Some say education is what is left when you have forgotten what you have learnt. Regrettably, my own schooling experience fits this description. My education in the subject of history was especially so. It took me three years of high school history, one history class in CEGEP, three years of history undergraduate studies, and a full year of graduate historical research to realize that I did not understand much about history. As a matter of fact, this discouraging experience drew me to educational research. What fascinated me when I was studying history, actually, was how individuals and communities across time have thought, experienced, recorded, and used the historical past. As a doctoral student at McGill University in the Department of Integrated Studies, I continue to pursue my interest in historical consciousness, but from the angle of education. I believe it offers a promising avenue for rethinking contemporary history education. Teaching history in schools generally serves to build historical knowledge and subject matter expertise. Yet, as it turns out, that approach more often than we would like fails to provide students with long-lasting, meaningful learning. Cultivating historical consciousness, in turn, could arguably make for a richer learning experience. It could help students interact with history in ways that deepen their understandings of the past, but also their visions for the future, while strengthening their orientation in the present, i.e. how they make sense of, and engage with, the world around and within them. My doctoral research, which will keep me busy for the upcoming years, aims to gain in-depth understanding about how historical consciousness can be applied to high school teaching and learning. My paper in this special capsule of the Canadian Journal of Education represents a first step toward mapping out the historical consciousness research landscape in Canada. In this article, I examine the ways in which the concept is defined, studied, and justified, and make the case for its relevance and role in history education. Moreover, this paper gave me the opportunity to engage with the ideas and scientific efforts of Canadian history educationists who greatly inspire my own work. I can only hope researchers, educators, and history teachers reading it will gain some insight into this blossoming debate.
Academic institutions play a huge role in our social development. As a sociologist, I’m keenly interested in how the contexts of educational institutions influence our overall life outcomes (e.g. physical health, mental health, occupational outcomes mobility). I am currently investigating the how post-secondary institutional environments impact individual students’ mental health, by evaluating the extent to which undergraduate students’ mental well-being and service utilization are directly impacted by institutional contexts and how these institutional contexts buffer or exacerbate mental health inequalities across student groups.
In “Forms of Fighting: A Micro-Social Analysis of Bullying and In-School Violence”, I attempt to explain both the types of interpersonal violence that young people take part in at school, and whether or not the types of violence that students describe resonate with the current violence literature. In-depth interviews with secondary school students demonstrate that they have the potential to engage in many different types of interpersonal conflict while at school. I find evidence for the occurrence of four types of interpersonal violence (peer-to-peer, honour contests, intergroup fights, and scapegoating violence), similar to those outlined by Randal Collins (2008). In addition to these four types of violence, this research demonstrates that students also take part in another form of violence: retaliatory violence.
My hope is that this work helps education professionals identify different forms of violence and how the social dynamics involved in those behaviours differ. This is important for creating effective violence intervention and prevention methods.
As an Associate Professor (PhD, University of Alberta) of assessment, literacy, and qualitative research methods in the Faculty of Education at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, I have had the opportunity to be involved in a variety of different research projects. My research interests are varied and intersect with my commitment to better understanding the importance of teachers and students as researchers, the influence of gendered expectations upon the professional lives of teachers, and the impact school and university collaborations can have upon local school contexts. I was first drawn to research during my graduate work at StFX (MEd), which enabled me to design a research study that attended to my experiences teaching in secondary schools in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Turkey and the importance I placed upon service learning as a way to engage youth in active socially responsive change. Next steps in my research include a continuation of my work in literacies in the content areas in culturally diverse schools, pre-service teachers and LGBTQ learners, as well as approaches to teaching and learning in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme in Nova Scotia. I am hopeful that the readers of our paper, teacher educators, teachers, researchers, administrators, might view the possibilities of ongoing critical social justice education for pre-service teachers, particularly how it raises awareness about the complexities of gender in schools and the positive impact that beginning teachers can make in fostering the inclusion of transgender children and youth.
Yvonne Poitras Pratt (Métis) traces her family lineage to the Fishing Lake Métis Settlement in northeastern Alberta with ancestral involvement in the Provisional Government of 1869. As an Assistant Professor at the Werklund School of Education, Yvonne teaches graduate and undergraduate courses, and publishes in the area of decolonizing media, critical service-learning, Indigenous and reconciliatory pedagogy. In 2016, Yvonne collaborated with a group of colleagues in 2016 to develop a graduate program focused on responding to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action. She is working on a future publication entitled Educating with digital storytelling: A decolonizing journey for an Indigenous community as a contemporary example of how Indigenous communities might work to revitalize oral traditions and intergenerational learning. Yvonne was awarded the Werklund Teaching Excellence Award in 2016.
Patricia Danyluk grew up in northern Manitoba where she spent the early part of her career working with remote First Nations and Métis communities. Dr. Danyluk joined the Werklund School of Education in 2014 after working at Laurentian University’s School of Education for 10 years. She completed her PhD at Laurentian University, her master’s in Adult Education at St. Francis Xavier and her B.Ed. at Nipissing University. Patricia is currently the Director of Field Experience for the Community Based Bachelor of Education at Werklund. Prior to this, she worked as a Teacher, College Professor, Human Resources Consultant, and a Manager for the Manitoba Government. Dr. Danyluk’s research focuses on student teacher development specifically as it relates to the practicum. She has travelled throughout northern Canada to gather the stories of new teachers in remote, rural and Indigenous schools, and she now broadens her research in this specialized area to that of reconciliatory pedagogy.