Teaching Idle No More
How to begin a lesson that has meaning to you. Sometimes easier said than done. You want to be able to share your passion for the subject and be sensitive to the possibility that it might be controversial for some. Finally, I just asked:
"Who's heard of Idle No More?"
From there, we launched into a discussion, feeling out the background knowledge of the students, filling in the holes in their understanding, addressing some of the myths about First Nations and exploring the reasons behind Idle No More, born out a teach-in by four women in Alberta who were worried about changes to the Indian Act and environmental laws contained in Bill C45. We talked about how it is also much larger as it has become about the larger need to address Indigenous issues and Rights in Canada.
From there, we moved tangentially to discuss the power of social media and the potential inherent in being able to connect around the country and the world. The dangers of trolls was brought up as well as the concern of deeper relationships than is real. We discussed how you could use social media to present your event, your issue and your concerns as well as the possibility to engage in a discourse to seek solution.
At this point, I started using http://mediasmarts.ca/lessonplan/challenging-hate-online-lesson, from www.mediasmarts.ca which addresses websites and online campaigns to combate hate. Part of this plan has students exploring different sites like itgetsbetter.org and ccr.ca (Canadian Race Relations Foundation), to critically assess how they address issues and appeal to youth. The students had the opportunity explore how these media campaigns worked and several of them have expressed interest in looking at Idle No More a little more deeply, including possibly designing a campaign of their own to support the cause.
Never fear, I will be presenting some resources in opposition to Idle No More, so please don't troll me, I'm getting tired of that. The next part will be to have the students research the movement and coverage, for and against and, hopefully decide with them what our next step will be. It is very exciting!
If you look at my timeline on Twitter, I have been using the hashtag #teachernotes to offer ideas on how to teach Idle No More, as well as my thoughts about presenting it. I am, you may notice, much more engaged in this than I was for the Occupy Movement, which seemed exclusionary and unwelcoming to me (I have a blog post about it on here somewhere). Please feel free to share how you are teaching Idle No More if you are, I'd love to hear your ideas. It is important that we teach this. Politics aside, our Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students are watching how we treat each other.