August 15, 2017
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has presented Peel occasional teacher Natasha Henry with its 2017 Curriculum Development Award for her extensive classroom resources for Black History Month.
The award is presented to an ETFO member or group of members to recognize a curriculum unit or resource that they have developed.
An educator, historian and curriculum consultant, Natasha developed a Black History Matters teacher resource that provides a guide to the history and contributions of African civilizations and people of African descent in Canada. It challenges students to use media literacy skills as a vehicle to explore various aspects of Black history through biographies, online tools and other historical resources. Black History Matters is available to all educators through the Toronto Star’s Classroom Connections.
The guide helps teachers and students to develop a critical understanding of the context of the history of Black Canadians beginning with an exploration of the African civilization of Nubia. A module on slavery and freedom starts with the enslaved Africans first brought to New France in the early 1600s and covers their emancipation, participation in the war of 1812 and settlement in Ontario. Other teaching modules delve into African Canadian life in the 20th century, and the legacies, struggles and contributions of Black people in the 21st century, most importantly the struggle for equality.
Natasha has written a number of books on the African Diasporic experience and contributed several entries to the Canadian Encyclopedia on African Canadian history. She is the recipient of the 2014 Gold Medal Moonbeam Children’s Award for Multicultural Non-Fiction for her book Firsts. An interview with Natasha was featured in the Spring 2016 edition of ETFO’s Voice magazine and can be viewed here.
“In this educator resource and in all her work, Natasha has made a significant contribution to deepening our understanding of the African Canadian experience,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond. “Learning the historical context of Black lives and experiences is critical for providing a context to current day issues articulated by Black Canadians.”
ETFO is committed to building better schools. Its Building Better Schools education agenda can be viewed at buildingbetterschools.ca. The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario represents 78,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province.