RCA Theatre Company


Developed in consultation with Jordan Flynn BSc, BEd, MEd.

RCAT has identified several ways that SQUAWK connects to NLESD High School Curriculum:

We see strong ties to the Family Studies Program, particularly Human Dynamics 2201.

In a society where the adolescent is barraged with messages from home, peers and the commanding influence of the media and internet, strategies are required which enable young people to make realistic interpretations of their place in the family, the broader community and in the world of work. High school students, who will soon be adult members of society, will also be faced with a high unemployment rate, a rise in poverty, an increase in health costs and decreasing purchasing power. The need to acquire effective strategies for current and future life management skills has intensified. In SQUAWK, Annie finds herself in these exact circumstances, overwhelmed by gender and cultural stereotypes in media and in her caregiver relationship, and searching for the tools for independence.

In Human Dynamics 2201, the following outcomes are outlined:

Students will acquire an understanding of issues and challenges which impact the family. The concept of family as an ecosystem is central to this component along with Definition, Functions and Variations of Family groups. Schlesinger (1998) in an article for Vanier Institute of the Family defines family as “. . .any combination of two or more persons who are bound together over time by ties of mutual consent, birth and/or adoption/placement and who, together, assume responsibilities for the physical maintenance and care of group members.” Annie’s current family is one bound together by placement, but she remembers her “other” family and the grandmother she loves. Her whole life has been impacted by challenges to her family situation and is facing a future that is a product of her own experience of family life.

Students will develop the capability/ability to use skills, resources, and processes; and to create conditions and take actions that support individuals and the family. They will critically analyze the impact of messages about relationships portrayed in the media. It is vital to discuss the role of the media in shaping self-image. Students could discuss media images with a focus on their impact: are the images positive, negative, realistic, healthy? Are there differences between images depicting men and women? Are the images realistic or not? How do unrealistic images impact on self-esteem in young men and young women? What types of images would be more realistic and how would they impact on self-esteem in young men and young women? In SQUAWK, Annie asks Isaac why she should like the video games that everyone likes – where violence against women earns points and power. She feels the consequences of this imagery through internal and external experiences in her life.

Students will be encouraged to evaluate knowledge, attitudes, and capabilities; monitor progress; and set new learning goals as an individual and as a family member Students could consider a family practice or an activity that impacts on the physical and/or social environment and think about what they can do to contribute positively what other family members can do to contribute positively. They could then consider respect for self, respect for others, respect for family members and respect for the community. Students could consider a brief account of someone who overcame the challenges of gender, age or cultural stereotyping. What is Annie’s experience of these? How will she overcome these obstacles? Students could identify what it looks like, feels like and sounds like when others respect them. These assessments could link with the Ethical Issues 1104 or World Religions 3104 curriculum.

(From NLESD Curriculum Guide Family Studies: Human Dynamics 2201, created March 2004)


Another strong tie to the themes in SQUAWK comes from the high school social studies curriculum, in the courses of Newfoundland Studies 2205, as well as Canadian Geography, History and Law.

Newfoundland and Labrador Studies 2205 is a unique course. It blends approaches used in both the arts and the social sciences to examine various aspects of the culture and heritage of our province. The combination of learning in and through the arts with approaches used in social science inquiry is designed to afford students the opportunity to think deeply about “this place”.

Some important outcomes in NL Studies 2205 include the expectation that students demonstrate an understanding of how the arts may be used to express ideas related to culture, heritage and identity. Students should be able to apply appropriate principles of artistic inquiry when examining creative works and apply appropriate principles and techniques in the creation of artistic works.

The student will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of economic, political and social issues related to Newfoundland and Labrador, both past and present. They can apply an issues analysis model to explore and resolve significant questions and apply concepts from the social sciences to the examination of events, ideas, issues, patterns and trends.

The student will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of the concept of culture.

Examine factors that shape culture and factors that change culture. Students examine methods and theories of artistic expression throughout the course. They are required to engage with various art forms as sources of knowledge and to express their learning in artistic creations. Students are asked to apply the concepts used in the social sciences as they explore a range of contemporary issues affecting Newfoundland and Labrador. They draw upon the disciplines of economics, geography, history and political science. While all students will engage with specific topics related to Newfoundland and Labrador culture and heritage, the course is also designed to allow students to examine topics of personal or local interest. The extension of inquiry to areas of personal and local interest is fundamental to deepening students’ understanding of our province.  it is not solely a history course. Rather, the course is multi-disciplinary. The NLESD has recently completed the text for and curriculum guide to a companion course to Newfoundland Studies 2205 – Labrador Inuit History and Society mirrors Newfoundland Studies in its content but includes Art, Music and Drama from a Labrador Perspective. This course can be taught anywhere in the province, and the subject matter of SQUAWK ties well to the outcomes of this course from both the Newfoundland and Labrador perspective.

In the social sciences, students are frequently exposed to grand narratives. A grand narrative is a comprehensive explanation of an experience which attempts to highlight the more significant aspects of the story – in other words it is a story about a story. By using only this approach, “small histories” tend to get lost. Therefore, to help maximize meaningful engagement with students, it is essential that students examine issues and topics at the local or regional level that have personal significance. These “small histories” or case studies provide deeper insight into events and experiences. Local study provides an excellent opportunity to bring the community into the classroom and to bring the classroom into the community. This can be accomplished through guest speakers such as heritage keepers, people who have significant knowledge of the culture and heritage of the community. Annie Runningbird’s story in SQUAWK is a kind of small history, which will connect with students through her own personal experience within the context of the larger narrative about indigenous children in care.

(From NLESD Curriculum guide NL Studies 2205, created September 2010)


High School Studies in Canadian Law explore the nature of law in general and Canadian law in specific. By examining the evolution of ideas of justice and democratic right through history, students should have a deep understanding of the basic concepts that guide the judicial system, as well as the role of the judiciary in maintaining liberal democratic values. There are units on family Law, Young people and the law, Human Rights and Indigenous Law, whose application all affect Annie in SQUAWK.

(From NLESD Curriculum guide Canadian Law 2104/2204 September 2005)


General Curriculum Outcomes for Canadian Geography include Citizenship, Power, and Governance. Students will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, and the origins, functions, and sources of power, authority, and governance. They will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of culture, diversity, and world view, while recognizing the similarities and differences reflected in various personal, cultural, racial, and ethnic perspectives.  Students will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of the interactions among people, places, and the environment and to demonstrate an understanding of the past and how it affects the present and the future. How does our Country look through the eyes of a person like Annie? What is her perspective on citizenship and governance in Canada?

(From NLESD Curriculum guide Canadian Geography 1202,2012)


High school study in Canadian History features an examination of historical modes and their effects on indigenous culture in Canada. These participations and exclusions in economic and social growth of our country are a thread that ties Annie Runningbird to the history of Canada. She is a result of it.

(From NLESD Curriculum Guide Canadian History 1201, September 2011)


Senior high school English language arts continues the philosophy and methodologies of the Intermediate English language arts curriculum. It continues to focus on students’ interaction with and creation of texts and is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to become successful language learners who think and communicate personally, creatively, and critically. This program is designed to enhance students’ ability to assume responsibility for their own learning; interact with a wide variety of texts; respond creatively when using digital, live, or paper texts; respond personally to texts they read, view, or hear; think and respond critically to texts they read, view, or hear; understand their own thinking about how they learn; and use knowledge and strategies as they navigate and create texts. We are fortunate to have playwright Megan Coles on tour with SQUAWK to give workshops after the performance in writing that link to these outcomes.

Drama 2206 helps students develop foundational personal and interpersonal skills necessary for continued growth. Drama reflects distinctive realities and supports significant understanding between individuals, cultures, and generations. Performing short pieces and sharing work is encouraged; however, full play production is not the intent. The focus of Drama 2206 is to help students develop a range of skills necessary to gain confidence within a variety of dramatic roles and contexts. Students become more cognizant of the communities in which they live; build trust in a social and safe learning environment; explore their imaginations and extend their experiences; participate in reflective processes; and share ideas, solve problems, and create meaning. Through communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking, students value their own as well as others’ viewpoints. They recognize how reactions and relationships are dynamic, rather than static, thereby facilitating a growing awareness of the world around them.

(From NLESD Curriculum Guide, Language Arts/Drama 2206 2017)