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Citizenship Education

Posted by Angelica Radjenovic
1 October 2015 - 1:01pm

            This summer I had time to think about something new that I plan to do with my students this year. I am dedicated to engage students to discover the nation’s past by fusing the concepts of historical consciousness and citizenship education.  While searching for resources to assist in this task I discovered a variety of interactive lesson plans published by “Canada’s History.” This website provides many useful lessons and brings together the experiences of teachers and students in history classrooms.

            I was particularly impressed by Linda-Rae J. Carson’s lesson plan Historical Consciousness: Infusing Identity and Citizenship. As a recipient of the 2005 Governor-General’s Award, she argues, “students bring far more historical skills to class than previously recognized” (Carson, 2015). She harnesses this idea through her lesson plans and more specifically, to encourage students to explore the relationship between one’s family history to that of Canada.

            Students will discover their own identity by reflecting on their place of birth, parent’s place of birth and where they would like to live. They will compare the responses to how Canada’s national identify has changed over time. The purpose of this activity is to help students write a narrative essay about their past in addition to the purpose of Canadian citizenship. Students will reflect on the following concepts.

  • Size of family and locations lived
  • Livelihoods or careers
  • Schooling
  • Academic/sports achievements
  • Significant illnesses/injuries that may have been the result of an epidemic, a war, or, an occupational hazard that then may have caused your family some hardship
  • Political or economic activities that may have had an effect on the family’s situation.
  •  Migration to and within Canada (When? Why?).

The final task requires students to fuse their understand of citizenship education with Canada’s past. Students are then asked four questions to gauge how their understanding of Canadian history has changed and whether they had a different sense of Canada’s identity. I knew I had to incorporate this lesson plan into my classroom. I can say for certain that Canada’s identity and sense of citizenship has evolved to a nation state built on immigration.  Were it not for Canada’s past, one’s sense of identity and citizenship would not be where it is today. One idea that I will question is to what extent has global factors effected Canada’s sense of identity, history and citizenship?

            It is, however, important for students to mobilize historical consciousness to discover or refresh how certain events in Canada may have shaped their own conceptions of citizenship and identity in addition to how it has impacted their own family’s history.


Canada's History. (2015). Retrieved September 20, 2015, from

Carson, L. (2015). Historical Consciousness: Infusing Identity and Citizenship. Retrieved September 23, 2015, from