MSSTA - Teaching in an Age of Polarization and Extremism

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Manitoba Social Science Teachers' Association (MSSTA)

Conference Title: Teaching in an Age of Polarization and Extremism

Location: Valley Gardens Middle School, 220 Antrim Rd., Winnipeg, MB

Date: October 20, 2023

Canada and other countries across the globe are currently facing challenges related to growing polarization in their communities. Political, socio-economic, environmental, and other issues incite strong and opposing views, further entrenched by manipulative algorithms and the echo chambers created by social media. Recently–and particularly during the pandemic–this polarization has led to an increase in extremism and radicalism. Research suggests radicalization can take place as early as adolescence, particularly in marginalized youth. However, the roots of extreme behaviour can be established in the Early Years making this issue important to all educators from Kindergarten to Grade 12. As social science teachers, we have a professional duty to help our students understand and develop the skills needed to resist this growing phenomenon.

This year’s MSSTA MTS PD Day is being delivered in partnership with ERiM (Extremism and Radicalization to Violence Prevention in Manitoba). ERiM is an organization of Manitoba educators and education stakeholders funded by Public Safety Canada to develop a resource for teachers to recognize and counter radicalization within their schools before it occurs. We are pleased to launch this new resource at our October PD Day and to welcome our keynote speaker Dr. Barbara Perry, one of the foremost Canadian experts in the areas of radicalization, right-wing extremism, and hate crime along with our plenary panelists, Brad Galloway and Mubin Shaikh.

08:00 am - 09:00 am - Registration, Check-In, Displayers
09:00 am - 09:15 am - Welcome/Introductions
09:15 am - 10:00 am - Keynote
10:00 am - 10:20 am - Displayers/Coffee
10:20 am - 11:10 am - Concurrent Session #1
11:15 am - 12:00 pm - Panel
12:00 pm - 12:55 pm - Lunch
01:00 pm - 01:50 pm - Concurrent Session #2
01:50 pm - 02:05 pm - Displayers/Coffee
02:05 pm - 02:55 pm - Concurrent Session #3
03:00 pm - 03:30 pm - AGM

Educators of Social Justice: This is a full day session for members and non-members, which includes required keynote address, panel discussion,your choice for session #1, in class. After lunch, an off-site location in the afternoon at Seven Oaks Land-based Learning Centre, 1985-A Grassmere Road, West St. Paul, MB.

Membership and Conference Fees
Full Day Conference & Membership:............Before October 1st $85......Starting October 1st $110
Half Day Conference & Membership............Before October 1st $70......Starting October 1st $95
Full Day (Non-Member) .........Before October 1st $100.....Starting October 1st $125
Half Day (Non-Member).........Before October 1st $85.......Starting October 1st $110
Education Students, MSSTA Executive & Volunteers (ID may be required)...........$20

Cancellation Policy: No refunds will be issued after October 17.

If you need Conference Information, please send message to:, or If you need Registration Information, please send message to:

Sessions - 9:15 AM-10:00 AM

Keynote Address

Dr. Barbara Perry

“The Continuum of Hate and Its Impact on Radicalization: A Primer for Educators”

Recent years have seen significant growth in an array of manifestations of hate, both in Canada and elsewhere in the world. In this keynote address, Dr. Perry will focus on the contexts and contours that characterize these disturbing trends. In particular, she will examine the rise in political discourses of hate, hate crimes, online hate, and right-wing extremism in Canada, and will discuss specific considerations of the ways in which educators can intervene to stem the tide.

Dr. Barbara Perry is the Director of the Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism. She has written extensively in the area of hate crime and right-wing extremism. Her books include:
• In the Name of Hate: Understanding Hate Crimes
• Hate and Bias Crime: A Reader
• The Silent Victims: Hate Crimes Against Native Americans

She is also General Editor of a five-volume set on hate crime (Praeger), and Editor of Volume 3: The Victims of Hate Crime, which is part of that set.

Dr. Perry has written on policing diverse communities, including work on social control in Native American communities. She has made substantial contributions to the limited scholarship on hate crime in Canada. Most recently, she has contributed to a scholarly understanding of anti-Muslim violence, hate crime against LGBTQ communities, the community impacts of hate crime, and right-wing extremism.

Sessions - 10:20 AM-11:10 AM

1-01: Follow-up Q and A to Keynote Presentation: The Continuum of Hate and Its Impact on Radicalization: A Primer for Educators

Dr. Barbara Perry, Director of Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism

This session is a continuation of the Keynote Address with Dr. Barbara Perry.

1-02: Johnny Don’t Bring Your Gun to School: Understanding and Applying the ERIM Toolkit in the High School Classroom

Larry Paetkau, Retired High School Teacher, ERIM

An exploration of the ERIM (Extremism and Radicalization to Violence Prevention in Manitoba) toolkit for teachers with a focus on integrating the idea of preventing radicalization into subject areas.

1-03: Teaching and Learning in the Age of Extremism and Polarization: A Model to Understand Discourses and Identities in Classrooms

Tim Beyak, Louis Riel School Division

Discourses are flows of communication in our world. Discourses inform identities, and identities inform discourses that impact how we think, communicate, and live. This presentation includes a model to consider the complexities of discourse and identity in the classroom around social studies teaching and learning for anti-extremism and democratic citizenship.

1-04: Teaching Canadian History for Today's Learners Using a Thematic Approach

Greg Shedden and Ben Shedden, High School Teacher, Winnipeg School Division

Award winning educator with over 30 years’ experience outlines processes for teaching Canadian History using a thematic approach that also integrates spiral elements. Students are guided as they create the goals for the course in the first 2 weeks creating a mind map of the issues that we are presently struggling to understand. The instructor then begins with a study of our Indigenous peoples from pre-colonial times until the issues of today. Students then choose the next modern issue that they wish to explore through a study of the history that created that issue.

1-05: Humanitarian Education Workshop

Karyn Stone, International Humanitarian Law Coordinator, Canadian Red Cross

Participants will explore classroom activities that introduce the principles of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and related issues to young people.

Participants will learn to implement practical activities dealing with issues relating to global conflict; international humanitarian law; human rights; war crimes; refugees; child soldiers; gender-based violence; attacks on civilians, hospitals, and schools; and environmental destruction due to war.

The Humanitarian Education (HEd) teacher training utilizes an easy-to-use, adaptable toolkit aimed at students 13 – 18 years of age.

The content of the HEd training complements academic subjects such as global issues, social studies, history, law, and language arts.

Participants will be introduced to the interactive resource Forced to Fight, the Exploring Humanitarian Law toolkit, and Canada and Conflict manual.

1-06: Red River Heritage Fair Prior Continuity and Change

Orysya Petryshyn and Joanna Dawson, High School Teacher, Winnipeg School Division

Preparing Educators, Provide Lesson Plans, Rubrics, how to prepare and participate during the Red River Heritage Fair While Applying Different Historical Thinking Concepts.

1-07: Was Canada's participation in the Korean War successful?

Robert Jardine, High School Teacher, Social Studies Educators Network of Canada

This session introduces participants to one of the lessons in SSENC's newly published resource:
Canada’s Participation in the Korean War: Inquiry, Historical Thinking, and Action. The session gives an overview of the project and the individual lesson.

1-08: Welcome- Ahlan W Shalan - Refugee story in Canadian schools, A personal Memoir

Izzeddin Hawamda, High School Teacher, Seven Oaks School Division

I am a high school teacher in Winnipeg, and my Canadian education journey began as a teenage refugee from Palestine in 2003. Soon after my family and I arrived in Canada I was placed in an English as an Additional Language class, along with eight other refugee students. As refugees, we were treated very differently by the other students in our high school. We always watched life from the sidelines and were never invited to be part of the school community. I remember going to school events and standing at the gym door, afraid to enter because the other students would make fun of how I spoke “broken” English.

As my heart stumbles between Palestine and Canada, I often feel lost. As I teach my classes every morning, I bring the smell of Thyme from my land along with being told to “go back home” in my first month in Canada. I have come to understand that many newcomer students I teach today feel the same way I felt when I arrived in Winnipeg. As a teacher, I have started to share more of my story with my students in hopes to create space for their stories. As we engage in telling our collective story, words leave our hearts like a scared gazelle so quickly, so painfully echoing our presence and struggles.

1-09: Treaty Education for All: Teaching Treaties Across the Curriculum

Connie Wyatt Anderson, Treaty Education Lead, Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba

In June, Manitoba Education announced that all teachers must be trained in Treaty Education by 2026. The plan, called Treaty Education for All, outlined initiatives for teachers and students to explore Treaties and their importance as foundational land-sharing agreements. This session will provide an overview of Treaty Education, K-12, along with practical and meaningful tips for cross-curricular implementation.

1-10: Dealing with Controversy in the Classroom

Michael Zwaagstra, High School Teacher, Hanover School Division

One of the most difficult aspects of a teacher's job is dealing with controversial issues when they come up in class. This session will provide social studies teachers with practical suggestions for how to handle controversial topics in a sensible way that doesn't put their careers in jeopardy.

1-11: PRIDE VS Protestors

Pamela Schoen, High School Teacher, Louis Riel School Division

Recently, one of the LRSD board members posted homophobic/anti-trans content on social media, despite contractually agreeing to support the division's policies on equity and diversity. The board member's subsequent suspension led to a protest by her supporters at a board meeting, where police had to be called. How can I teach in a division where there is such division?

1-12: Educators for Climate Justice

Educators for Climate Action is a group to support K-12 climate action in Manitoba, which includes nature play, outdoor education, land-based learning, and ecological justice. This morning's session will involve a climate action in schools panel, followed by collaborative dialogue.

1-13: Teaching History Through an Early Years Lens

Scott Templeton, Elementary School Teacher, St. James-Assiniboia School Division

Have you ever struggled to engage younger students with history? Have you ever resisted teaching difficult topics around Canada’s history? Anyone that has taught elementary age students knows the difficulties with teaching social studies in a meaningful manner. In this presentation, I will explain how my experiences as a brief high school history teacher and history enthusiast myself, have translated into my current role as a grade 4/5 teacher. I will provide examples, learning experiences, tips, and tricks that I have discovered in my first few years of teaching. My goal is to show how I have found success in getting students to understand Canada's history and their role in addressing the wrongs of the past.

Sessions - 11:15 AM-12:00 PM


Plenary Panel Discussion: Brad Galloway & Mubin Shaikh

“Insights from Former Extremists”

Brad Galloway and Mubin Shaikh, two former extremists who now work as activists to prevent radicalization and extremism, will share insights and personal stories about their trajectories into and out of violent extremism.

Research suggests there is no single pathway to radicalization or violent extremism, but there are common patterns. Many former extremists, or “formers” as they are commonly referred to, suggest that preventing radicalization to violent extremism requires a multi-dimensional response, involving support from parents and care-givers educators, law enforcement officials, and other credible formers.

Brad Galloway is the Coordinator at the Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism, where he coordinates public outreach and events and has been tasked to build the Global Network Against Hate. He brings a wealth of experience from his work in the countering and preventing violent extremism and terrorism space, and his more recent work with NGO's such as Life After Hate. He conducts consultancy and mentorship work with the Evolve program at the Organization for the Prevention of Violence. He has also worked as a research assistant on a number of projects that are currently funded by Public Safety Canada and the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society. Mr. Galloway has served as a consultant for Google, Moonshot CVE, and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, among others. His primary research interests include right-wing extremism and terrorism, preventing and countering violent extremism, and the roles of former extremists in combating violent extremism. Mr. Galloway draws from his lived experiences in the far right, which he left behind in 2011.

Mubin Shaikh is a former supporter of extremism turned undercover operative for CSIS and the RCMP, with extensive experience working in radicalized and extremist circles. He was the primary witness in the 5 legal hearings related to the 4-year prosecution of the so-called "Toronto 18" group and was extensively involved in anti-ISIS activities for the United States and allied military, intelligence, and special operations forces. Mr. Shaikh is well known in international specialist circles and has had opportunities to address the United Nations General Assembly, the UN Security Council, Canadian Parliament and other national and international organizations. He was recently a Professor of Public Safety at Seneca College and currently works with the renowned U.S.-based NGO "Parents 4 Peace", where he conducts direct interventions in low- and high-profile extremism and terrorism cases. Mr. Shaikh has a Master of Policing, Intelligence, and Counter Terrorism, whose work is featured in a permanent exhibit in the New International Spy Museum in Washington D.C.

Sessions - 1:00 PM-1:50 PM

2-01: ERIM toolkit and its use

Dr. Kawser Ahmed, and Gehdian Wardrope, ERIM Project lead and Adjunct Professor, ERIM/UW

ERIM project has developed a toolkit over the last 2 years and this workshop intends to show how to use the toolkit for the educators.

2-02: What Teachers Do

Lloyd Kornelsen, University Professor, ERIM/UW

Social studies teachers educate youth for democratic citizenship—engaging students in conversations about their world, about political responsibilities and shared obligations. It is hard work and can be emotionally exhausting. This session considers what social studies teachers may already know—and often implicitly and indirectly enact—about working with students in ways that prevent radicalization to violence.

2-03: What's Driving Youth Radicalization to Violence and What We Can Do?

Marianne Cerilli, former High School Guidance Counsellor, former MLA, RRC Instructor, UM UW Contract faculty, ERIM

This session begins with an overview of the curriculum guide Extremism And Radicalization to Violence Prevention in Manitoba. We will then take a big picture of the various types of drivers of this dangerous trend. What should be the focus of educators in and outside of the classroom to address these factors, setting the stage to put the hearts and minds of youth at risk to the "psychology of hate".

2-04: Our Shared Future

Marta Bunnett Wiebe, Peace & Advocacy Program Coordinator, Mennonite Central Committee Manitoba

MCC has developed an experiential learning activity exploring collective climate actions rooted in belonging. The activity works best for groups of 15-40 people and can be completed in a 1-hour or 90-minute timeframe. Tailoring options for different age groups are also available.

Throughout the activity, groups explore actions individuals and communities can take to lessen the impacts of climate change. Participants assemble in small groups to work through scenarios, consider their leverage points, encounter disparity between the different actors globally, and reflect on how climate action contributes to peacebuilding. Overall, this activity aspires to guide participants to recognize that our collective potential to address the climate crisis is tied to our understanding of belonging.

2-05: Teaching the Sustainable Development Goals

Grace Van Mill, Public Engagement Specialist, Manitoba Council for International Cooperation

MCIC works with teachers across the province to offer classroom workshops, learning resources, and Generating Momentum student conferences on global issues. In this session, teachers will learn about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including lesson plans and resources to take home for immediate use. The session will include 2-3 hands-on activities for teachers to engage with and bring back to their classrooms, plus access to our educator’s guide -- Sustainable Foundations: A Guide for Teaching the SDGs.

2-06: How to Develop Media Literacy Skill

Matthew Johnson, Director of Education, Media Smarts

This workshop will teach critical media literacy knowledge for the educators

2-07: Landscapes of Injustice: Teaching Japanese Canadian Internment

Katherine Sheppard, Clara Kusumoto and Lindsey Griffin, Elementary School Teacher, Winnipeg School Division

During World War II Japanese Canadians not only faced racism and discrimination but were removed from their homes and communities and placed into prison camps by the Canadian Government. Their homes and properties were taken from them, which had a long-term impact on the Japanese Canadian community. This presentation provides teachers with the resources and lesson plans needed to teach Japanese Canadian internment and dispossession of home.

2-08: Teaching Inflation and the economy: An overview with the Bank of Canada Museum

Heather Montgomery, Museum Education Specialist, Bank of Canada

Inflation is top of mind for Canadians of all ages —but what causes it, how do we measure it, and what does the central bank do about it? Join the Bank of Canada for a presentation about inflation and learn about some teaching supports to continue the conversation in your classroom.

2-09: LandED Green Guide

Darcy Granove, Principal Landscape Architect, Little Bluestem Landscape Architecture

The landED Green Guide was conceived to help schools develop curriculum-based activities and learning opportunities with the land. It offers safe and inclusive lesson plans and exercises that encourage critical thought about climate resilience, ecosystems, reconciliation, stewardship and sustainability through nature observation and outdoor exploration.

2-10: Exploring Human Rights through Podcasting and Personal Narratives: A Collaborative Project for Social Studies and ELA

Madison Hanson, Kyra Swartz and Noah Chochinov, High School Teacher, Gray Academy of Jewish Education

In our collaboration between Social Studies and ELA, students researched a human rights issue, examining its impact on an individual. They crafted their findings into a compelling narrative using creative writing and audio engineering, resulting in moving podcasts. This session will provide teachers with insights to implement this skills-based project in their own classrooms.

2-11: 1919 Winnipeg General Strike - The Effect on Young People

Harriet Zaidman, Writer for young people

Based on real events in the General Strike, the novel City on Strike follows two children from an impoverished immigrant family and shows how they were affected. The novel addresses the issues of inequalities, misinformation and racism toward 'foreigners,' with parallels to issues in society today.

2-12: The (Inherently) Political Classroom

Kevin Lopuck, High School Teacher and PhD Student, Lord Selkirk School Division

The social science classroom of today is inherently a political space; every day, students and teachers bring with them their own political understandings and leanings. With political polarization becoming more prevalent and continued pressure from neoliberal influences, the role of social studies teachers in high school classrooms is becoming more important than ever. If the role of social studies courses is to prepare our students to live as active participants in our democracies, then it is critical that social studies teachers allow students to engage in difficult dialogue and deliberation and embrace the political. By doing so we better prepare our students for the reality of their future democratic participation. In this session we will discuss the theoretical and practical components of teacher decisions around the use of contentious dialogue.

2-13: Teaching and Learning about Genocide Through Visiting Memorials (Experiential Learning)

Kelly Hiebert, and Naama Samphir, High School Teacher, St. James Assiniboine School Division

The Holocaust is the defining event that prompted the birth of the modern human rights movement. It stands out among the horrors that humankind has inflicted upon itself by virtue of the systematic nature employed by the Nazis and their collaborators to eradicate the Jewish people. Many decades later, antisemitism, Holocaust denial and distortion of the historical record persist amid xenophobia, genocides and an increasing threat to democratic values. Effective training of educators/students is key to successful teaching about this unprecedented destruction and will preserve the memory of persecuted and murdered individuals and groups. The program seeks to equip teachers with the tools to inspire their students to think critically, to be aware of their responsibility to society, and to confront antisemitism and hate. To create an opportunity for educators to visit the sites where the Holocaust occurred. To provide a common experience that will forge empathetic and compassionate relationships. To inspire the imagination of students for a world free of antisemitism, discrimination, and genocide, with human rights for all.

Sessions - 1:00 PM-3:00 PM

2-14: Educators for Climate Justice

Educators for Climate Action is a group to support K-12 climate action in Manitoba, which includes nature play, outdoor education, land-based learning, and ecological justice. This afternoon's session will be off-site involving hands-on learning and collaborative discussion at Seven Oaks Land-based Learning Centre.

*** Please note this is a double session and participants will be off-site from 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm ***

Sessions - 2:05 PM-2:55 PM

3-01: The Power of Dialogue: Sharing, Listening, and Respecting Narratives

Izzeddin Hawamda, High School Teacher, ERIM/Seven Oaks School Division

In an effort to address polarization and extremism, schools must increasingly provide opportunities for students and staff to build the skills necessary to humanize others. By sharing personal narratives, we start to weave together the fabric of relationships, traditions, successes, perspectives, and traumas, bringing all parties closer together.

3-02: The Uncommon Potential of Common Classrooms

Dr. Marc Kuly, Professor, ERIM/University of Winnipeg

Classroom storytelling, practiced carefully and consistently, may offer a mode for putting light to the radicalizing lie that our differences will always and must always define and divide us. This session will connect the ERIM toolkit to Peace and Conflict Studies, Indigenous Studies, and classroom insights on storytelling.

3-03: "Behold a greater than themselves:" Understanding the linear and sequential progression of Radicalization

Saad Khan, University Instructor, ERIM / University of Winnipeg

The global rise in far-right nationalism has exacerbated identity-based politics in the Western Hemisphere, and Canada has not been immune to its stirrings. Identity, which is the defining element of radicalization, has been used by politicians to stoke the flames of xenophobia and nativism in Global North countries, including Canada.

In such a charged environment, it is critical that educators are cognizant of the different stages which constitute radicalization. This session provides a comprehensive overview of the dynamics of radicalization and its different stages to empower educators to save at-risk students from falling prey to the scourge of radicalization leading to violent extremism.

3-04: Every Teacher has a Role to Play: Radicalization Prevention Starts in the Early Years

Linda Mlodzinski, Retired elementary, middle, and high school teacher and social studies consultant, ERIM

Early Years Educators are often the first professionals to become aware of vulnerable children who may be at risk of radicalization in the future. This session will provide K-4 teachers with an overview of the new resource, Extremism and Radicalization to Violence Prevention in Manitoba, including warning signs and early intervention strategies.

3-05: Anti-Oppression in the Compassionate Classroom

Mitchell DeFehr, and Dr. Sandra Krahn, Education Coordinator, Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties (MARL)

This workshop defines community agreements for brave spaces, what oppression is and factors that lead to a group being oppressed and ends with how to implement anti-oppressive practices using compassion.

3-06: Coalition Government Simulation Game

Glenn Morison, Retired correctional chaplain with a board game hobby, Volunteer in Winnipeg School Division

Coalition Government is a competitive and cooperative game for 3-8 players, aged 12 and up, who act as leaders of political parties. The objective for each player is to form a government with an attractive platform of policies that also ensures that their own policy goals are adopted. Playtime: 40 minutes This cooperative and competitive game speaks directly to the conference theme.

3-07: Social Studies and the new Framework for Learning Vision

Linda Connor, Curriculum Consultant, Manitoba Education

This session will offer practical ways Social Studies can facilitate the new Framework for Learning Vision for all students to reach their full potential.

3-08: Tools for Teaching About Politics

Marianne Cerilli, Independent Consultant, Marianne Cerilli - Change Agent, Community Development for Health, Sustainability, Peace

Marianne will share tools, learning activities, and resources for teaching about politics in an engaging, empowering, and experiential way. Helping students develop their critical thinking skills, an ability for analysis, outside the box systems thinking needed for social innovative needed to address the complex challenges we face, including threats to democracy. Teen age activist Greta Thumberg said, "the politics we need has not been invented yet", Marianne has some tools and ideas for that.

3-09: Continuity and Change: The 90th Anniversary of the Holodomor Genocide in Ukraine, Current War in Ukraine and by seizing Ukraine's grain, effectively using food as a weapon of war

Orysya Petryshyn, High School Teacher, Winnipeg School Division and Valentina Kuryliw, Director of Education of the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium

A genocide begins with the killing of one person, not because of what he has done, but because of who he is. - KOFI ANNAN Secretary General of the UN, 2001

This workshop gives educators new information about the Holodomor genocide in Ukraine (1932-1933), introduces interactive methodologies and engaged learning activities for teaching it, and provides teachers with new primary and secondary resources, lesson plans, handouts and digital educational resources for classroom use. The workshop will examine why it is important to learn about the Holodomor, apply and discuss Continuity and Change: Teaching the Holodomor Genocide in Ukraine on its 90th Anniversary and the Current War in Ukraine – Using Food as a Weapon.

3-10: Polio Epidemic of the 1950s and Expropriation of the Metis from RoosterTown

Harriet Zaidman, Writer for Young People

Based on real events, my novel, Second Chances is a discussion of events during the polio epidemic of the 1950s in Winnipeg, vaccination resistance at the time and systemic racism toward Metis residents of Rooster Town. The issues are parallel with those that developed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Second Chances won the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People in 2022.

3-11: Connecting your inquiry classroom with experts using "The Collaborative

Robert Jardine, Social Studies Educators Network of Canada

Inquiry-based learning fosters essential skills like critical thinking, creativity, and empathy. "The/La Collaborative" elevates this approach, bridging the gap between teachers and university experts to enrich the learning experience. It serves as a human textbook, connecting educators with academic researchers across diverse fields. Discover how you can seamlessly integrate these experts into your inquiry or project-based classroom. Hear firsthand experiences from educators and explore the potential to amplify your students' learning journeys. Maybe even start your collaborative request today!

3-12: Remembrance Day Planning – Keeping it meaningful

Sessions - 3:00 PM-3:30 PM