Cultural Diversity and Canadian Education

Cultural Diversity and Canadian Education: Issues and Innovations

John R. Mallea
Jonathan C. Young
Copyright Date: 1984
Pages: 566
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  • Book Info
    Cultural Diversity and Canadian Education
    Book Description:

    This thorough study will be of assistance to those seeking to understand the role of education in contemporary Canada. Education policy and practice regarding language and culture are highlighted, as is the crucially important question of cultural transmission.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-8316-0
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
    J.R.M. and J.C.Y.
  4. Introduction: Cultural Diversity and Canadian Education
    (pp. 1-16)
    John R. Mallea

    Canada has long expressed support for the political principle that cultural diversity is a valuable and enriching quality of national life.¹ The nation’s cultural diversity was in fact a major determinant of the particular form of federalism adopted at Confederation. The importance of education in this regard, moreover, was fully recognized. Its potentially divisive nature led the framers of the British North America Act to move education “out of the national political system and into the sub-systems of the provinces where the differences could flourish.”²

    The declared intent of these arrangements was to ensure “that all Canadians could retain their...

    • [PART ONE: Introduction]
      (pp. 17-20)

      Educational issues invariably form part of larger questions of purpose and value within the wider society. It is arguable, moreover, that if the contribution of a society’s educational systems is to be most effectively organized, some consensus should exist around the core values, skills and knowledges that they are expected to promote. Where such consensus is absent, their task is rendered all the more difficult. This is the situation in Canada today with respect to society’s view of linguistic and cultural diversity and its value.

      This section presents major and differing interpretations of the Canadian response to cultural diversity, both...

    • Reluctant Hosts: Anglo–Canadian Views of Multiculturalism in the Twentieth Century
      (pp. 21-40)

      The way in which Anglo-Canadians have reacted to immigration during the twentieth century has not simply been a function of the numbers of immigrants or the state of the nation’s economy. The immigration of significant numbers of non-British and non-French people raised fundamental questions about the type of society which would emerge in English-speaking Canada; hence, considerable public debate has always surrounded the issue of immigration in Canada. The questions which have repeatedly been raised include the following: Were the values and institutions of Anglo-Canadian society modelled exclusively on a British mould and should immigrants be compelled to conform to...

    • The Ambiguities of a Bilingual and Multicultural Canada
      (pp. 41-47)

      The Trudeau government’s redefinition of the Canadian nation and the consequences this redefinition is likely to have for Canada’s cultural and political future have not yet been sufficiently recognized. In the document presented in the House of Commons by the Prime Minister on October 8, 1971, the Trudeau government revealed its response to the recommendations of Volume IV of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, and put forward concrete measures which it intended to adopt in order to implement its chosen policy. This very important document has not received the attention it deserved. In it is to be found...

    • The Franco–Canadians of Western Canada and Multiculturalism
      (pp. 48-68)

      The policy of multiculturalism put forward by the federal government in 1971 has not as yet generated much enthusiasm in French Canada. Nor, it should be added, has it received much support from what may loosely be termed English Canada. My purpose here is to examine the attitudes of the French-speaking population vis-à-vis the program which resulted from the recommendations contained in Book IV of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism. More specifically, this brief survey deals only with the French-speaking community of western Canada. Others far more knowledgeable of the relations between linguistic and cultural groups in Ontario,...

    • Dilemmas and Contradictions of a Multi–ethnic Society
      (pp. 69-82)

      The decade of the 1950s was notable for a naïve belief in the affluent society; that of the 1960s for its concern with poverty. It would that the 1970s is to be the decade of organized minorities. Although all minorities take on the appearance of reality once they are organized, some are more real than others. Indians and other non-whites are something more than a statistical group because they live mainly in distinct cohesive communities and have distinctive physical charactersitics. On the other hand the pseudo-minorities who make their appeals with the rhetoric of liberation from oppression — youth, women,...

    • [PART TWO: Introduction]
      (pp. 83-84)

      The role of the school in a culturally diverse society such as Canada is complex and problematical. This is particularly true, as this section demonstrates, with respect to issues of equality, federal-provincial relations in education, schooling in the official languages, instruction in the non-official languages and matters of educational autonomy and control.

      The Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism (1963) took the position that the school “is the basic agency for maintaining language and culture, and without this essential resource neither can remain strong.” Legislation supportive of this position was not enough, however. Citing the failure of the British North America...

      (pp. 85-95)

      In this first Book we are concerned with a comparison of the status and use of Canada’s two official languages as evinced by protection through laws, statutes, and customs. This is a first step towards examining the possibility of a more equal partnership between those who speak the two languages. A similar examination of the institutions of the two communities will be the subject of succeeding Books. However, the opportunities to use a language are of little significance unless there exist at the same time opportunities to learn it and retain it—opportunities for an adequate education in the language...

    • Education: The Cultural Contribution of the Other Ethnic Groups ROYAL COMMISSION ON BILINGUALISM AND BICULTURALISM
      (pp. 96-130)

      Schools are the formal means by which a society transmits its knowledge, skills, languages, and culture from one generation to the next. Canada’s public school systems are primarily concerned with the transmission of knowledge that is essential to all citizens, including knowledge about Canadian institutions, the traditions and circumstances that have shaped them, and the two official languages. Since those of British and French ethnic origin are the main groups in Canada, it is appropriate that the British and French cultures dominate in the public schools. But public schools can also provide an instrument for safeguarding the contribution of other...

    • Indian Control of Indian Education NATIONAL INDIAN BROTHERHOOD
      (pp. 131-149)

      In Indian tradition each adult is personally responsible for each child, to see that he learns all he needs to know in order to live a good life. As our fathers had a clear idea of what made a good man and a good life in their society, so we modern Indians, want our children to learn that happiness and satisfaction come from:

      pride in one’s self;

      understanding one’s fellowmen; and,

      living in harmony with nature.

      These are lessons which are necessary for survival in this twentieth century.

      Pride encourages us to recognize and use our talents,as well as to...

      (pp. 150-180)

      If the concept of immigrant integration was slow to develop in Canada, it took even longer to register in the Province of Quebec where a Department of Immigration has only recently been created.

      In Quebec, as throughout Canada, demographic and economic factors apart, little attention was paid to education or instruction as a means of integrating immigrants.

      The first indications of attention given by the French-speaking group to immigrant integration through education barely go back to 1947-48 and even then, the several steps taken came to nothing.

      The minutes of a meeting held on April 2, 1947 by a subcommittee...

    • [PART THREE: Introduction]
      (pp. 181-183)

      This section, as its title suggests, is devoted to a consideration of the close and controversial nature of the relationship between language, culture and schooling. Particular attention is paid to the language of instruction, the role of the school in the maintenance and promotion of native languages, the results of the non-official languages study, and the cognitive and social benefits to be gained from being at ease in two languages and cultures.

      The controversial nature of language and language policy is highlighted by the Parti Québécois government’s flat rejection of French-English bilingualism in the province. Quebec’s Charter of the French...

    • Principles for a Language Policy
      (pp. 184-193)

      There is no doubt that the situation of the French language in Quebec justifies vigilance and intervention by the government. A refusal to accept the absolute urgency of the matter would be a denial of unquestionable facts. The question is how to define the standards by which vigilance and intervention are to be guided. Certainly, remedies cannot be arbitrarily applied on the pretext that the situation is serious; there are inherent requirements, criteria of justice and equality, and legal rules in any normal society, and these are at stake.

      Such principles are briefly described in this article.

      The first principle:...

    • Language in Native Education
      (pp. 194-216)

      The subject of this paper is language in Native education in Canada.¹ The theme is what is known and what is yet to be learned about it. By way of introduction, a brief description of the present Native population is given with emphasis on the areas of language and culture. Next, the structure of administration for Native education is outlined. In this section particular attention is paid to the roles and objectives of the various agencies involved. Then, language programs and policies for Native education are discussed. The final section is a summary of the main points. Throughout the paper...

    • The Non–Official Languages Study
      (pp. 217-232)

      The Non-Official Languages Survey was conducted to examine the main patterns of non-official language knowledge and use in Canada, and to ascertain whether there is a real desire to support the retention of such languages as a viable source of cultural identity and preservation among members of groups whose ancestral language is other than English or French. The survey accomplished this objective, and at the same time has created a very rich and unique data bank on Canadian ethnic groups.…

      In assessing and interpreting the results of the study, it is important to remember that it dealt only with large...

    • Culture and Language as Factors in Learning and Education
      (pp. 233-262)

      It is difficult to dislodge deep-seated beliefs. The one I would like at least to loosen somewhat is the belief that culture and language have profound influences on cognitive processes. The trouble is that it makes awfully good common sense to say that people from different cultural or linguistic backgrounds think differently, and it even makes fairly good social-scientific sense. For instance, some time ago the anthropologist Lévy-Bruhl (1926) presented a certain type of evidence to support the idea that the thinking of “primitive peoples” differed in substance and structure from that of more “civilized” man. Although this thesis has...

    • [PART FOUR: Introduction]
      (pp. 263-264)

      The purpose of this section is to examine the extent to which in the recent past the school curriculum has served to help Canadian students understand and appreciate the culturally and racially diverse nature of their society.

      In their examination of prescribed social studies curricula across Canada, Ted Aoki and his colleagues draw attention to the fact that minority ethnic groups, when they were discussed at all, were generally interpreted in terms of either one or both ofthe dominant British or French communities. They also discovered that ethnic studies at the elementary school level focused largely upon material aspects of...

    • Whose Culture? Whose Heritage? Ethnicity Within Canadian Social Studies Curricula
      (pp. 265-289)

      Ethnicity is evidenced within social studies curricula simply because social studies is about people. It interprets their cultures and heritages, their histories and lifestyles, and their beliefs and values within the Canadian mosaic. It is a market place not only for cross-cultural contacts, but also for shaping biases and stereotypes. As for the child who is of an ethnic minority, social studies is one more place where he meets the values and perspectives of the dominant culture. More importantly, he meets himself in the image of minorities presented to him within curricula. As navigators watch the bias of their instruments,...

    • The Social Role of School Textbooks in Canada
      (pp. 290-312)

      Public schools exist primarily for the purpose of socializing the young. The child’s basic political and social orientation is established during his years in elementary school; thereafter his ideology may change in complexity, but rarely in its general direction (Sullivan, Byrne, and Stager, 1970). From these and similar findings, such researchers as Hess and Torney (1967) have concluded that “the public school appears to be the most important and effective instrument of political socialization,” but, as critics have pointed out, this conclusion does not necessarily follow (Sears, 1968). The actual effect of the school as compared to the effects on...

    • Curriculum Development
      (pp. 313-323)

      In the past the ethnically pluralistic nature of Canadian society has not been adequately accounted for in curriculum development for schools. This statement does not constitute a charge of omission, but instead, taking into account demographic data respecting ethnicity in this country, particularly since the 1890s, reflects a premise about the nature and function of the schooling process: schools have been seen primarily as agents of socialization for Anglo-or Franco-conformity.

      As undefinable as the term “national consciousness” might be, it is probably the best descriptive term of a recent reorientation, in fields as diverse as literary criticism and politics, to...

    • The Rationale for Canadian Studies
      (pp. 324-346)

      Throughout the course of its inquiry, this Commission has been forced to confront a fundamental question: why be concerned with Canadian studies? Many people with whom the Commission communicated took for granted the value of Canadian studies. But others were either uncertain as to whether such studies merit scholarly attention or were openly hostile to any suggestion that these studies have a legitimate place in the university. It is, therefore, essential that an answer be provided to the question: why be concerned with Canadian studies? Moreover,it is essential that this answer be given at the outset of theReportfor...

    • [PART FIVE: Introduction]
      (pp. 347-348)

      Renewed interest in the relationship between communities and schools in Canada has coincided with the revitalization of interest in ethnicity. This has led minority communities to reassess the role of the school in transmitting and creating culture. They have also become more vocal and confident in expressing their educational needs and aspirations. For their part, educators are responding in varying ways depending upon context and setting.

      Vandra Masemann’s article deals with the response of the City of Toronto Board of Education to the educational needs and demands of a variety of concerned racial and ethnic groups. Throughout the 1950s and...

    • Multicultural Programs in Toronto Schools
      (pp. 349-369)

      The focus of this paper is a debate about multiculturalism and education in Toronto, a debate which has been waged for many years but which has intensified since 1974.¹ Moreover, this is not just a municipal debate, but a provincial and national debate, having implications for and being influenced by policy decisions by the federal cabinet in relation, for instance, to national language policy and immigration policy. It is a debate that has occurred and recurred in the more than one hundred years since Confederation.

      In brief, this paper discusses the responses df the Toronto Board of Education over a...

    • Evaluation of the Second Year of a Bilingual (English–Ukrainian) Program
      (pp. 370-382)

      A bilingual (English-Ukrainian) program was introduced at the kindergarten and grade one levels by the Edmonton Public School System in September 1974. The following year the bilingual program was expanded to include grade two with an extension of the program to grade three planned for September 1976.

      In its second year of operation four Edmonton Public Schools offered the program to grades one and two. At both grade levels the program is designed so that 50 per cent of instructional time is conducted in Ukrainian, the other 50 per cent in English. Arithmetic, English-language arts and science are taught in...

    • Native Teacher Education in a Community Setting: The Mt.Currie Program
      (pp. 383-398)

      One of many changes in the field of native education is the development of native teacher training programs. The National Indian Brotherhood position paper, “Indian Control of Indian Education”, ¹ a paper presented to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development in 1972 and the basis for present diand educational policy, outlines the need for native teachers, along with proposals for change in all phases of native education. Uniting the guidelines for development is the suggestion that involvement of native people is crucial to the promotion of successful educational experiences for native children. Specifically, needs exist for local control...

    • Teacher Education for a Multicultural Society
      (pp. 399-408)

      In recent years the nature of Canadian society has undergone considerable scrutiny and evaluation, especially with respect to the role of Canada’s ethnic and cultural minorities. Not surprisingly, the school, one of society’ s most important formal agencies of socialization, has inevitably found itself at the centre of the debate. Thus, while the above assertion is made by a British educator, it could serve equally well as a succinct and pertinent commentary on the situation currently facing teachers and teacher education in Canada.

      As the arguments over multiculturalism continue, Canada’ s teachers (the carriers and disseminators, the prime agents of...

    • [PART SIX: Introduction]
      (pp. 409-411)

      The contents of the previous five sections underline the considerable spread of opinion as to the significance of ethnic pluralism in Canada, its implications for educational policy and the diversity of responses it has brought forth. Our concluding section reinforces these points by focusing on key issues and innovations in policy and practice. These include the lack of consensus on the nature of Candian pluralism and the role of formal education in its expression, the implications of changing educational achievement standings among minority groups for social and ethnic stratification patterns, the remarkable success of French immersion programs, and, finally, and...

    • Education in a Multicultural Society: What Sort of Education? What Sort of Society?
      (pp. 412-430)

      Multiculturalism is a concept whose use is characterized by currency rather than consensus. In fact, so great is the ambiguity associated with the term that it has been suggested that it is ready for the “conceptual graveyard” (Stent, 1973). Since education itself has rarely been free from controversy, it is hardly surprising that the issue of multicultural education is both confused and contentious. Carlson (1976), commenting on this confusion, observed:

      Multicultural education (MCE), as describedy b many of its advocates, is a labyrinth of assertions and assumptions which need to be examined. To those who make the largest contributions to...

    • French Immersion in Canada: Achievements and Directions
      (pp. 431-451)
      H.H. STERN

      An educational innovation is hardly ever the result of critical analysis, research and purely rational decision-making; rather, it is an expression of the hopes and aspirations of strong-minded people and their hunches, their determination, inventiveness and enthusiasm. The immersion story is no exception. It is a happy story; but it is also an unusual one. We can learn a great deal from its short history.

      The initiative did not come from the professionals — teachers, psychologists, administrators — but from parents’ groups. Of crucial importance to this particular innovation was the work of a small group of English-speaking parents who...

    • The Vertical Mosaic in Flux: Ethnicity and Education in Urban Canada, 1951–1971
      (pp. 452-476)

      There are a variety of factors, in part external to any ethnic group, that influence its pattern of cultural adaptation in the Canadian social milieu. These include the number of people in a geographic area that identify themselves, or are identified by others, with the ethnic group; the proportion that the group members made up of the entire areal population; the cultural and demographic histories of a group in the area; and the strength or cohesion of ethno-racial-religious bonds within a particular group at any time or geographic location.

      Since education is generally considered to be an integrative force, providing...

    • Heritage Languages and Canadian School Programs
      (pp. 477-500)

      During the past ten years a massive process of reorientation has begun in the school systems of major Canadian cities. Two developments have combined to bring out this reorientation process. First, the federal policy of multiculturalism, and second, the extremely rapid increase in the numbers of immigrant students in urban school systems. The aims of the multiculturalism policy as it affects education are to find effective ways of realizing the educational potential of culturally and linguistically diverse children and to develop social cohesion by promoting appreciation among all children of the varied contributions of different ethnic groups to the Canadian...

    • The Official Languages Act (1969)
      (pp. 501-517)
    • Statement by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, October 8, 1971
      (pp. 518-520)
    • Bill 101, Character of the French Language (1977)
      (pp. 521-533)
    • Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982)
      (pp. 534-547)
  12. The Contributors
    (pp. 548-555)