Barbara Ann Giroux, a first-grade educator at Holy Family Catholic School, is officially a recipient of the 2022 Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching. Ms. Giroux’s winning school project, themed on Indigenous Reconciliation, encouraged her class to address a very challenging issue — Do all children in Canada have the same rights? And if not, why?
Ms. Giroux, like all of her OCSB colleagues, practices Deep Learning. Deep Learning connects students to real-world, authentic problem-solving. It taps into our students’ curiosity and inherent love of learning while building relationships between and among students, educators, families, trustees, and communities near and far.
With this Deep Learning mindset, her grade one class embarked on a learning journey centred on reconciliation. Through age-appropriate resources and books, including the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society’s Reconciliation Ambearrister program, Ms. Giroux introduced students to the history and legacy of the residential school system. She encouraged them to consider their role in reconciliation. But that was just the start. Ms. Giroux also introduced her students to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
As an experienced educator, Ms. Giroux understands that history is the story of people, and children love stories. Her students read articles about the inequities faced by Indigenous children and youth. They shared their discoveries with older students through posters, asking them the same question they were asked – Do all children in Canada have the same rights? You can hear her talk more about the project in this podcast.
Ms. Giroux says, “I am honoured and humbled to be recognized with this Governor General’s History Award for Teaching Excellence. More importantly, I am proud that the children’s learning is being acknowledged. I am immensely proud that their innate sense of justice and desire for social action have been their strongest learning outcomes.”