Teachers’ union offers anti-Enbridge lesson plans

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation last week began offering resources to teachers on Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation last week began offering resources to teachers on Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline – a move that has sparked criticism for its blatant opposition of the project.

Resource posters depict a river scene of a grizzly bear eating a salmon amid orcas, seals, an otter and an eagle, while black oil drips across the lower portion of the image. The words “What we stand to lose with pipelines and supertankers” are emblazoned across the top section.

Along with the poster, the teachers’ union has made available resources such as lessons on the importance of protecting ocean ecosystems, the “effects of mixing oil, water, and bird feathers” and a game similar to snakes and ladders, involving pipelines and sunbeams.

While critics, such as Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, have accused the BCTF of presenting propaganda to children, the chairperson of the Greater Victoria Board of Education doesn’t see the lessons as cause for alarm.

“For years teachers have talked about topical and perhaps controversial topics in history, social studies, law, as a way of teaching critical thinking skills to our students. We believe that our teachers are responsible and facilitate these discussions in an unbiased fashion,” said Orcherton. “This isn’t new, it’s just that Enbridge is topical right now.”

It remains unclear if any School District No. 61 teachers plan to use the Enbridge lesson plans. Orcherton said any complaints or concerns from parents that come out of the teaching materials will be dealt with immediately.

Jason Price, an education professor in the department of curriculum and instruction at the University of Victoria, said the BCTF and Enbridge are both involved in the “indoctrination” of students regarding resources and the environment.

“It seems that the BCTF is firing this as a salvo in a sense, but one that in some ways is just as balanced as that of the proponents of the pipeline,” Price said. “We’re not playing with an even playing field.”

BCTF has taken strong positions on First Nations and same sex marriages issues in the past, he said, noting the presence of literature on the federation’s website on how to foster clear thinking on controversial issues.

Students are already exposed to the Enbridge issue via social media, familial influences, or civil disobedience in their communities, and should be welcomed to discuss it within the school environment, Price said.

“The idea that somehow we should create schools as a bubble is responsible for the type of mediocre, non-engaged, go-through-the-motions schooling that we’ve had for so long,” he said.

“One of the frustrations that I have personally is the lack of willingness of teachers to use their academic freedom to discuss controversial issues.

“While the federation might be taking a position and highlighting this lesson plan as an approach, I’d be surprised to see a radical indoctrination in our classrooms. It’s a bogeyman that Conservatives like to play, but it doesn’t really exist.”

Few elements of the B.C. curriculum afford students the opportunity to think critically and teachers often take controversial positions to inspire a critical discussion around media, Price added.

“If (teachers) use these as teaching moments, they have to be very, very clear that they put all of the information in and facilitate in an unbiased fashion,” Orcherton said.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

What do you think?

Give us your comments by email: editor@saanichnews.com. All letters must have a name and a telephone number for verification.

 

 

Just Posted

Sea King helicopters make formal retirement flight Monday

Monday flight pattern includes Duncan, Nanaimo, Parksville and Qualicum

Victoria athletes gold at karate provincials

Provincials were held in early December at The Richmond Olympic Oval

Police investigating ‘unprovoked attack’ at Uptown bus stop

Man was attacked while waiting at Douglas St bus stop Sunday night

Intense winds could reach 70km in Greater Victoria

Environment Canada issued wind warning for Dec. 17

Langford elementary school kids test their hand at entrepreneurship

Students sold their own products at a Young Entrepreneurs Fair Friday

Ryan Reynolds to narrate movie about B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest

Vancouver-born actor known for Deadpool movies will voice film to be released Feb. 15, 2019

Airline passengers could get up to $2,400 for delays, damaged bags: Canadian agency

Canadian Transportation Agency is releasing draft regulations for public feedback

Top of mind: ‘Justice’ is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year

Merriam-Webster has chosen “justice” as its 2018 word of the year, driven by the churning news cycle and President Trump’s Twitter feed.

‘Spider-Verse’ swings to the top; ‘Mortal Engines’ tanks

“Spider-Verse” has been very well-received among critics, and audiences in exit surveys gave it a rare A+ CinemaScore.

Speaker at rally says Alberta oil ‘puts tofu on the table in Toronto!’

RCMP estimated more than 1,500 people attended the rally in Grande Prairie

White House closer to partial shutdown with wall demand

Without a resolution, parts of the federal government will shut down at midnight on Friday, Dec. 21

Struggling Vancouver Island family needs help after baby born two months premature

A GoFundMe page has been set up as a difficult pregnancy and a long stay in Victoria have left the family struggling to get by

Canucks score 3 power-play goals in 4-2 win over Oilers

Vancouver sniper Boeser has 6 goals in last 5 games

Most Read