Jun 04
Listening to Learn

Dear Parents of Sibylla Kiddle School,

As teachers, we tell students it is okay to take risks in their learning. It is okay to make mistakes, that is how we learn. Easy to say, hard to do. I need to write the message below but I must admit, I don’t want to say something incorrectly or in a wrong way. Nonetheless, this is how we learn.

The tragedy at the Kamloops Indian Residential School has touched so many Canadians. The reality of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous people has been reprehensible. If you are like me, you have understood residential schools as mind knowledge but not as heart knowledge. In light of the tragedy, we are left trying to understand the answer to the question, what now?

In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, chaired by Murray Sinclair, published extensive reports that can help us answer the ‘what now’ question. Sinclair said, “Education is how we will heal, teaching our children that we are all equal is how we will stop racism and bring reconciliation.” The key is education.

Tied directly to education is the action of learning. We learn best when we listen. When we listen to a speaker, to a friend, to an elder, we learn. When we read a book to understand something new, we are listening to the words of the author and we are learning. When we take time to reflect internally, we listen to our inner thoughts and we learn. When we stop to observe the world around us, we listen to it and we learn.

In honour of the lives lost by the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation and across this country, I encourage you to join me in the act of reconciliation through taking time to listen and to learn. As we embark on the rest of this school year, as well as the year ahead, we look forward to sharing with families various school based initiatives we plan on taking as part of this learning process.


Brad Emery


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