Truth and Reconciliation lessons and Professional Development
Several of Hugh Boyd’s Professional Development days this year were focussed on Truth and Reconciliation as well as a focus on how to employ more First People Principles of Learning (FPPL) in our practice.
As we did last year, Hugh Boyd engaged in a school-wide lesson activity for all learners on Tuesday, June 21st as part of Canada’s National Indigenous Peoples Day. This year, a group of dedicated staff devised a lesson around Land Acknowledgement. Many of our students have heard the words at various gatherings such as assemblies, but in some cases, the students only hear the words and do not fully understand the meaning or why the acknowledgement is done. The lesson generated by our staff helped to make the Land Acknowledgment more personal and impactful and better understood by our students. The lesson included the following:
- For National Indigenous History Month, we are going to focus on the purpose of land acknowledgements. Often, it is done at the beginning of assemblies, meetings, events, etc, but do we (staff & students) actually understand why we are doing it, or does it become rote?
- Please explain to students the purpose of this lesson for National Indigenous History Month starting from this point:
- know and understand what a land acknowledgment is
- my own place on this land
- writing my own Land Acknowledgement
- After sharing some examples with students, teachers asked students to write their own, using the following prompts:
- I am (what are important parts of your identity) ...
- I live and study on (proper name) …
- My relationship to this land is...
- I can help steward the land by...
Students wrote out their personalized Land Acknowledgement on orange leaves and were invited to display them in the atrium outside the library and several staff and students spent a significant amount of time over the last few days of school reading the acknowledgements of their peers and others relationship to the land and how they feel they must steward the land to keep it cared for.
The lesson was a powerful and impactful process for all our staff and students.