HZB3M Philosophy: The Big Questions Grade 11

HZB3M Philosophy: The Big Questions Grade 11

Course Title: Philosophy: The Big Questions, Grade 11, University/College
Course Name: Philosophy: The Big Questions
Course Code: HZB3M
Grade: 11
Course Type: University/College
Credit Value: 1.0
Prerequisite: None
Curriculum Policy Document: Social Sciences and Humanities, The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 9 to 12, 2013 (Revised)
Course Developer: Toronto eSchool
Department: Social Sciences and Humanities
Department Head: Lisa De Marco, B.A., B.Ed., OCT
Developed Date: 2016
Most Recent Revised Date: 2022

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Course Description:

HZB3M course encourages exploration of philosophy's big questions, such as: What is a meaningful life? What separates right from wrong? What constitutes knowledge? What makes something beautiful? What is a just society? Students will develop critical thinking and philosophical reasoning skills as they identify and analyze the responses of philosophers to the big questions and formulate their own responses to them. Students will explore the relevance of philosophical questions to society and to their everyday life. They will develop research and inquiry skills as they investigate various topics in philosophy.

Unit Titles and Descriptions Time and Sequence
1 Introduction
In this introductory unit, before the student begins looking at the five big questions of philosophy, some time is spent discussing the question of what makes a philosopher a good philosopher. After all, the student cannot begin to ask these questions about philosophy until students know exactly how to effectively approach them. First of all, one trait of a good philosopher is that he/she is aware of the different kinds of definitions that can exist in a philosophical piece of writing. For instance, if students are reading a philosophical piece where the author has included definitions of his/her terms, then it is important that they are aware of the kind of definition that he is using so that they can read and understand the piece accordingly. Second, another quality that is perhaps one of the most important skills of a philosopher is to understand the structure of an argument for philosophy is a subject that is, essentially, built entirely upon a succession of arguments. With so much emphasis on the 'argument', then, it is imperative to know what exactly an argument looks like. Third, another crucial skill for philosophers is the ability to, once they have located and determined an argument, evaluate that argument and various factors come into play when doing so. In particular, philosophers want to look at whether or not the beliefs in an argument are justified and very much of the work of a philosopher consists in just that. Fourth, another key skill to have in philosophy is the ability to spot and discern mistakes of reason known as fallacies. Students see and hear fallacies all of the time in their lives and, therefore, it is important, especially for philosophers, to know exactly what fallacies are and what kinds exist. Lastly, something which is just as crucial for philosophers to understand, say, as the validity of an argument is the ability to ask questions and to remain loyal to a philosophical technique known as the Socratic method. Even though the Socratic method is a method that goes way back to the days of Socrates in ancient Greece, the method remains pertinent today and perhaps even more so.
10 hours
2 What is Human Knowledge?
Students are going to look at the question of how knowledge works by studying the different theories of epistemology. By studying knowledge this way and understanding what the epistemological theories entail, students should gain an understanding of how knowledge is thought to work from philosophical, rather than psychological, point of view. They will look at the question of what kinds of knowledge there are by learning about a priori and a posterior knowledge, two distinct kinds of knowledge defended by two different kinds of philosophers. By studying these two different kinds of knowledge, they will be able to see how knowledge is understood to mean something different depending on the kind of philosophy one supports. Students will also look at the question of where knowledge comes from by looking at the two opposing epistemological theories of rationalism and empiricism. While one theory states that knowledge comes from one source, the other theory states that knowledge comes from a completely different source and so by studying these two theories students will gain awareness of the fact that there exists more than one view concerning the epistemological origins of knowledge. The course then takes a slightly different turn and looks at the limits of knowledge and students will do this by looking at an epistemological theory known as skepticism. In contrast to rationalism and empiricism which both claim that human knowledge can be known and understood, skepticism's aim is to disprove this and so by studying this branch of epistemology they will become acquainted not with the issue of what students can know but of what students cannot know. The unit concludes by testing the limits of human knowledge and asking the much more specific question of whether or not students can ever know about God and if he exists. In this last assignment students will apply the theories of rationalism, empiricism and skepticism learned in the unit and will show how each theory answers this question about God very differently. By applying these three theories to the specific question of God students will gain an epistemological perspective on a very important question in the philosophy of religion.
16 hours
3 What is a Person?
In this unit students will be especially interested in the question of what is a person. While there is by no means an easy answer to this big question of philosophy, traditionally, the most common method of answering it is to do so by metaphysical inquiry. In fact, the question of what it is to be a person is easily said to be one of the most crucial problems in all of metaphysics. Thus, in this third unit students will be focused on just that: students are going to look at the question of who they are from a metaphysical perspective. This will not only allow them the chance to view the question of what a person is in the most traditional philosophical sense but it will also offer students an introduction to the area of metaphysics in general. The term meta refers to the Greek word for 'after' or 'beyond' making metaphysics literally mean after or beyond physics. Metaphysics, then, refers to the study of that which comes after physics. In other words, it concerns all of those questions that the subject of physics (or science in general for that matter) does not address but just presupposes or assumes is the case. Thus, metaphysics goes beyond the factual and scientific domain of science and tries to explain ourselves, reality and the universe from a much more general and fundamental perspective.
14 hours
4 What are Good and Evil?
In this unit students are going to study the question of good and evil and the area of philosophy that specifically relates to this big question, namely, ethics, or, moral philosophy. While the terms 'ethics' and 'moral' can sometimes refer to different things, their only significant difference is that, for the most part, ethics is a broad, all-encompassing label of this field of philosophy whereas the term, moral, is more commonly used to describe or characterize particular ethical beliefs or theories. For instance, the term, ethics, within philosophy is usually thought to refer to a general system of thought or principles that governs us to behave in certain ways whereas the term, moral, is often found to refer to a specific subsection within such a general system of thought or principles. Generally speaking, though, the terms 'ethics' and 'moral philosophy' are used interchangeably in philosophy and that is how they will be used throughout this unit.

Understanding the question of good and evil has been a great area of concern and debate throughout the history of philosophy and, of course, it continues to be one of equal strength today. Oftentimes the difficulties in understanding the question of good and evil are attributed to the various opinions that exist in the world as to what constitutes good and evil and this could be said to be the case in philosophy as well. From a philosophical point of view, the challenge behind understanding the question of good and evil also exists due to a diversity of viewpoints and perspectives on the matter. However, the challenge of understanding the question of good and evil also exists due to the vast number of ways that philosophers approach and interpret the question. For example, sometimes within ethics moral philosophers are concerned with studying very specific ethical concepts and arguing why certain concepts are to be given a higher priority than others. Other moral philosophers, however, care more about how ethics relates to everyday life and so these kinds of philosophers spend their time looking at ethics from a more practical and applied perspective. Still, other moral philosophers are interested in studying solely the foundations of moral beliefs and, consequently, view moral philosophy from a highly abstract level. Other philosophers, however, concentrate on the task of presenting ethics as being either an objective, intersubjective or subjective enterprise and there is much debate within philosophy as to which of these three viewpoints provides a more accurate picture of ethics. Finally, there are still other philosophers interested in moral philosophy who are interested in emphasizing the limits of morality and advancing the argument that perhaps morality does not even exist at all.
14 hours
  Midterm Assessment  
  Project 8 hours
5 What is a Just Society?
The branch of philosophy that addresses the big question of what is a just society specifically is, first and foremost, political philosophy. Broadly speaking, political philosophy refers to the study and justification of collective institutions and among those collective institutions studied is indeed society. (It is important to note here that political philosophy is, therefore, distinct from political science: in the case of the former, the main aim is to justify collective and political institutions whereas in the case of the latter, the main aim is to explain). In order to determine exactly what a just society should look like, however, political philosophers usually look more closely at the more specific issue of justifying government for, after all, it is very difficult to think of a society that is not, in some form or another, led by a certain level of government. Therefore, in order to know whether or not a society is just, one must look to that society's government for this will be a very likely indicator of its justness. That is, for better or worse, the justness of a society is very often a direct result of the justness of government. There are many ways that political philosophers and theorists approach the question of whether or not a given collective or political institution is justified and, as a result, many different political philosophies and theories are formed. This is why we see and hear of so many different views and opinions, say, in the news, on the internet or from friends and family. In this unit, students will take the time to discuss each of these different directions taken by political philosophers today. For example, students will learn about what exactly government is to begin with. In particular, students will look at just how it is different from any other collective or political institution and what makes government actually quite unique. They will then be introduced to the historical idea of the state of nature and what the famous philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, has to say about it. As students will see, since the time of Hobbes, the state of nature is thought to provide the very reason why humanity should want government in their lives and why it is indeed necessary. Students will then go on to discuss the first of the four major political theories that will be discussed in this unit, namely, liberalism. They will learn about various versions of the theory, two famous liberal thinkers, John Locke and John Stuart Mill as well as liberalism's overall opinion on the role of government in people's lives. Students will discuss a second major political theory, namely, socialism. In particular students will learn about its defining features, the revolutionary socialist leader, Karl Marx, as well as the extreme version of socialism which is communism. They will look at a third major political theory, namely, conservatism. They will then learn about what defines conservative thought, the thinker who is known to be the father of conservatism, Edmund Burke, as well as the most extreme version of conservatism, namely, fascism. Then the course will take a sharp turn and look at a theory that is very different from the rest of the political theories studied, namely, anarchism. In particular, students will learn about the general definition of anarchism, two very different strands of anarchism as well as the great American legal theorist, Lysander Spooner, and how his work is relevant with respect to anarchist thought in general. Finally, students will end the unit by looking at the very important topic of human rights. They will see how and why a certain conception of human rights ultimately forms the basis of all major political theories, the different kinds of rights that exist and why an understanding of human rights is so crucial to any serious inquiry within political philosophy.
14 hours
6 What is a Meaningful Life?
When one asks the question of what the meaning of life is, a natural place within philosophy to turn to is the field of philosophy known as existentialism. Compared to other branches of philosophy, existentialism is a new field of philosophy which first emerged as a serious area of study only after the Second World War. After the war, the world was disillusioned and, as such, the academic and scholarly works of philosophers, writers, and theorists from around the world (especially Europe) would eventually come to reflect this disillusionment. In this sense, then, existentialism can rightly be seen as a development arising out of the horrors of war. Aside from its being seen as a development of the war, however, it is quite difficult to try to define existentialism because instead of its consisting of one main, overarching theme, existentialism consists of and draws upon various themes. Some of the most common themes found within existentialism concern existence and essence, the individual, types of being, freedom and choice as well as the absence of a rational understanding of the universe and the consequent feelings that arise from such an absence, such as feelings of angst or fear and anxiety. Occasionally somewhat more optimistic themes are found within existentialism in themes that concern ways to overcome feelings of angst and to, more generally, accept the absurdity in human life; however, such themes tend to be exceptions to the rule. Another unique feature of existentialism, and one which is not always present among other fields of philosophy, is its distinctively emotional and sensitive tone, for existentialism has a unique way of affecting the individual emotionally. Whether it is because individual existence is at the forefront of the field and, so, naturally we have an invested interest in the subject, or whether it is because existentialism forces us to consider the possibility of a life without meaning, regardless of the exact cause, existentialism has a unique way of stirring up emotion so much so that it is sometimes hard to avoid feelings of weakness, emptiness, or even sadness when reading this area of philosophy.
12 hours
7 Conclusion and Review
Now that students have gained an introductory understanding of philosophy, in this final unit of the course students are going to look at how the subject applies to the real world, that is, students are going to talk about philosophy and how it relates to everyday life. After all, philosophy has very real life implications and it is important to know that it is not just something that students read about in a philosophy textbook or online. For example, as students might have experienced in some of their other courses, it is quite common for philosophy to be discussed in other subjects as well and, in fact, it is not only discussed in other subjects but, quite frequently, philosophy is what provides the very foundation for which many subjects are built upon. Furthermore, it is important to realize that philosophy and philosophical issues also very much exist within the media and one just has to pick up a newspaper to see the philosophical significance of many stories in the news today. There is also a lot to be said about certain current philosophers who are making a difference in the field of philosophy today which just proves how great philosophy is not something that was produced generations ago but is, rather, still very much being created today. Also, very relevant with respect to philosophy and everyday life is the issue of being able to find a job in the field and understanding what options are available to students if they seriously want to pursue the subject. Finally, another important consideration to bear in mind when discussing philosophy in relation to the real world is the argument that philosophy actually does not apply to the real world and recognizing these sorts of criticisms of philosophy is key to understanding the subject's overall impact on the world.
10 hours
  Final Assessment  
This project is worth 20% of the final grade. Students will complete a "Philosophical Growth Portfolio" based on their work throughout the course.
12 hours
  Final Exam
The final exam is worth 30% of the final grade. This exam will be composed of 50 multiple choice questions that draws on the material covered throughout the course.
2 hours
  Total 110 hours


A. Research and Inquiry Skills
A1 Exploring:explore topics related to philosophical questions and/or issues, and formulate questions to guide their research;
A2 Investigating:create research plans, and locate and select information relevant to their chosen topics, using appropriate philosophical research and inquiry methods;
A3 Processing Information:assess, record, analyze, and synthesize information gathered through research and inquiry;
A4 Communicating and Reflecting:communicate the results of their research and inquiry clearly and effectively, and reflect on and evaluate their research, inquiry, and communication skills.
B. Philosophical Foundations
B1 Identifying the Big Questions:describe the main areas of philosophy and identify the big questions that arise in each area;
B2 Philosophers and Philosophical Traditions:demonstrate an understanding of how major philosophers and philosophical traditions approach some of the big questions of philosophy;
B3 Defining Terms and Concepts:demonstrate an understanding of terms and concepts central to discussions of the big questions of philosophy, and of how these terms and concepts are used in various philosophical traditions.
C. Philosophical Skills
C1 Philosophical Reasoning:demonstrate an understanding of terms, methods, and fallacies associated with philosophical reasoning;
C2 Evaluating Philosophical Responses to Big Questions:analyse, using their own philosophical reasoning skills as well as the arguments of other critics, the strengths and weaknesses of the responses of major philosophers or schools of philosophy to some of the big questions of philosophy;
C3 Developing Philosophical Responses:use philosophical reasoning and critical thinking skills to formulate responses to big questions of philosophy and to arguments encountered in everyday life.
D. The Reveleance of Philosophy
D1 The Relevance to Everyday Life and Society:demonstrate an understanding of the relevance of philosophical questions, theories, and skills to their everyday life and to the community and broader society;
D2 The Relevance to Education and Careers:demonstrate an understanding of the relevance of philosophy to other subject areas and careers.

The social science and humanities curriculum is designed both to engage students in reflective learning and to help them develop practical skills. Students are expected to learn and apply the inquiry skills and research methods particular to the discipline, and to conduct research and analysis using both traditional and technological resources.

Teaching strategies used include

  • Online readings
  • Videos and Documentaries
  • Case Studies
  • Experiments
  • News and current event studies

In addition, teachers and students have at their disposal a number of tools that are unique to electronic learning environments:

  • Electronic simulation activities
  • Video presentations
  • Discussion boards and email
  • Assessments with real-time feedback
  • Interactive activities that engage both the student and teacher in the subject
  • Peer review and assessment
  • Internet Instructional Videos

All course material is online, no textbook is required. Assignments are submitted electronically. Tests are completed online at a time convenient for the student, and the course ends in a final exam which the student writes under the supervision of a proctor approved by Toronto eSchool at a predetermined time and place. The final mark and report card are then forwarded to the student's home school.

Students must achieve the Ministry of Education learning expectations of a course and complete 110 hours of planned learning activities, both online and offline, in order to earn a course credit. Students must keep a learning log throughout their course which outlines the activities they have completed and their total learning hours. This log must be submitted before the final exam can be written.

The chart below indicates some general examples of online and offline activities.

Online Learning Activities Offline Learning Activities
Watching instructional videos Reading materials for course
Watching additional resources videos Studying instructional material
Completing online timed assignments Practicing skills
Contributing to Forums Completing assignments
Providing peer feedback Completing essays
Communicating with instructor Preparing presentations
Participating in live conferences Reviewing for tests and exams
Practicing through online quizzes Researching topics on internet
Completing online timed exam  

Students are expected to access and participate actively in course work and course forums on a regular and frequent basis. This interaction with other students is a major component of this course and there are minimum requirements for student communication and contribution.

TorontoeSchool's approach to assessment and evaluation is based on the Ontario Ministry of Education's Growing Success 2010 document. Assessment is the process of gathering information that accurately reflects how well a student is achieving the curriculum expectations in a subject or course.

The primary purpose of assessment is to improve student learning. Assessment for this purpose is seen as both "assessment for learning" and "assessment as learning". As part of assessment for learning, teachers provide students with descriptive feedback and coaching for improvement. Teachers engage in assessment as learning by helping all students develop their capacity to be independent, autonomous learners who are able to set individual goals, monitor their own progress, determine next steps, and reflect on their thinking and learning. Toronto eSchool teachers use evidence from a variety of sources in their assessment. These include formal and informal observations, discussions, conversations, questioning, assignments, projects, portfolios, self-assessments, self-reflections, essays, and tests.

Assessment occurs concurrently and seamlessly with instruction. Our courses contain multiple opportunities for students to obtain information about their progress and achievement, and to receive feedback that will help them improve their learning. Students can monitor their own success through the tracking of learning goals and success criteria throughout all courses.

Summative "assessment of learning" activities occur at or near the end of periods of learning. Evidence of student achievement for evaluation is also collected over time from different sources, such as discussions, conversations and observation of the development of the student's learning. Using multiple sources of evidence increases the reliability and validity of this evaluation. The evaluations are expressed as a percentage based upon the levels of achievement.

Assessment as Learning Assessment for Learning Assessment of Learning
Assessment as learning allows students to further their own learning, without being formally assessed by teachers and instructors. In all Units students participate in discussion forums, which are heavily based on peer evaluation. This communication allows students to reflect on their work and hear valuable peer feedback that can help inform future work and assignments. Peer feedback is extremely valuable for students to further their own learning. Assessment for learning is used for determining student progress during a unit. These diagnostic or formative assessments let teachers know how their students are doing and allow them to adjust accordingly. Ongoing communication in this online course allows for student feedback at any time. This provides many opportunities for teachers to adjust instruction accordingly. Assessment of learning ia a measure of student achievement in regards to specific learning expectations. These expectations are laid out the at beginning of each unit and large assignment. Following each lesson, students complete small assignments that they submit to instructors or post to the discussion forum for peer review. At the end of the unit, a grade is given to assess the achievement in reaching the learning goals for each unit.
The mid term and final assignments allow for reflection and feedback Feedback from both the instructor and the student can help the student advocate for their own learning. Lesson assignments are used by the instructor as a form of diagnostic and formative assessment to help adjust instruction based on the needs of the student. It is another way the instructor gathers evidence for evaluating student performance, and also student feedback. A Mid Term Assignment in this course allows for formal assessment of student learning. This Mid Term assignment assesses the knowledge of unit one and the ability to apply the theories and concepts learned throughout the course until that point. A formal grade is given for this assignment.
Instructors communicate with their students through email or discussion boards. Students can raise concerns and reflect on their own personal goals and learning during these one to one conversations with their instructors. The Final Term assignment in this course again allows for formal and informal assessment (formative) where students engage with instructors to allow for adjustment of the course instruction. At the end of the course, students complete a Final Assignment and an exam. Both are formal assessments of students achievement based on specific learning goals laid out at the beginning of the course.

Our theory of assessment and evaluation follows the Ministry of Education's Growing Success document, and it is our firm belief that doing so is in the best interests of students. We seek to design assessment in such a way as to make it possible to gather and show evidence of learning in a variety of ways to gradually release responsibility to the students, and to give multiple and varied opportunities to reflect on learning and receive detailed feedback.

Growing Success articulates the vision the Ministry has for the purpose and structure of assessment and evaluation techniques. There are seven fundamental principles that ensure best practices and procedures of assessment and evaluation by Toronto E School teachers. eHS assessments and evaluations,

  • are fair, transparent, and equitable for all students;
  • support all students, including those with special education needs, those who are learning the language of instruction (English or French), and those who are First Nation, Metis, or Inuit;
  • are carefully planned to relate to the curriculum expectations and learning goals and, as much as possible, to the interests, learning styles and preferences, needs, and experiences of all students;
  • are communicated clearly to students and parents at the beginning of the course and at other points throughout the school year or course;
  • are ongoing, varied in nature, and administered over a period of time to provide multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate the full range of their learning;
  • provide ongoing descriptive feedback that is clear, specific, meaningful, and timely to support improved learning and achievement;
  • develop students' self-assessment skills to enable them to assess their own learning, set specific goals, and plan next steps for their learning.
For a full explanation, please refer to Growing Success.

The evaluation for this course is based on the student's achievement of curriculum expectations and the demonstrated skills required for effective learning. The final percentage grade represents the quality of the student's overall achievement of the expectations for the course and reflects the corresponding level of achievement as described in the achievement chart for the discipline. A credit is granted and recorded for this course if the student's grade is 50% or higher. The final grade will be determined as follows:

  • 70% of the grade will be based upon evaluations conducted throughout the course. This portion of the grade will reflect the student's most consistent level of achievement throughout the course, although special consideration will be given to more recent evidence of achievement.
  • 30% of the grade will be based on final evaluations administered at the end of the course. Every course ends in a final exam which the student writes under the supervision of a proctor approved by Toronto eSchool at a predetermined time and place. The final mark and report card are then forwarded to the student' home school.

The general balance of weighting of the categories of the achievement chart throughout the course is

Knowledge and Understanding 25%
Thinking 25%
Communication 25%
Application 25%

Two official report cards are issued - midterm and final. Each report card will focus on two distinct but related aspects of student achievement. First, the achievement of curriculum expectations is reported as a percentage grade. Additionally, the course median is reported as a percentage. The teacher will also provide written comments concerning the student's strengths, areas for improvement and next steps. Second, the learning skills are reported as a letter grade, representing one of four levels of accomplishment. The report cards contain separate sections for the reporting of these two aspects. The report card also indicates whether an OSSD credit has been earned.

The purpose of the achievement chart is to:

  1. provide a common framework that encompasses all curriculum expectations for all courses;
  2. guide the development of high-quality assessment tasks and tools;
  3. help teachers plan instruction for learning;
  4. assist teachers in providing meaningful feedback to students;
  5. provide various categories/criteria with which to assess and evaluate students' learning.

The achievement chart provides a reference point for all assessment practice and a framework within which achievement will be assessed and evaluated.

  1. The chart is organized into four broad criteria; Knowledge / Understanding, Thinking / Investigation, Communication, and Application.
  2. The achievement chart describes the levels of achievement of the curriculum expectations within each subset of criteria.
  3. The "descriptor" indicates the characteristic of performance, with respect to a particular criterion, on which assessment or evaluation is focused.
  4. A specific "qualifier" is used to define each of the four levels of achievement. It is used along with a descriptor to produce a description of performance at a particular level.
  5. The following table provides a summary description of achievement in each percentage grade range and corresponding level of achievement:

A Summary Description of Achievement in Each Percentage Grade Range
and Corresponding Level of Achievement
Percentage Grade
Summary Description
80-100% Level 4 A very high to outstanding level of achievement. Achievement is above the provincial standard.
70-79% Level 3 A high level of achievement. Achievement is at the provincial standard.
60-69% Level 2 A moderate level of achievement. Achievement is below, but approaching, the provincial standard.
50-59% Level 1 A passable level of achievement. Achievement is below the provincial standard.
below 50% Level R Insufficient achievement of curriculum expectations. A credit will not be granted.

Category 50-59%
(Level 1)
(Level 2)
(Level 3)
(Level 4)
Knowledge and Understanding - Subject-specific content acquired in each course (knowledge), and the comprehension of its meaning and significance (understanding)
  The student:
Knowledge of content
(e.g., facts, terms, definiations, safe practices and procedures, use of technologies)
demonstrates limited knowledge of content demonstrates some knowledge of content demonstrates considerable knowledge of content demonstrates thorough knowledge of content
Understanding of content
(e.g., concepts, theories, ideas, processes; relationship between theory and action)
demonstrates limited understanding of content demonstrates some understanding of content demonstrates considerable understanding of content demonstrates thorough and insightful understanding of content
Thinking - The use of critical and creative thinking skills and/or processes
  The student:
Use of planning skills
(e.g., formulating questions, identifying problems, generating ideas, gathering and arganizing information, focusing research, selecting strategies)
uses planning skills with limited effectiveness uses planning skills with moderate effectiveness uses planning skills with considerable effectiveness uses planning skills with a high degree of effectiveness
Use of processing skills
((e.g., analysing, detecting point of view and blas, interpreting, evaluating, synthesizing, forming conclusions)
uses processing skills with limited effectiveness uses processing skills with some effectiveness uses processing skills with considerable effectiveness uses processing skills with a high degree of effectiveness
Use of critical/creative thinking processes
((e.g., goal setting, decision making, problem solving, invention, critiquing, reviewing)
uses critical / creative thinking processes with limited effectiveness uses critical / creative thinking processes with some effectiveness uses critical / creative thinking processes with considerable effectiveness uses critical / creative thinking processes with a high degree of effectiveness
Communication - The conveying of meaning through various forms
  The student:
Expression and organization of ideas, information and understandings in oral, visual, and/or written forms (e.g., oral; role plays, interviews, presentatoins, debates; visual; demanstrations, multimedia presentations, posters, graphic organizers; written; pamphlets, journals, reports, web pages) expresses and organizes ideas and information with limited effectiveness expresses and organizes ideas and information with some effectiveness expresses and organizes ideas and information with considerable effectiveness expresses and organizes ideas and information with a high degree of effectiveness

Note: A student whose achievement is below 50% at the end of a course will not obtain a credit for the course.

  • Access to HZB3M online course of study
  • Access to a scanner or digital camera
  • Access to a word-processing software
  • Access to Google and various online resources
  • Access to Youtube

Reference Texts

This course is entirely online and does not require or rely on any textbook.

Teachers who are planning a program in this subject will make an effort to take into account considerations for program planning that align with the Ontario Ministry of Education policy and initiatives in a number of important areas

  1. Education for students with special education needs
  2. Environmental education
  3. Equity and inclusive education
  4. Financial literacy education
  5. Ontario First Nations, Metis, and Inuit education
  6. Role of information and communications technology
  7. English language learners
  8. Career education
  9. Cooperative education and other workplace experiences
  10. Health and safety

1. Education for Students with Special Education Needs:

Torontoeschool is committed to ensuring that all students are provided with the learning opportunities and supports they require to gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to succeed in a rapidly changing society. The context of special education and the provision of special education programs and services for exceptional students in Ontario are constantly evolving. Provisions included in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Ontario Human Rights Code have driven some of these changes. Others have resulted from the evolution and sharing of best practices related to the teaching and assessment of students with special educational needs.

The provision of special education programs and services for students at Torontoeschool rests within a legal framework The Education Act and the regulations related to it set out the legal responsibilities pertaining to special education. They provide comprehensive procedures for the identification of exceptional pupils, for the placement of those pupils in educational settings where the special education programs and services appropriate to their needs can be delivered, and for the review of the identification of exceptional pupils and their placement.

Teachers will take into account the needs of exceptional students as set out in the students' Individual Education Plan. The online courses offer a vast array of opportunities for students with special educations needs to acquire the knowledge and skills required for our evolving society. Students who use alternative techniques for communication may find a venue to use these special skills in these courses. There are a number of technical and learning aids that can assist in meeting the needs of exceptional students as set out in their Individual Education Plan. In the process of taking their online course, students may use a personal amplification system, tela-typewriter (via Bell relay service), an oral or a sign-language interpreter, a scribe, specialized computer programs, time extensions, ability to change font size, oral readers, etc.

2. Environmental Education:

Environmental education teaches students about how the planet's physical and biological systems work, and how we can create a more sustainable future. Good curriculum design allows environmental issues and topics to be woven in and out of the online course content. This ensures that the student will have opportunities to acquire the knowledge, skills, perspectives and practices needed to become an environmentally literate citizen. The online course should provide opportunities for each student to address environmental issues in their home, in their local community, or even at the global level.

3. Equity and Inclusive Education:

Torontoeschool is taking important steps to reduce discrimination and embrace diversity in our online school in order to improve overall student achievement and reduce achievement gaps due to discrimination. The Ontario Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy was launched in April 2009 and states that all members of the Torontoeschool community are to be treated with respect and dignity. This strategy is helping Torontoeschool educators better identify and remove discriminatory biases and systemic barriers to student achievement. These barriers related to racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination may prevent some students from reaching their full potential. The strategy supports the Ministry's key education priorities of high student achievement, reduced gaps in student achievement and increased accountability and public confidence in Ontario's schools. Students, regardless of their background or personal circumstances, must be given every opportunity to reach their full potential. Research shows that when students feel welcomed and accepted in their school, they are more likely to succeed academically. Torontoeschool desires to create a culture of high expectations where factors such as race, age, gender, sexual orientation and socio-economic status do not prevent students from achieving ambitious outcomes.

4. Financial Literacy Education:

Financial literacy may be defined as having the knowledge and skills needed to make responsible economic and financial decisions with competence and confidence. Since making financial decisions has become an increasingly complex task in the modern world, students need to have knowledge in various areas and a wide range of skills in order to make informed decisions about financial matters. Students need to be aware of risks that accompany various financial choices. They need to develop an understanding of world economic forces as well as ways in which they themselves can respond to those influences and make informed choices. Torontoeschool considers it essential that financial literacy be considered an important attribute of a well-educated population. In addition to acquiring knowledge in such specific areas as saving, spending, borrowing, and investing, students need to develop skills in problem solving, inquiry, decision making, critical thinking, and critical literacy related to financial and other issues. The goal is to help students acquire the knowledge and skills that will enable them to understand and respond to complex issues regarding their own personal finances and the finances of their families, as well as to develop an understanding of local and global effects of world economic forces and the social, environmental, and ethical implications of their own choices as consumers. The Ministry of Education and Torontoeschool are working to embed financial literacy expectations and opportunities in all courses as appropriate, as part of the ongoing curriculum review process.

5. Ontario First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Education:

First Nation, Metis, and Inuit students in Ontario will need to have the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to successfully complete their elementary and secondary education in order to pursue postsecondary education or training and/or to enter the workforce. They will need to have the traditional and contemporary knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to be socially contributive, politically active, and economically prosperous citizens of the world. All students in Ontario will need to have knowledge and appreciation of contemporary and traditional First Nation, Metis, and Inuit traditions, cultures, and perspectives. Torontoeschool and the Ministry of Education are committed to First Nation, Metis, and Inuit student success. Torontoeschool teachers are committed to (1) developing strategies that will increase the capacity of the education system to respond to the learning and cultural needs of First Nation, Metis, and Inuit students; (2) providing quality programs, services, and resources to help create learning opportunities for First Nation, Metis, and Inuit students that support improved academic achievement and identity building; (3) providing a curriculum that facilitates learning about contemporary and traditional First Nation, Metis, and Inuit cultures, histories, and perspectives among all students where possible; and (4) developing and implementing strategies that facilitate increased participation by First Nation, Metis, and Inuit parents, students, communities, and organizations in working to support the academic success of the student.

6. The Role of Information and Communications Technology in the Curriculum.

Information literacy is the ability to access, select, gather, critically evaluate, and create information. Communication literacy refers to the ability to communicate information and to use the information obtained to solve problems and make decisions. Information and communications technologies are utilized by all Torontoeschool students when the situation is appropriate within their online course. As a result, students will develop transferable skills through their experience with word processing, internet research, presentation software, and telecommunication tools, as would be expected in any other course or any business environment.

7. English Language Learners:

This Torontoeschool online course can provide a wide range of options to address the needs of ESL/ELD students. This online course must be flexible in order to accommodate the needs of students who require instruction in English as a second language or English literacy development. The Torontoeschool teacher considers it to be their responsibility to help students develop their ability to use the English language properly. Appropriate modifications to teaching, learning, and evaluation strategies in this course may be made in order to help students gain proficiency in English, since students taking English as a second language at the secondary level have limited time in which to develop this proficiency. This online course can provide a wide range of options to address the needs of ESL/ELD students. Well written content will aid ESL students in mastering not only the content of this course, but as well, the English language and all of its idiosyncrasies. Torontoeschool has created course content to enrich the student's learning experience. In addition, since many occupations in Canada require employees with capabilities in the English language, many students will learn English language skills which can contribute to their success in the larger world.

8. Career Education:

As the online student progresses through their online course, their teacher is available to help the student prepare for employment in a huge number of diverse areas. With the help of their teacher, students will learn to set and achieve goals and will gain experience in making meaningful decisions concerning their career choices. The skills, knowledge and creativity that students acquire through this online course are essential for a wide range of careers. Throughout their secondary school education, students will learn about the educational and career opportunities that are available to them; explore and evaluate a variety of those opportunities; relate what they learn in their courses to potential careers in a variety of fields; and learn to make appropriate educational and career choices.

9. Cooperative Education and Other Workplace Experiences:

By applying the skills they have developed, students will readily connect their classroom learning to real-life activities in the world in which they live. Cooperative education and other workplace experiences will broaden their knowledge of employment opportunities in a wide range of fields. In addition, students will increase their understanding of workplace practices and the nature of the employer-employee relationship. Torontoeschool teachers will try to help students link to Ministry programs to ensure that students have information concerning programs and opportunities.

10. Health and Safety:

The study of healthy relationships occurs throughout the social sciences and humanities curriculum. For example, the Dynamics of Human Relationships course provides opportunities for students to explore the topic of healthy relationships and to develop strong social skills and communication strategies. This course also explores the barriers to forming strong, healthy relationships and provides students with important information about how to recognize and respond to unhealthy relationships. The equity studies courses provide opportunities for students to develop their understanding of the ways in which power dynamics are an integral component of all relationships. These courses also allow students to explore the ways in which core aspects of identity - including sex, gender and gender identity, and ethnocultural and religious background - contribute to power dynamics that can facilitate or hinder the formation of healthy relationships.
The knowledge, skills, and habits of mind that are addressed in all courses in social sciences and humanities encourage open-mindedness as well as respect for and deep understanding of self and others, providing a foundation for forming and maintaining healthy relationships.

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