The Gregg Centre seeks interested teachers to pilot Education materials 

Teacher Jenn Yake and her son deliver a biography of their soldier at the Vimy monument on the 2014 teachers' tour. This education materials project will provide more support for teachers and students learning about the First and Second World War in the classroom. The Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society at the University of New Brunswick received a grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage to develop education materials to support the teaching of the First and Second World Wars in Canadian classrooms.

This project will create a set of education materials that are applicable across the Canadian social studies curriculum based on the historical thinking concepts developed by the Historical Thinking Project that started in 2006. The historical thinking concepts now underline all Canadian curriculum. Curriculum reviews are ongoing to ensure that the social studies curriculum documents reflect this. Thus there is great need for the development of materials that support the use of the historical thinking concepts in the classroom. These education materials will utilize the historical thinking concepts, the latest in historical research, primary documents and sources, and existing literature and online resources about the First and Second World War. Both gateways into the two world wars use all six of the historical thinking concepts.  The final package may vary depending exactly how these elements fit with in the respective provincial curriculum.

The Faculty at the Gregg Centre discovered the need for such a materials package for teachers through our War and the Canadian Experience teachers tours that we have been involved with since 2008. 

The Education Materials package will include a Teacher's Guide tailored to each provincial curriculum and student packages. The package will use the biographies of the Canadian Victoria Cross recipients as a gateway to:

1) Major Canadian campaigns and contributions to the First and Second World Wars: The list of Canadian VC recipients spans nearly every major event and includes every province, making their stories an ideal launch pad for further student inquiry into specific chapters in Canada’s past. This program includes student and teacher support materials including introductory materials, modules built around major campaigns, as well as more general modules depending on need.   Modules include suggested lesson plans, discussion guides, resource lists, an outline of the major debates, and activity guides. Students and teachers can then employ the historical thinking concepts outlined below to guide their inquiry. 

2) The Lest We Forget Project: This well-established program sponsored by Library and Archives Canada and supported by the Gregg Centre involves student-led individual research projects on soldiers, sailors or aircrew members lost from their home communities/provinces. Most of soldiers selected will have been lost directly or indirectly associated with one of Canada’s major campaigns and thus linked to a Canadian VC recipient. Every Canadian Victoria Cross recipient features prominently in published accounts of Canada’s major campaigns and in internet accessible official citations. VC cases therefore offer students a research and inquiry template providing source suggestions (i.e. newspaper accounts, regimental history excerpts, local museum and historical society websites) as well as points of comparison to their own selected service member. Individually and collaboratively students can consider why and how awards for valour and distinguished service are awarded in the Canadian Armed Forces and more difficult questions surrounding how deserving members go unrecognized and what constituted courage in the past and whether standards are different today.

3) The Historical Thinking Concepts: Most or all of these concepts form the core of social studies or history curriculum in every province.  This program is designed to provide teachers and students with practical examples of how to employ them.  The historical thinking concepts (as found in Peter Sexias and Tom Morton, The Big Six: Historical Thinking Concepts (Toronto: Nelson Education Ltd., 2013) are Historical Significance (How do we decide what's important to learn about the past?), Evidence (How do we know what we know about the past?), Continuity and Change (How do we understand the complexity of the past?), Cause and Consequence (How do we explain the effects of decisions and actions in the past?), Historical Perspective (How can we better understand people in the past?), and the Ethical Dimension (What can we learn from the past to help us better understand the present?).

Our working group includes an additional concept in historiography. The materials package will outline and provide sources for the big historical debates around each module or section as well as suggestions for how that debate might be explored in the classroom. 

The package is currently under development but will be available for September 2015 as a draft. 

The education materials working group is currently looking for interested teachers and researchers to join the working group to provide input on teaching materials, and to implement these materials in the classroom. Please contact Dr. Cindy Brown or Katherine Ireland katherine.ireland@unb.ca for information and to become involved.