The Politics of Pedagogy




Duggan, Mackenzie

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University of Victoria


This study investigates the knowledge gaps in high school education regarding residential schools and climate change, specifically in Alberta and British Columbia. The research employs qualitative interviews with university students from both provinces to understand how these gaps influence university students' understanding of social justice issues in differing ways, exploring what students learned, or failed to learn, about residential schools and climate change—two pressing and timely social issues. A key focus is on understanding how students fill these educational gaps post-high school, whether through university courses, individual educators' efforts, or alternative sources like social media. The findings reveal significant differences in the effectiveness of high school education between the two provinces, particularly in teaching about residential schools, with British Columbia generally outperforming Alberta. Moreover, both provinces show a substantial deficiency in climate change education. Notably, students often rely on individual initiatives rather than structured curriculum to bridge these knowledge gaps. The study highlights the potential of empowered students in driving social change, once equipped with the necessary knowledge. This research underscores the importance of comprehensive education on critical social issues at the high school level, supporting reforms to ensure students have early access to this vital knowledge. It contributes valuable insights into the necessity of enhancing curriculum and teaching methods for a more informed, mobilized and socially conscious student body.



social justice, pedagogy, education, Reconciliation, climate change, politics