Question 1: Why did I join Cohort 21? What are my professional goals for this year?
One of my professional goals this year is to use the classroom to respond to The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) 94 Calls to Action, and I joined Cohort 21 to carve out time to work towards this goal.
In its final report, Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future, the TRC states that, while education is key to reconciliation, it must “do even more” (TRC, 234) when it comes to teaching students the history and legacy of residential schools “in ways that change both minds and hearts” (TRC, 234).
My project seeks to respond specifically to call 63.3, which calls for the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada to “maintain an annual commitment to Aboriginal education issues, including building student capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect” (TRC, 238-239).
As a settler-teacher specializing in creative writing, I’m particularly interested in looking at how teachers can build student capacity for empathy through the use of creative writing and writers’ workshops. This raises the following research questions: Can creative writing evoke empathy in student writers? How, as writers, do we foster empathy? How might teachers build student capacity for empathy through writers’ workshops?
Question 2: Which of the strands resonates with you and why?
The Cohort 21 season 12 strand that resonates with me the most is Pedagogy, Belonging & Wellbeing (9-12). I’m fascinated by the connection between empathy and the imagination and looking more closely at how teachers might build student capacity for empathy through writers’ workshops.