Luisa Fracassi

Recipient of the 2022 Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching

November 14, 2022

St. Joan of Arc Catholic Academy, Toronto, Ontario

Luisa Fracassi strives to create learning opportunities for students that encourage historical thinking, celebrate diversity, and advance social justice. Fracassi developed her project “Immigrant Voices” as an experiential learning opportunity for her diverse class of grade ten students. First, students attended two virtual tours and a workshop hosted by the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax. The tours explored immigrant experiences by using memoirs, interviews, and primary sources, while the workshop explored the process of conducting oral history interviews. Using what they learned from Pier 21, students conducted an interview with a person who had immigrated to Canada, following the key steps of the oral history process, including obtaining consent, arranging a pre-interview, writing a question guide, and transcribing the final interview. Students then used the interviews to create short historical narratives in a magazine format to tell the story of their subject’s experience immigrating to Canada.

Through this project, students gained first-hand experience doing oral history and had the opportunity to engage in meaningful, intergenerational learning with parents, grandparents, and community members. As a result, students gained a deeper understanding of the experiences and perspectives of recent immigrants to Canada and connected their stories to the broader history of Canadian immigration.