Diane Vautour

Recipient of the 2010 Governor General's Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History

August 16, 2010
Canada's History speaks to Diane Vautour about her classroom project on women's history.

Loretto College, Toronto (Ontario)

Students in Ms. Vautour’s Grades 10 and 12 classes at an all-female secondary school are engaged in a historical role-play that illustrates the use of effective historical inquiry and communication skills. Students are required to step into the shoes of Canada‘s suffragists, pioneer newspaper women and politicians as they recreate and stage Nellie McClung’s ‘Mock Parliament’ at the Walker Theatre, and debate the 1917 Wartime Elections Act in the House of Commons. Acting as participants in this turning point for women in Canada, the students go beyond research and delve into who these people were, what they stood for and what change they affected. Coupled with an investigative approach, this experience promises the students will have a fully formed understanding of how this period shaped present-day Canada. Through their role-play as suffragists, students in Ms. Vautour’s classes learn that ordinary women advocated for basic rights despite significant government opposition. In their roles as newspaper women who report on the events and interview the suffragists and politicians, Ms. Vautour’s Grade 10 class create historical newspapers of this momentous event in Canadian women’s history.