Toronto school board to change Grade 11 English curriculum to focus on Indigenous voices

(Courtesy: Twitter/@TDSB)

A motion has been approved requiring high school students in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) to take a new Grade 11 course called Understanding Contemporary First Nations, Métis and Inuit Voices.

The motion was approved by school board trustees Wednesday evening. It requires theboard to replace one of four mandatory high school English courses with one that focuses on Indigenous writers.

The course, 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 TDSB said in a news release

The course is currently offered in 29 out of 110 high schools, with just under 2,000 students having signed up for the course.

“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,” TDSB Chair Rachel Chernos said in the release. “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.”

TDSB Director of Education Colleen Russell-Rawlins said she is “fully supportive of the gradual implementation of this important course in all TDSB secondary schools.”

More 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 will be made available in June. 

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