Saturday, November 24, 2012


Ontario teachers have their collective bargaining rights suspended and are involved in work-to-rule and other kinds of work action, while the Ontario government, well, goes into hiatus, it seems.  But yesterday a few hundred teachers made it down to the annual conference of OHASSTA, the Ontario History and Social Science Teachers Association annual conference in a hotel off the freeway near St   Catharines.  The location was progress; for decades it's been in a convention barn near Toronto Airport.

I met a lot of keen teachers of all ages and as usual came away with the responsibilities teachers shoulder and the commitment with which they carry them.  Nice to see you all!

I got to be there because the Association for Canadian Studies was cooperating in the meetings, and they invited Richard Gwyn, Barbara Messamore, Catherine Hennessey and I to share some thoughts with the teachers on how to teach confederation in light of the looming 150th anniversary .

Thought one. Why do academic convention organizers put four speakers, a moderator, (and a tech guy who will delay things ten minutes fiddling with the tech) into sessions scheduled for one hour.  Because, you know, just about no one wants to speak for ten minutes, and no moderator I've ever met at an academic session has the brass to make them.  Over the years I've become resigned to the schmozzle that results.  But it keeps happening, and people who must do more conference than me do seem surprised each time. I won't identify the participant who, moments before the start, said, "So we have about 20 minutes each, right?"

Thought two (more to the point): 2017 is gonna be big. And stormy. Hey, it's the anniversary of the constitution. Think the meaning of 1812 is contested?  Wait till it's the constitution.  "Teach the controversy," is what I suggested to OHASSTA and ACF, cause it should be lively

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