Trustees with the Toronto District School Board have approved a motion that will require secondary students in the TDSB to take the Grade 11 English course: Understanding Contemporary First Nations, Métis and Inuit Voices. The decision, made during this evening’s Regular Meeting, would replace the current mandatory Grade 11 English course.
Understanding Contemporary First Nations, Métis and Inuit Voices, created by the Ministry of Education, has been taught in the TDSB with great success for many years and is supported by the Elders’ Council, the Urban Indigenous Community Advisory Committee, the TDSB’s Urban Indigenous Education Centre, and Indigenous writers, poets, and artists.
The curriculum is organized into five strands – four of which are the same as the current Grade 11 English course - First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Perspectives and Text Forms in Canada, Oral Communication, Reading and Literature Studies, Writing, and Media Studies.
With this approval, TDSB staff will now prepare a report, to be presented to the Board in June, with additional details on the implementation of the course including timelines on when students and staff can expect this course to be made available across the system.
The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 9 to 12, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Studies (2019) stipulates: “The Grade 11 course ‘English: Understanding Contemporary First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Voices’ may be used to meet the Grade 11 English compulsory credit requirement.”
As part of the renewal of the TDSB’s Multi-Year Strategic Plan, which is currently underway, the TDSB will be embedding our commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action as a strategic direction moving forward.
“It is so important that we continue to take meaningful steps such as this one to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. By incorporating Indigenous authors and texts into Grade 11 English, students are not only meeting the Grade 11 English expectations, they are being exposed to a whole range of remarkable First Nations, Metis and Inuit literature that they may not otherwise learn from in other courses.”
– Rachel Chernos Lin, Chair, TDSB
“I am fully supportive of the gradual implementation of this important course in all TDSB secondary schools. Indigenous Elders and scholars have reminded us that truth must come before reconciliation, yet the TDSB and the Ontario education system have no mechanism yet for ensuring that all students learn the truth about Indigenous brilliance, contributions, history, and learn from contemporary Indigenous voices in Canada. This is an exciting opportunity to ensure our students graduate with a greater understanding of Indigenous cultures and history than their parents/caregivers.”
– Colleen Russell-Rawlins, Director of Education, TDSB