Jock Martin and Heather Ragot

Recipients of the 2019 Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching

January 13, 2020

St. John’s-Ravenscourt School, Winnipeg, Manitoba

In an integrated project between English Language Arts and Canadian History courses, the grade 11 students of Jock Martin and Heather Ragot investigated the history and legacy of colonialism and its impact on Indigenous people in Canada.

Students were encouraged to analyze historical content, artistic expressions, and literary narratives in relation to one another. At the heart of the project was an emphasis on going beyond pan-Indigenous narratives to understand the unique experiences and cultures of different Indigenous groups in Canada.

Students conducted their own research, which included visits to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, and conversations with residential school survivors.

Incorporating a model of design thinking, the students collaborated online and received feedback from their peers, revised and compiled their research, and ultimately published their work in a book called, Reconciling the Past, Finding a New Path, which they launched at a local bookstore.

This two-pronged approach to understanding the past and the present through history and language arts allowed students to deepen their historical thinking skills and demonstrate an increased understanding of and empathy for the experiences of Indigenous people in Canada.