The Social studies curriculum for my students, involves the discovery, investigation, understanding and comparison of many different cultures and communities both within Canada and the world. As one could guess we often look at the language(s) spoken, the traditions practiced, the roles and responsibilities of individuals, music, art and many more that I am not going to list. In addition to the above the students also look into the “boring stuff” as I have been told such as economics, primary industries and trades.
However, today before beginning our study of the Inuit of Canada, of of my students raised her hand and politely asked, “Shawn, what are you”. I replied, “What do you mean”. Searching for answer to my question she quickly came up with. “Where are you from”. Although I knew what she was asking and what she wanted to know. I wanted to gauge her ability to be more specific and to think critically about how to get the answer she was looking for.
One peer helped her asking, “Where were you born”, “Edmonton” was my reply. A few students chimed in to say, yes but where are you from. To which I did remind them that I had answered this question. Finally, the girl whom had initially asked the question said, “what is your culture”. I tried to explain, but the complexity of my back ground showed in the blank looks that were looking back at me. I quickly remembered a video that I had seen a few years back.
As visuals are a great teaching tool, I pulled up the video and played it for the kids.
After the video the number of question increased, but needless to say it was a great activity that had students inquiring and seeking information, not because I said it was important or part of a test.
They wanted to know the information.
What I take from this is . . . sometimes the questions that are easily answered, should be used as learning moments.