Canadian History in the Twentieth Century

Time: 225 minutes Description

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Time: 225 minutes


Students assess the appeal of Prime Minister Trudeau and the causes of Trudeaumania. They gain an understanding of and evaluate his contributions to Canada. In particular, they understand Trudeau’s vision of a just society and its impact on Canadians, especially marginalized groups. They record their notes in their research log for the culminating activity.

Strand(s) and Expectations

Ontario Catholic School Graduate Expectations: CGE1f, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3f, 4d, 7e, 7h.

Strand(s): Change and Continuity; Citizenship and Heritage.

Overall Expectations: CCV.01, CHV.01, CHV.02.

Specific Expectations

CC1.05 - assess the impact of demographic and social changes on Aboriginal communities;

CH1.01 - summarize the contributions of the women’s movement;

CH1.03 - describe the contributions of Aboriginal peoples in forming national organizations to gain recognition and rights for Aboriginal peoples;

CH2.03 - compare the backgrounds, careers, and contributions of twentieth-century Canadian prime ministers, in both formal and anecdotal reports.

Planning Notes

  • Bring to class various photos of men and women who represent a range of personalities and a cross-section of society, e.g., a conservatively dressed, middle aged man and similarly dressed woman; sports celebrity; well known actor (preferably someone who has portrayed a politician); young, non-traditionally dressed man or woman.

  • Have chart paper and markers in class.

  • Have available Catechism of the Catholic Church and Towards a Just Society.

Prior Knowledge Required

Students require an understanding of the methods of historical inquiry to investigate topics and issues in history. They are able to organize information using webs or charts. They should be able to describe the contributions to Canadian society of its regional, linguistic, ethnic, and religious communities. They should also be prepared to draw from the Grade 8 unit on Confederation and the BNA Act.

Teaching/Learning Strategies

1. Begin this activity by asking students to share their responses from Activity 2 on what makes a good leader. Show them the photos and tell them that they represent candidates for the job of prime minister. Ask them to look at each candidate carefully and determine for whom they would vote. They must explain their selection in their notebook. Ask them to predict which candidate their peers were most likely to select. They next select partners and compare their choices and then share with a group of five other students and survey the selections in their group. Regroup as a whole class and survey by show of hands the number of votes each candidate received. Discuss with students the importance of image when running for office. A good example of image and politics is the Nixon-Kennedy debate. Those who heard the debate on the radio thought Nixon was the winner; those who saw it on television thought Kennedy was the winner. The discrepancy was attributed to the impact that media image had on the voters.

2. Ask students to recall social changes during the sixties discussed in Activity 1. In particular recall the phenomenon of Beatlemania and link it to Trudeaumania. Ask the class to work in pairs and determine the causes of Beatlemania and how this same phenomenon could apply to a political figure. Read the section in the textbook on Trudeaumania, discuss, and take notes. Provide the class with biographical information on Trudeau and reinforce his appeal to young voters. Students should be reminded that these notes are used for the culminating activity.

3. Ask students to consider the separatist problem in Canada and Trudeau’s French-English background. Explain to the class that some goals of the government of Canada at the time were to help Quebec feel at home in Canada and find a solution to separatism. Trudeau, because he was of both English and French background, appeared to represent a balance between the two founding cultures of Canada. Recount the events of 24 June 1968 St. Jean Baptiste Parade. Ask the students to determine what role these events played in Trudeau’s election. Did he have all the qualities of a good prime minister? They record this information in the research log.

4. This part of the activity deals with the years in which Trudeau was in power and his government’s success or failure in achieving justice for aboriginals, women, and immigrants. Write the following question on the board: “What is a just society?” Ask students to consider laws, the treatment of Canada’s many different people, the economy, and any other issue relevant to their life. They record their answers in their notebooks.

5. Arrange students in groups of four and give each group a piece of chart paper and markers. They write the statement “A Just Society Is…” on their paper and organize their responses in any way they see most appropriate; thought web, flow chart, point form notes, collage. Tape the charts on the wall near the group.

6. Instruct students as follows: with your marker walk around the classroom to the various charts. After reading the chart, put an “x” beside anything which you feel is not about promoting equality. The teacher walks around with students to offer guidance. Read and discuss with students Trudeau’s definition of justice from A Just Society (p. 358) The key statement to reinforce with the students is: “the value with the highest priority in the pursuit of a Just Society had become equality…of opportunity.” Then read with them the definition of justice from Catechism of the Catholic Church 1807. The following sentence is placed on the board: “Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man is distinguished…by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbour.” Ask each group to read the points left on their chart and as a class write a definition of justice.

7. Students use their textbooks and any supplemental material provided by the teacher to research the social conditions of aboriginal peoples, women, and immigrants in Canada up to the Trudeau era. Students work in groups of six and complete a chart on chart paper indicating the challenges faced and those overcome by those social groups. The teacher works with each group to help define key terms and issues.

8. Ask students to recall the songs they listened to in Activity 1 and discuss how accurate they were in describing the social conditions of some Canadians in the sixties and seventies.

9. Assign readings from the text that deal with Trudeau in power. In a teacher-directed lesson, using supplemental material (i.e., Towards a Just Society), teach Trudeau’s efforts to achieve justice for those groups. These notes are recorded in students’ research logs. They then write a reflection on: “Was Trudeau’s vision of justice realized?”

10. Arrange students in groups of four. They prepare a visual display on a bristol board that includes 1) a prayer, 2) a poem/song, 3) a drawing/painting, 4) a personal symbol that reflects their role as Catholics to end injustice.

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