names honouring problematic figures from Canadian and American history. I leave it up to you to make up your own mind. Continue reading

*Waves*

Hey everyone!

I have decided to return to blogging and will be resuming my usual posting schedule of once every two weeks…or so. In the interest of not burning out again, I am going to be less strict with posting and I have scaled back with regards to school, working, social media, and extra-curricular commitments. So I should be good. I think. There will be a brand new post tomorrow. Thanks for sticking around despite the radio silence!

Hiatus

I struggled with this decision over the past month. The truth is I am completely burnt out.

I underestimated how much time and effort summer courses at OISE would involve and overestimated my ability to balance two part-time jobs and other commitments at the same time. After back-to-back health issues brought on by stress, I know I need to make some changes now, not later.

I can’t cut out school or work (yet), but I can cut out unnecessary sources of stress which includes this blog. My current head-space and overall lack of time isn’t conducive to producing quality research. I refuse to publish shitty articles just for the sake of keeping this blog alive. You all deserve better.

So I’m going to take a break for now and will reassess in September. Until then, don’t be like me. Take care of yourselves. ❤

1917 Vs. 2017

Happy Canada Day!

Today marks our sesquicentennial aka the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

I’m currently in Ottawa taking in the festivities. As such, here is a mini post dedicated 100 years ago today–Canada’s golden year.


Dominion Day / 50th Anniversary of Confederation (1917)

The 50th anniversary of Confederation was low-key. At the time the country was consumed by the devastating Great War and was being torn apart by the Conscription Crisis. According to the Ottawa Citizen, an official ceremony took place at noon on Monday, July 2 on Parliament Hill. Prime Minister Robert Borden, Opposition Leader Wilfrid Laurier, and Governor General Victor Cavendish each gave a speech in front of the under-construction Parliament Buildings. The Centre Block had burned down the year prior.  After a choir sang O Canada, the Centre Block was officially dedicated to the Fathers of Confederation and those fighting in the Great War. The final part of the ceremony involved a parade of 7 military units, 250 veterans, Dominion police, city police, fire brigade, boy scouts, and girl guides.

While it annoys me to no end that I could not find any pictures of the ceremony in Ottawa, here are some photos of Canadians celebrating on July 1-2, 1917:

Fun Fact: Dominion Day was renamed Canada Day in 1982.


Images courtesy of:
Library and Archives Canada + “Alice’s Album”
Vancouver Public Library
Niagara Falls Public Library

Why Did the Fenians Attack Canada?

Battle of Ridgeway C.W. (c. 1869) by Unknown Artist. A famous, yet inaccurate depiction of the battle, as it was fought in a modern skirmish style (fighting and hiding behind cover), not in a Napoleonic line format. [Source]

Continuing our look at ridiculous events in Canadian history: The Fenian Raids. You know, that time Irish-Americans invaded Canada to free Ireland from British rule.

People were probably just as confused back then at this turn of events as they are now. Despite the fact that the Fenian Raids (1866-1871) all ended in failure, their history is tied up with that of Canadian Confederation. This post looks at the historical context and the myths surrounding the consequences of the Fenian Raids, as well as what exactly happened. Continue reading

Canadian History in the News: Spring 2017 Edition

Canadian History in the News: The past is always a part of the present. This blog series looks at current events and stories that have a Canadian history element to them and I offer my opinion on the subject.

Canada: The story of how to alienate viewers before the series became decent halfway through.

Sometimes I come across news articles or stories that I think would be great to talk about on this blog—–except for the fact that they are pretty short and therefore wouldn’t make for much of a blog post by themselves. Solution? Every now and then I pull a few together. This late spring edition will cover the debacle that was CBC’s The Story of US, controversy in the archival world, and different Canada 150-related articles. Continue reading

How to Not Kill Samuel de Champlain

Champlain’s Statue, Nepean Point, Ottawa, Canada.

Barely a month after July 3, 1608, the day Samuel de Champlain and his fellow French colonists founded Quebec, what they hoped would be a permanent trading post and settlement, the Father of New France found himself at the center of an assassination plot. Using Champlain’s own words, this post looks at what led to the plot, how Champlain found out about it, and what was his response was. Continue reading