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Blog: Thursday, April 4th, 2019

English Department explores “Silent Voices” in Community Connection Project

The Gr. 10 English classes at ATSS under the direction of two English teachers, Mrs. Rebecca Toews and Mrs. Ashley Dueckman had their Gr. 10 English classes engage in a project to explore what they termed “Invisible Voices” within our community.  The purpose of this Inquiry Based Project was to look about our local community and find those people or groups who do not appear to have a regular voice within the community, either because they don’t have a representation, or their voices have been silenced. This was to be accomplished by addressed several curricular competencies in the Gr. 10 English Curriculum. 

  • Use writing and design processes to plan, develop, and create meaningful texts for a variety of purposes and audiences
  • Think critically, creatively, and reflectively to explore ideas within, between, and beyond texts.
  • Demonstrate speaking and listening skills in a variety of formal and informal contexts for a range of purposes
  • Use the conventions of Canadian spelling, grammar, and punctuation proficiently and as appropriate to the context

The students were to research and make that person or group “visible”, to tell their story, to spend time researching and/or interviewing them to find out what it was that they would like to express or have others know about them or their group. Their findings would then be presented to an “authentic audience”, one made up of adults from the community, parents and community members. The topics explored ranged from women, teenagers, the LGBTQ community, South Asian Youth and those in Canada’s Prison System.

This event was held on Thursday evening, it was well attended and Mrs. Toews led the evening with an interview with her own father, Mr. Boakes. The students then proceeded with their presentations to the different groups of parents and community members which had been previously arranged.  Some of the honourable guests attending to be members of the group receiving the presentation were; Nicole Clarke, former ATSS student and current Youth Care Worker at the Abbotsford Foundry, our Mayor, Henry Braun and his wife, our Police Chief, Mike Serr, our School Liason Officer, Cst. Marcus Dyck, UFV Professor of Asian Cultural Studies, Sharanjit Sandhra, School Trustee, Stan Peterson, School District Multicultural Worker, Jeven Randhawa, among others.

The students worked hard on this project and all participated.  It was rewarding to see the presentations as they put their best foot forward.  The evening was enjoyed by all and proved to be a valuable learning experience for our students, both in researching in creating “the voice” and in the presentation before an “authentic” audience.

Principal, Abbotsford Traditional Secondary School