Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

Multicultural Education before and after the Federal Multiculturalism Policy: A Case Study of the Board of Education of the City of Toronto

Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

Multicultural Education before and after the Federal Multiculturalism Policy: A Case Study of the Board of Education of the City of Toronto

Article excerpt

Abstract

There exist different models of multicultural education that school boards can adopt such as the enrichment model, the enlightenment model, the empowerment model and the intercultural education model. This paper is a case study examining how, between 1960 and 1975, the Board of Education for the City of Toronto, experienced a paradigm shift in their approach towards immigrant students, from a focus on integration to an empowerment model of multicultural education. While in the sixties, the board promoted integration through their New Canadian classes, ESL classes and the promotion of heritage languages, after the adoption of the federal policy of Multiculturalism, the board demonstrated a change in the semantics related to diversity, an increase in its partnerships with community-based organizations and a new enthusiasm for bilingual/bicultural pilot projects.

Resume

Les commissions scolaires peuvent adopter differents modeles d'education multiculturelle tels que le modele d'enrichissement, le modele des lumieres, le modele d'emancipation ou le modele d'education interculturelle. Ce travail est une etude de cas examinant comment, de 1960 a 1975, le Board of Education for the City of Toronto a connu un changement de paradigme dans l'approche adoptee vis-a-vis des etudiants immigrants, en passant d'un modele visant l'integration a un modele d'emancipation de l'education multiculturelle. Alors que dans les annees soixante, la commission scolaire faisait la promotion de l'integration avec des cours offerts aux nouveaux arrivants, des cours d'anglais langue seconde et la promotion des langues des communautes culturelles, suite a l'adoption de la politique federale du multiculturalisme, la commission scolaire a change sa semantique liee a la diversite, a accru ses partenariats avec les organisations communautaires et a connu un nouvel enthousiasme pour les projets pilotes bilingues / biculturels.

INTRODUCTION

While multicultural education could be conceived as a natural outcome of the federal policy of Multiculturalism, education is a provincial responsibility and school boards choose their orientations and priorities. We suggest that the influence of Multiculturalism on local practice can be explored through a historical-comparative approach. This article aims to examine the decisions of one school board prior to, and after, the announcement and implementation of Multiculturalism. A national assessment of multicultural education would represent an ambitious undertaking and is beyond the scope of this paper. Nonetheless, we suggest that a localized case study will enable us to explore the extent to which this federal policy influenced the decisions of one or more local educational institutions. In this light, the present paper is a case study of the diversity-related decisions of the Minutes of the Board of Education for the City of Toronto between 1960 and 1975, which were made available through the Toronto District School Board Sesquicentennial Museum and Archives. This paper does not intend to examine the different discourses surrounding multiculturalism and multicultural education or to assess which practices are best in a diverse society. Rather, it aims first, to identify the practices indicating a paradigm shift following the federal policy of Multiculturalism's implementation in one Ontario school board and second, to associate these practices with an ideal-type of multicultural education. First, we will present a brief review of the definition of multicultural education and its different models. Second, we will detail the diversity-related practices and comments, related in these minutes, before and after the adoption of the federal policy of Multiculturalism accompanied by an analysis of the rationale behind the board's decisions. In the final section, we will discuss the implications of these results.

As we will see reflected in these minutes, the diversity-related decisions and programs of this school board throughout the sixties emphasized integration and did not reflect any of the models of multicultural education, which have been identified. …

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