Curriculum Integration

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Curriculum Integration


About Curriculum Integration

The Curriculum Integration project is an institution-wide initiative that aims to integrate three Seneca Polytechnic priority areas into every program at Seneca. The three priority areas are:

Truth & Reconciliation (TRC) and MMIWG2S

Concepts and Definitions (What)

In June 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada presented a multi-volume final report of its findings regarding the history and legacy of residential schools. The report included 94 Calls to Action (CTAs), which are “actionable policy recommendations meant to aid the healing process in two ways: acknowledging the full, horrifying history of the residential schools system, and creating systems to prevent these abuses from ever happening again in the future.”

  • What is your personal experience with Indigenous peoples and cultures, in Canada or other countries?

  • What is your understanding of Indigenous ways of knowing?

Rationale and Context (Why)

As Seneca professor Camille Glass notes, we are all treaty people, and responding to the TRC’s calls to action is a shared responsibility. Specifically Calls to Action 62 ii) calls for all levels of government to “Provide the necessary funding to post-secondary institutions to educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms.”

  • Why would integrating truth and reconciliation in your classroom be meaningful for your students?
  • Why is it important for students to deepen their understanding of Indigenous ways of knowing?

Integration Approaches for Curriculum & Classroom (How)

Call to Action 63, iii) calls for “Building student capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect.” In this respect, we can start to build faculty and student capacity through decolonizing curriculum and classrooms.

  • How might valuing Indigenous and other knowledge areas promote cultural appreciation and advance reconciliation?
  • How can I connect my curriculum/course content to the lived experiences of urban Indigenous peoples?

Resources, References and Community of Practice (Where)

As our commitment to furthering truth and reconciliation, we have gathered some helpful resources to help support your integration journey. One consideration, as your review these resources, is the strong interconnection between Indigenous worldviews, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging principles and Sustainability.

Here are some TRC teaching resources

  • How can I give away what I have learned to my fellow faculty and students to move towards reconciliation in a good way?

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Concepts & Definitions (What)

The words Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion represent concepts and values that are connected to specific actions in the classroom and in the world. Read and reflect on the definitions. Think about what these words mean to you and what they may mean to your students. By making space in our classrooms to explore connections to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, we can help our students understand these terms in ways that are personally meaningful.

  • Who are you, and how does your social identity inform your role in the classroom?
  • What do you know and understand about your students and what is it that you may not know?
  • What are equity issues in your discipline and how are they being addressed?

Rationale and Context (Why)

The best starting point to understand Seneca’s commitment to EDI is the Reconciliation and Inclusion Plan: A Shared Commitment with Responsibilities, which guides our work:

“Seneca has a unique opportunity – indeed, an obligation – to help build an equitable world through the many roles we play in people’s lives. We teach, we employ, and we are a community gathering space that embraces our responsibilities for reconciliation, diversity, and inclusion.”

When these equity considerations are extended to the classroom, a wide range of student learning needs can be met. For instance, students need to believe that they belong in order to learn effectively (Felten, 2019). You may pause and reflect on the role EDI plays in your teaching:

  • Why is EDI important to you, as a person, and as an educator?
  • Why might EDI inform your pedagogy?
  • Why might belonging impact your class?

Integration Strategies for Curriculum & Classroom (How)

How can we meaningfully weave Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion principles into our programs, courses and learning experiences? Seneca’s Reconciliation and Inclusion Plan reminds us how critical it is for our curriculum to reflect the lived experiences of our student body. Frameworks such as Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy (CRRP) can be helpful in providing guidance, for “when academic knowledge and skills are situated within the lived experiences and frames of reference for students, they are more personally meaningful, have higher interest appeal, and are learned more easily and thoroughly” (Geneva Gay, 2000).

  • Who is left behind as a result of my teaching practice? How can I invite them in? (Hogan & Sathy, 2022)
  • How is EDI reflected currently in my subject area?
  • How are others in my field teaching my subject area through the lens of EDI?

Resources, References and Community of Practice (Where)

Let's shift our focus to the challenges related to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion outside our classroom doors, in the professions that our students will enter after graduation. How can we equip our students with the readiness and skills they need to make a positive impact in their chosen fields? The skills they practice with us—perspective-taking, empathy, critical thinking, problem-solving—are the tools they will have in the workplace. As bell hooks (1994) reminds us, “the classroom remains the most radical space of possibility in the academy” and the time to prepare our students is now.

Here are some EDI teaching resources

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Where can I build relationships with my students and others with varied lived experiences?
  • Where can my students practice the skills that they will need to work toward social justice in their field?


Concepts and Definitions (What)

To collectively advance towards a more sustainable Seneca, there are a variety of interpretations, models and framework to consider and explore. Let’s start with the definition from Seneca’s Sustainability Plan, 2021-2026:

Sustainability is the “integration of environmental health, social equity, cultural vitality and economic responsibility to create and maintain thriving, diverse, resilient communities for this generation and those to come.”

Sustainability is a set of actions that reflect understandings, worldviews, and actions that connect us to the land and to all living beings. Living sustainably and educating students about sustainability can positively impact the quality of our environment and promote health and well-being for all, not just the privileged few.

  • What does sustainability mean to me?
  • What role does sustainability play in my value system, my day-to-day life and my work life?
-Repurposed from Bringing Sustainability into our Classrooms

Rationale & Context (Why)

"Indigenous teachings speak of a “seventh generation principle.” This emphasizes that decisions made today should consider the impacts that will be seen seven generations from now. Our individual and collective decision-making must consider the generations to come if we are to realize a truly sustainable future" (Seneca Sustainability Plan 2021-2026).

By integrating sustainability into the classroom, we are recognizing the potential impact of our decisions and actions on future generations. We are also inviting multiple perspectives towards our behaviours and attitudes about the land.

  • How have the actions of our ancestors impacted the quality of our environment and our collective well-being?
  • How do other communities around the world practice sustainability in ways that may not always be recognized or described as such?
  • What climate crises are taking place in regions where my students are from?

Integration Strategies for curriculum & classroom (How)

Regardless of your subject matter and program credential, you can bring sustainability into your classroom. You can explicitly include relevant concepts and understandings explicitly in course learning objectives, assessments and materials, but you can also weave sustainability themes throughout your lessons through discussion. You can also model behaviours which demonstrate sustainability values.

Bringing sustainability into the classroom can also mean:

  1. encouraging “ah-ha” moments that deepen our personal connections to global sustainability issues.
  2. introducing real-world, complex challenges for students to explore through data collection, active learning activities, and authentic assessments.
  3. Introduce students to global sustainability topics and fostering an environment for students to share their cultures, languages, and nationalities.
  4. weaving Indigenous principles into materials, assessments and discussions, and by strengthening our personal relationships with the land.

Guiding Questions

  • How do my teaching topics align with sustainability themes?
  • What does the literature say about embedding sustainability into the teaching and learning of my discipline?
  • What examples can I find from colleagues or other academic institutions that integrate sustainability with my subject matter?
  • How can I initiate discussions with students about contemporary sustainability issues?

Resources, References and Community of Practice (Where)

Here are some sustainability teaching resources to help get you started. One consideration as your review these resources is the strong interconnection between environmental sustainability and Indigenous worldviews, social sustainability and climate justice

  • How might I take action to support the development of sustainability education in my course, my program and beyond?

Curriculum Integration Framework

Working toward the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action while prioritizing equitable and sustainable approaches to real-world challenges can lead to meaningful change for students and long-term systemic change for everyone in the Seneca Polytechnic community and beyond.

To help us advance towards these goals, the Curriculum Integration Framework poses four guiding questions for us to reflect on and take meaningful action. This What-Why-How-Where approach can be customized to meet your needs, whether you are a beginner or a more experienced.

You can approach these questions in any order.


  • What are the key concepts, definitions and perspectives related to this priority area?
  • What can we learn from other points of view?


hiker in summer
  • Why should we acknowledge students’ lived experiences, identities and opinions?
  • Why is it important to recognize different worldviews and teaching approaches?
  • Why is it important to consider how colonial approaches have shaped the structure and content of education?
  • Why should I review my curriculum?
hiker in fall


  • How does curriculum impact student learning?
  • How can we work to repair the inequities in the traditional classroom?
  • How does program design, course design, learning outcomes, modules/units of study, learning activities, and assessments impact student learning?
  • How can I test out curriculum and classroom integration strategies and iterate based on feedback?


hiker in spring
  • Where am I on my pathway to understanding?
  • Where do I go next on my pathway?
  • Where can I find high quality resources to support student learning?