Social Studies Curricular Critique

Grade seven Social Studies Curriculum for Saskatchewan has very good intent.  When reading the aims and goals for this curriculum the fact that the past the present and the future are of equal importance.  The line that grabs my attention is, “to make students aware that, just as contemporary events have been shaped by actions taken by people in the past, they have the opportunity to shape the future.”  This is the goal that we can reshape and help guide and direct students to a hopeful future, but there is many flaws within the language and visual appearance of the website.

As I began to read through and dissect the grade seven social studies curriculum it began to concern me.  I feel that the aims and goals that I read about did not necessarily coincide with the outcomes and indicators.  It was not until the fifth outcome and last indicator that I read anything that had to do with treaties or First Nations.  With that, the language used was to explore the treaty relationship, so not understand or begin to deconstruct but just explore.  This is a very complex part of Canada’s history and it seems to be disregarded still today.

It is quite apparent to me that when the indicators are suggesting to discuss the relationships between the Europeans and the First Nations, that it discusses trade, bartering and resources. Resources and Wealth has one outcome that touches on the First Nations bases regarding the trade relationship. This to me is a statement that the curriculum is still focused on teaching around the actual issues that have transpired in history.

The majority of the treaty and First Nation content that is portrayed in the curriculum is listed under the outcomes for Power and Authority.  This wording suggests that the problems between Europeans and First Nation was due to who held the power and authority.  This is language that is of White Settler worldviews.  This is one sided as First Nation were geared toward sharing, relationship and community not who holds the power or authority.

It is also visible on the site that Treaty Education is not equal or as valued compared to the rest of the curriculum.  When looking at all the grades, subjects and content of the website it is visually hard to find where the Treaty Education outcomes and indicators are located.  It is there, but it is in tiny print and it may even be missed unless you know where to find it.

The curriculum still needs to be revamped drastically in order to match the aims and goals that are listed for the curriculum outcomes and indicators.  This to me says that the curriculum is still geared towards the settler mentality and not towards an equality.  I believe that the goal is to move towards a better curriculum, but it is necessary to visually and literately change the appearance and the language of the website in order to have the intentions match the aims and goals.

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