Originally posted: November 2010
In early November, the two Title VI National Resource Centers on Canada – our Pacific Northwest NRC on Canada (that links the UW Center with the Center Canadian-American Studies at Western Washington University) and the Northeast NRC on Canada (that links the Canadian-American Center at the University of Maine with theCenter for the Study of Canada at SUNY Plattsburgh) – offered a pre-conference Canada Clinic: Looking Beyond the 49th Parallel at the 90th Annual National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Conference at the Consulate General of Canada in Denver.
Fourteen educators, mostly from Colorado and representing elementary through post-secondary schools, attended the clinic. “Canada is absolutely essential to preparing our students for the future,” explained one educator about her interest in the Clinic.
State standards in the United States are very broad and most often do not include Canada specifically. Yet, Canada and the United States have the largest trade relationship in the world. An incredible one million dollars of goods and services cross the border every minute of every day. For this reason, “One section of the Consulate is dedicated to trade,” noted Jamie Caton, political and academic affairs officer. “Canada buys almost three times more from the United States than China does.”
Carol Markham, Consul at the Denver Consulate, provided a background on the defense relationship between Canada and the United States. “Canada and the United States are founding members of the United Nations and NATO. We have fought together in World Wars I and II, in Korea, in the Gulf War, Bosnia, and Afghanistan. Most importantly, the two countries are intelligence allies. It is not in the psyche of Canadians to be a world power, rather Canada has gained a reputation as a peacekeeping nation.”
The workshop offered participants 8 clock hours of professional development credit and included six presentations: “Canada 101” by Jamie Caton and Karen Palmarini, Consulate General of Canada, Denver; “Canada’s Geography,” by Betsy Arntzen, Canadian-American Center, University of Maine; “History of Canada” by Ruth Writer, Michigan State University; “A Portrait of Québec,” by Chris Kirkey, Center for the Study of Canada, SUNY Plattsburg; “Canada’s North and Inuit Homelands,” by Nadine Fabbi, UW Canadian Studies Center; “Best Practices and Resources for Teaching Canada,” by Tina Storer, WWU Center for Canadian-American Studies who also chaired the clinic, and “Tales from Canada” by Michael Cawthra a K-12 STUDY CANADA teacher associate and professional storyteller from Denver.
“My goal is to see Canada show up in our Colorado curriculum at the secondary level. We really need to see Canada in the state standards,” said Katie Lapp, former curriculum coordinator in Colorado. By comparison, the Canada-U.S. relationship is taught every year in Canadian high schools. Afterwards, another teacher commented, “This offers me an extraordinary opportunity to ‘discover’ Canada for myself and for my students”.
According to participant evaluations, all outreach objectives were ranked “excellent” to “outstanding” and the most beneficial aspects of the Canada Clinic were the “amazing amount of relevant info, clear, interesting, [and] well-prepared” as well as “the encouragement and help in understanding so many aspects of Canada and in accessing resources to enrich my classroom study of Canada.”
The special pre-conference clinic was the first in a series to be offered annually in conjunction with NCSS by the National Resource Centers on Canada. The two NRCs also shared a resource booth in the convention center’s exhibit hall, participated in NCSS International Visitors Program and Canada Community activities, and oversaw four additional conference sessions/workshops.
In 2011, the Canada Clinic will be offered at the Canadian Embassy when NCSS is held in Washington, D.C. and, in 2012, it will be offered in Seattle. Both Tina and I serve on the conference planning committee for Seattle 2012 and Tina was elected conference co-chair alongside, Margit MacGuire, Seattle University, Gayle Theiman, Portland State University, and John Moore, NCSS Vice President, Western Kentucky University.
The Canada Clinic four-year program is a Title VI grant-funded activity for the Pacific Northwest and Northeast National Resource Centers on Canada – U.S. Department of Education, International Education Programs Service – in partnership with Embassy and Consulate General of Canada offices in the United States.