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Source Reviewed:

Passages to Canada. Speakers’ Bureau. School and Community Group Resource Guide.

Audience:

ESL teachers, history and geography teachers, ESL and NS students, parents

Topic:

School and Society Issues

Description:

The present 'School and Community Group Resource Guide' is the product of the joint efforts of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Canadian Heritage, Toronto Dominion Financial Group and the Dominion Institute. It provides guidance in building links between the community group members and the youth through organizing meetings with the community leaders who share their stories about immigrating to Canada. The resource abounds in numerous pre-event and follow-up activities and ready for printing handouts to help teachers organize discussions, scaffold students’ reflection on the issues, and enhance the process of teaching/learning. The printed resource is complemented by a ‘unique electronic archive’ easily accessed through the Web site www.passagestocanada.com.

Strengths:

Both the Resource Guide and the Web site contain valuable information that might be used by ESL teachers, geography and history teachers, ESL and NS students, their parents and other Canadians who are interested in the issues of community building, questions of Citizenship and Immigration. The resource welcomes contributions of all new Canadians who want to share their experiences about finding their way to Canada. ESL teachers might find these resources especially useful for enhancing their cross-disciplinary teaching, for elaborating multiple activities on the topics of Citizenship and Immigration, and community building. This is a valuable resource because it is authentic; it offers ‘face-to-face learning’.



Weaknesses:

The resource might have been even more rewarding for ESL teachers and ESL learners, had it provided audiotapes or videotapes of speakers’ presentations and subsequent discussions. This might be undertaken, though, by the organizers of the event at school.




Comments:

From the perspective of an ESL teacher, this resource is especially helpful because it gives ideas for organizing both curriculum and extra-curriculum activities. It helps build bridges with the community, makes it easier to organize meetings with the leaders of the community; finally, it helps strengthen the student community as well, by empowering recent immigrants, by fostering the common feeling of belonging to a very special and diverse country.



Your Recommendations:

I would recommend this resource to ESL teachers, especially NNS teachers, who might be looking for authentic material and for providing more options for their learners to participate in real-life discussions. It might be plausible to use the recommended activities for engaging both nonnative and native speaker students in joint discussions, reflections and responding to speakers’ presentations.

It might also be a good opportunity to involve students’ parents in the discussions about Citizenship and Immigration, thus increasing their connectedness to school, the community and the Canadian society.



Submitted by: Tatyana Ryaboshapko

 

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