Jump to Main Content
Decrease font size Reset font size Increase font size
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto Home| OISE| U of T| Portal| Site Map | Contact Us | Feeling Distressed?
INSPIRING EDUCATION | oise.utoronto.ca
ESL Infusion at OISE
Go to selected destination

Source Reviewed:

Canada: Who Are We And Where Are We Going?

Audience:

ESL teachers, History and Social Science Teachers.

Topic:

Diversity Issues

Description:

The resource discusses the themes that require special attention on the part of educators; immigration, multiculturalism, and national identity are explored in-depth with outlining the reasons for recruiting immigrants and the principles of Canadian Government Immigration policy. The author examines the possible challenges that teachers might face while teaching children of recent immigrants. He reminds of the importance of teaching a national language to all adult immigrants and their children so far as children should be considered as a rich resource of the country. Besides, in this way teachers transmit and reinforce Canadian culture. On the other hand, he argues, immigrants in their turn contribute to the Canadian cultural mosaic. The author defines such concepts as culture, multiculturalism, national identity, racism and others. Giving space to comparing and contrasting different cultural commonalities, the author outlines core human commonalities that are shared by every culture. The book discusses the core Canadian values and beliefs that define Canadians as a nation. Chapters dealing with culture and multiculturalism issues give insightful characteristics of multicultural education, which might help teachers embed multicultural awareness into regular curriculum and give ideas for extra-curricular activities. The concluding chapters of the book elaborate the notions of racism, ethno-centrism, ethno-relativisms, offer different ways of responding to racial incidents, discuss principles of anti-racist education. Like the previous chapters of the book, they are supplied with a whole variety of activities to be implemented by teachers. In an Appendix, the author shares his views on and experience in learning second language in order to give some additional advice on teaching ESL to newcomers.

Strengths:

The value of the resource is not only in its being highly informative, but in making teachers reflect, and sequentially in making students reflects on what it means being a Canadian, What makes us different from other societies? What does multiculturalism mean? What are the core values of Canadians? How can we fight racism? etc. It encourages both teachers and students to define their own values in order to identify our intrinsic biases or misconceptions and readjust our values for the benefit of our community.

Additionally, the resource wins by providing multiple activities on each topic discussed. Apart from being informative and having practical value, the book urges teachers to be evaluative and critical of what is being done at schools for incorporating the discussed issues into daily curriculum or in organizing numerous events (some of them are meticulously described in the respective chapters).

Teachers might also benefit by the author’s advice to be sensitive of such issues as sexism or racism while choosing the teaching material.



Weaknesses:

Sometimes I had the feeling that the author might have used less formal language when discussing the burning issues or elaborating classroom activities. This might entail additional work on the part of ESL teachers (especially NNS) on simplifying the vocabulary.

Comments:

This is a good resource for ESL teachers and Social Science teachers. It enlightens teachers on how to nurture positive attitude towards multiculturalism, how to raise anti-discrimination awareness; it offers recommendations for working with ethnically diverse students and their families. It helps to construct the notion of “fairness” within classroom environment and make it clear that this is the greatest Canadian value.

Your Recommendations:

Teaching in a multicultural environment requires from teachers to be able to address the acts of discrimination, to lessen tensions among students, to encourage critical thinking, to develop positive cultural and national identification, to develop the feeling of inclusion and to promote the respect of the community, to mention but a few. The resource reviewed can supply teachers with the necessary knowledge and understanding how to deal with the above issues in the classroom environment. I would recommend it both as an informative and practical resource, which also gives some additional references for where to search for additional material.

Submitted by: Tatyana Ryaboshapko

OISEcms v.1.0 | Site last updated: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 Disclaimer

© OISE University of Toronto
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, 252 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1V6 CANADA