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

Victoria-born, 16-time Grammy winning musician David Foster penned a letter to the Greater Victoria School District May 7 urging them not to cut music programs. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
David Foster joins fight to save music in Greater Victoria School District

‘Music is the great equalizer’ Foster wrote in a letter to the district

‘Nindanikoobijiganag: We are Star People’ by Mississauga Nishnaabe Lucbanin artist Estrella Whetung. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Victoria beadwork exhibit speaks to evolving, enduring nature of Indigenous art

On Beaded Ground features work from West Coast artists and a Cedar Hill Middle School group

Former Victoria HarbourCat and Chicago White Sox player Andrew Vaughn. (Photo courtesy of Chicago White Sox)
Former Victoria HarbourCat hits first MLB home run, adds another two days later

Andrew Vaughn is the first HarbourCat alumni to hit a homer in the majors

A seniors housing complex proposed for Cedar Hill Road in Saanich was supported by council after a public hearing on May 12. (Rendering by Jenson Group Architects)
New 85-unit seniors housing development gets green light from Saanich council

Four-storey rental complex would be located on Cedar Hill Road

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Most Read