With summer vacation in full swing, school is probably the last thing you want to be thinking about right now. But as with changes that happen every year within your school, or the wider school board, a very unique opportunity has arisen for students in Gr7-12 that may change the way you learn social studies come September.
While most people were getting ready for summer, on June 15th The Tessellate Institute (TTI) held its launch event for its Neglected Voices Curriculum Pack that has officially been made available for teachers to use in classrooms.
In 2011, TTI produced four short films about marginalization, and represented different ethnic groups (all Muslim) that faced various challenges living in current day Canada. Now TTI has created a curriculum pack to accompany the films. With full lesson plans, discussions points, and grading rubrics, teachers can now use these videos and the new curriculum pack in their classrooms. The Neglected Voices Curriculum is meant to build on the films and help create healthy classroom discussions around marginalization and alienation. By engaging with the “point of view” films, students can directly participate in discussions and projects revolving around marginalization, discrimination, alienation and other encounters with Islamophobia and negative stereotypes.
To have a tool like this at the Gr.7-12 level means teachers will be able to create a safe environment to discuss topics students may be uncomfortable with – having experienced these situations in their own personal lives. It would also be an eye opener for those students who have not encountered such situations. From Kate’s story about her experience wearing the hijab, to Boonaa’s struggle as an outsider, students will learn about these ‘neglected voices’ in a creative way.
The curriculum can be used in classes ranging from Social Science to Language, and even the Arts and Drama. As mentioned at the launch, this pack could also be used by teaching schools and teacher trainers as a professional development tool.
Of course it took a whole team of very dedicated people to help bring this project to life. The curriculum was created by curriculum developer and education consultant, Sultan Rana, with the support of Aliya Shareef. The project was managed by Nadia Hasan from TTI, and the films were directed by Jawad Jafry. With the generous support of The Olive Tree Foundation and the help of York University, the project was officially launched on June 15th and is ready for use.
So if you are a student in Gr.7-12, you can share this new pack with your teacher by simply going to the TTI website: http://www.tessellateinstitute.com/ . If you are a teacher, you can download the new curriculum from the website and begin using it in your classroom right away. By having these discussions at the school level, students can understand the reality of the diverse challenges facing their fellow Canadian youth as they try to be included in the broader Canadian society.