TC² @ 25
Focus for This Month
Success Stories
Next Steps
Media Release
TC² @ 25
Focus for This Month
Success Stories
Next Steps
Media Release

Bringing Investigation into the History Classroom


John Myers

A grassroots movement

While witnessing the evolution of the grassroots movement that became the TC² we know today, I have been impressed on a number of fronts. Quite obvious, perhaps, is TC²’s longevity (to which I can attest, having met the founders in grad school more than 30 years ago). A more difficult achievement has been TC²’s design of programs that adhere to the curricula yet allow the teacher to try a new approach. To expand its reach, TC² created an expansive website that includes countless offerings designed to help teachers take little steps to introduce new ideas without disrupting a whole course. TC² has effectively “shrunk” change, so that busy teachers can try new ideas at a pace comfortable for them.


Influencing history and social studies classrooms

Allow me to draw your attention to TC²’s work in the area of history and social studies, since they are at the core of my teaching and research. Three noteworthy facets in TC²’s development affect teaching in these subjects directly. First, TC²‘s curriculum offerings have expanded from a British Columbia curriculum focus to much more of a national one, including the creation of much needed resources en français. Secondly, TC²’s work has complemented other efforts in North America to shift the study of history to one of investigation (as befits the etymology of the word) and away from a dry recitation of purported facts. This approach has much more potential for engaging students.

The third facet that interests me is TC²’s movement toward a much more inclusive consideration of social history, exploring the histories of Indigenous peoples. Instead of telling students what to think or how to think about reconciliation, settlement, immigration, and the challenges of diversity within Canada, we can use critical inquiry to help students explore the relevant histories and issues, so that they begin to think and care deeply.


Challenging students to think through reconciliation

Consider, for example, TC²’s collaborations with like-minded organizations. The most recent of these, involved a partnership with the Grand Erie District School Board and Indigenous educators. The title of the resulting teaching resource is telling, as it hints at the kind of challenge question that TC² can help teachers bring into the classroom: How Can I Contribute to Meaningful Reconciliation? As is typical of the TC² approach, this resource does not give answers to the challenge question but instead provides teachers with the tools to help students wrestle with the question themselves.

TC² poses insightful critical questions that challenge students as well as teachers to respond. In this way, history—which could be easy and boring—becomes both challenging and relevant.

John JC Myers
Curriculum Instructor
Elementary and Secondary Education
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto