Kathryn Whitfield

Recipient of the 2015 Governor General's History Award for Excellence in Teaching

October 16, 2015
Canada's History speaks to Kathryn Whitfield about her students' participation in "Historical Thinking Missions."

Northview Heights Secondary School, Toronto (Ontario)

Ms. Whitfield’s students took part in “Historical Thinking Missions,” where they conducted historical research and field work to learn about the history of Toronto’s St. John’s Ward. Students learned how to interpret and analyze historical photographs, fire insurance maps, tax assessment records, and census data. Students also took part in a field study to the neighborhood and used their critical thinking and historical imagination skills to describe what life would have been like in the Ward in 1912. As the culminating project, students created exemplars of commemoration, such as monuments, plaques, murals, guided historical walking tours and museum exhibits. Their work was accompanied by a designer’s statement, which provided evidence and justification for their historical thinking and responses to critical thinking questions. Their exemplars reflected personal stories, especially of voices that are not very well known or recognized as part of Toronto’s history.