Schools are usually built one way – to have students solve problems, regurgitate information, and answer the same question over and over: what is?
Last year a few Chatham students were asked a different question: what if?
Stephanie Kennedy’s class at CKSS is technically Intro to Sociology, Psychology, and Anthropology and it operated much like a normal grade 11 class, including the end-of-year project.
Most of the time that means an essay or presentation but last semester Kennedy threw a curveball at her students: Ontario’s Speak Up Project.
“The projects are basically about student engagement, and how we can change things up,” Kennedy said. “I thought it would be a cool way for them to apply their learning.”
Students who chose to attempt a grant were divided into groups – of their choosing – and asked to develop a plan to improve the public school system in Ontario. Plans required budgeting and financing, and students could apply for grants from $1,000 to $2,500. The project lasts as long as a year from start to finish.
Two of the projects in Kennedy’s class were accepted.
Hayli McQuiggan and Dustin Williston’s project is focused on residential schools. They want to bring students and teachers to past residential school sites in Ontario to highlight an aspect of history often underappreciated if talked about at all.
The proposed field trips would have a dual purpose, to inform students of the history of residential schools and to build empathy for the people forced into them.
“A lot of students don’t know what happened and don’t know how bad it was,” McQuiggan said. “It’s about making them feel…
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