I recently completed my Ph.D. in History at York University. I currently teach Canadian history (along with a handful of other subjects) at St. Clement's School, an all-girls indepdent school in North Toronto.
At present I have three principal areas of interests.
First, one of my principal aims is to design curriculum for my students that enables them to discover the various interpretations of the past and then asks them to arrive at their own conclusions. One of the core understandings that I established for the grade 10 Canadian history course that I teach, is that historians can and do disagree in their interpretations and that our views/understandings of the past change over time.
Second, I am also working with ideas around historical empathy. In our recent discussion of the policy of "enemy alien" internment during during the First World War students expressed shock at the practice. Based on our study of the topic, I then asked my students to produce a journal/diary entry on the topic from the perspective of a "patriotic" Canadian of British-descent in an effort to explore why so many contemporaries supported the policy. In a more speculative exercise, I then asked students to imagine themselves in the shoes of an internee and how they might have felt.
Finally, in my own doctoral research oral history played a significant role. As part of my daily teaching practice, I incorporate a number of different types of sources. Students are encouraged to critically reflect on these sources. This includes asking themselves, who and what is left out of these accounts? One recurring theme among my students is that the voices of "everyday" Canadians are often difficult to discern. In the future, I hope to design curriculum that involves the use of oral history as a means of investigating the lives of "everyday" Canadians.
David Mizener, Ph.D., B.Ed., OCT
Teacher, Social Science Department
St. Clement's School, Toronto, Ontario