This month I conducted my first interview with Laryssa Gorecki, an English teacher at James Cardinal McGuigan Catholic High School in Toronto. She's been incorporating Indigenous content into her classroom in the West end of the city, and finding that her students from all different backgrounds have points of connection to the material.
Laryssa speaks to us about her unit, and addresses questions any teacher might have, including navigating her role as a relatively new learner in this area.
What does Laryssa teach?
The unit on Truth and Reconciliation examined the implications of using arts-based activities, including music, drama, and picture books, as a means to build student capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect. Through an aesthetic approach, students actively engaged with the themes found in various artwork, songs, and narratives by Indigenous authors and artists. The unit culminated with a project expressing cognitive and aesthetic growth in our student community.
Resources Laryssa uses:
- Academic: Integrating Academic Perspectives into the School Curriculum Dr. Yatta Kanu
- Strength and Struggle: Perspectives from First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Peoples in Canada & accompanying teacher resource - McGrawHill
- Dreaming in Indian edited by Lisa Charleyboy & Mary Beth Leatherdale
- Say Magazine
- The work of Kathleen Gould Lundy such as Teaching Fairly in an Unfair World.