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Canadian History: The Early Years

ACADEMIC/APPLIED (CHC2D/ CHC2P)

This course explores some of the pivotal local, national and global events and experiences that have influenced the development of Deaf Canadians’ identity from the early nineteenth century. Students will investigate the challenges presented by the economic, social, and technological changes and explore the contributions of individuals and groups to Deaf Canadian culture and community during this period. Students will use critical-thinking and communication skills to evaluate various interpretations of the issues and events of the period and to present their own points of view.

Note: Early Deaf education and emerging Deaf communities played a pivotal role in bringing Deaf individuals together, creating Deaf Canadian society and history. It is vital to begin an overview of Deaf history with an in-depth introduction to early Deaf education and the community in order to bring forth the cultural, social, linguistic, and political characteristics of Deaf society. This presents an opportunity for students to explore and connect current trends of Deaf society with the linear historical timeline of early Deaf education and the community.

Reference: For a list of links, please click on “Deaf History References”.

Overall Expectations

By the end of this course, students will:

  • describe and analyse some of the major local, national, and global forces and events that have influenced Deaf education development and movements since the early nineteenth century;
  • explain the significance of some key Deaf education individuals, issues and events since the early nineteenth century;
  • evaluate the impact of major technological developments on the Deaf community in different periods;
  • describe linguistic, economic, social and cultural changes in Canada’s Deaf community since the early 19th century;
  • assess how individual Deaf Canadians have contributed to the development of Canada’s Deaf community and the sense of identity;
  • formulate questions on topics and issues in the history of  Deaf Canadians since the early 19th century, and use appropriate methods of historical research to locate, gather, evaluate, and organize relevant information from a variety of sources;
  • interpret and analyse information gathered through research, employing concepts and approaches appropriate to historical inquiry.

Specific Expectations

Early Deaf Education Development
By the end of this course, students will:

  • identify contributions to Canada’s Deaf education development (e.g., Laurent Clerc, American School for the Deaf, MacDonald’s School);
  • explain how participation in international events, institutions, and conferences have contributed to Canada’s Deaf education development (e.g., early Spanish influence from the 16th century, Deaf school establishment in France, American School for the Deaf, Gallaudet College, 1880 World Congress in Milan);
  • assess the influence of key individuals from United States and Europe on Canada’s Deaf education development (e.g., Spanish Monks, Abbé de l’Epée, Roche Sicard, Jean Massieu, Laurent Clerc, Thomas Gallaudet, Thomas Widd, Samuel Greene);
  • identify the contributions made by selected Deaf and hearing educators on the development of Deaf education across Canada (e.g., Thomas Widd, Margaret Widd, Samuel Greene, Antoine Caron, Rev. Joseph-Marie Young, William Gray, George Tait, Mary Ettie, Maureen Mitchell Donald, R.J.D. Williams);
  • examine the timeline of the spread of Deaf education from East to the West coast of Canada;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the experiences of Deaf students (e.g., the students’ annual railway journeys to Deaf schools, participation in the war efforts through production of goods, “firewood boys” in Manitoba);
  • describe some aspects of the impact of Deaf schools in Canada on the experience and memory of Deaf students (e.g., train journey from the west to east, communal living, etc…);
  • explain the historical and cultural influence of the mainstream during selected periods on the development of Deaf education in Canada (e.g., the “birth” of ASL through interplay of LSF and Deaf individuals from Martha’s Vineyard and the American School for the Deaf, Halifax 1917 Explosion’s impact on the Deaf school in WWI and its impact on name signs – ie use of descriptive name signs);
  • explain the influence of separate boys’ and girls’Deaf schools in Quebec and their impact on the later development of LSQ as a distinct language from ASL.

Early Deaf Community
By the end of this course, students will:

  • describe Deaf Canadians’ contributions to the emergence of the Deaf community through the formation of social, cultural, and linguistic societies, clubs, associations and organizations (e.g., literary societies, local, provincial and national picnics/gatherings/festivals/conferences, formation of printed materials by and for Deaf people, schools as the meeting place);
  • identify major groups of immigrants that have come to Canada and describe the circumstances that led to their immigration (e.g., push factors: impact of declining economy & job opportunities for Deaf individuals; pull factors: economic opportunities in Canada, free land incentives – Jane Elizabeth Groom, U.K. missionary);

Individual Deaf Canadians and their Contributions to the Deaf Community
By the end of this course, students will:

  • assess the contributions of selected individuals to the development of Deaf Canadian identity since the early days (e.g., Jane Elizabeth Groom, Thomas Widd, Samuel Greene, Deaf settlers in Western Canada, David Peikoff, Marshall Wick, Forrest Nickerson, David G. Mason, Gordon Ryall, Raymond Dewar, James McLean, Alexander Mutter Brodie, Rachel Christie, Angela Stratiy, Joseph McLaughlin, etc.);

Social and Political Movements
By the end of this course, students will:

  • summarize the key contributions of selected Deaf women in Canada since the early days (e.g., Jane Elizabeth Groom, Margaret Widd, Mary Lonsdale, Ada James, Christie Stephenson, Charmaine Letourneau)
  • evaluate the role of various movements that resulted in the founding of Deaf societies, clubs, associations and organizations (e.g., literary societies, annual convocations on local, provincial and national levels, formation of organizations on all three levels – Canadian Association of the Deaf, Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf, Canadian Deaf Sports Association, Eastern Canada Association of the Deaf,  Ontario Association of the Deaf, Edmonton Association of the Deaf, etc.)
  • analyze programs & services available for Deaf consumers (e.g., Canadian Hearing Society, Silent Voice, interpreting services);

Impact of Scientific and Technological Developments
By the end of this course, students will:

  • explain how key technological developments have changed the everyday lives of Deaf Canadians since World War I (e.g., vibrating alarm, door bell/telephone signal lights, closed captioned television, TTY, videophone, cochlear implants, hearing aids, FM, pager);
  • analyse how technological developments have changed working conditions for Deaf Canadians since World War I (e.g., less job opportunities for factory workers, increase in diversity of occupations by the Deaf population since the early days);

Economic and Social Conditions
By the end of this course, students will:

  • compare economic conditions at selected times in Canada’s history and describe their impact on the daily lives of Deaf Canadians (e.g., boom periods of the 1920s – proliferation of Deaf printers,1950s–1960s – the oralist era- shift in Deaf education trends,  the 1980s – the “Deaf Human Rights Decade”);
  • assess the contributions made by Deaf Canadian entrepreneurs to the development of the Canadian economy (e.g., shoemaking, tailoring, carpentry, farming, printing and setting types, factory work, machine-sewing, baking, carving, teachers, lawyers, postal workers, engineers, sign painters, doctors, etc.);

Research
By the end of this course, students will:

  • formulate different types of questions (e.g., factual: What were the elements of the early Deaf education development? causal: What were the causes of the closing of Deaf schools?; comparative: Contrast the patterns of Deaf education from those in 1900’s to 1990’s?; speculative: What would be some of the consequences of innovative technological changes? What would be some of the consequence if more Deaf individuals served on the Canadian legislature [refer to Gary Malkowski, first Canadian Deaf MPP]) when researching historical topics, issues, and events;
  • gather information on Deaf Canadian history and current events from a variety of sources (e.g., textbooks and reference books, newspapers, the Internet) found in various locations (e.g., school libraries, resource centres, Deaf Culture Centre, museums, historic sites, community and government resources);
  • distinguish between primary and secondary sources of information (e.g., primary: diaries, documents; secondary: textbooks, television documentaries), and use both in historical research;
  • evaluate the credibility of sources and information (e.g., by considering the authority and expertise of the source and checking the information for accuracy, underlying assumptions, stereotypes, prejudice, and bias);
  • organize and record information gathered through research (e.g., using notes, lists, concept webs, timelines, charts, maps, graphs, mind maps);
  • formulate and use a thesis statement when researching a historical topic or issue;

Interpretation and Analysis
By the end of this course, students will:

  • analyse information, employing concepts and theories appropriate to historical inquiry (e.g., chronology, cause and effect, short- and long-term consequences);
  • identify different viewpoints and explicit biases when interpreting information for research or when participating in a discussion;
  • draw conclusions and make reasoned generalizations or appropriate predictions on the basis of relevant and sufficient supporting evidence;

Communication
By the end of this course, students will:

  • express ideas, arguments, and conclusions, as appropriate for the audience and purpose, using a variety of styles and forms (e.g., reports, essays, debates, role playing, group presentations);
  • use an accepted form of documentation (e.g., footnotes, endnotes, or author-date citations; bibliographies or reference lists) to acknowledge all sources of information, including interviews, electronic sources;
  • use appropriate terminology to communicate results of inquiries into historical topics and issues.
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