Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Education

Appropriately Diverse? the Ontario Science and Technology Curriculum Tested against the Banks Model

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Education

Appropriately Diverse? the Ontario Science and Technology Curriculum Tested against the Banks Model

Article excerpt

La diversite croissante de la population ontarienne presse de plus en plus le systeme

d'education afin qu'il fasse en sorte que tous les etudiants aient les memes chances d'exceller

au point de vue pedagogique et de se developper au plan personnel. Les etudiants

sont plus susceptibles de reussir si leur identite raciale, ethnique et culturelle se reflete

dans la salle de classe. Cette observation s'applique tout autant a la science qu'elle ne

s'applique aux sciences humaines et sociales. Bien que la science ait une qualite universelle,

decoulant de sa capacite a transcender les frontieres geographiques et culturelles,

elle est aussi issue d'origines diverses. La science represente une vaste histoire de realisations

au cours de laquelle presque tous les groupes raciaux, ethniques et culturels ont joue

un role essentiel. Cette diversite n'est pas suffisamment appreciee en Ontario (Canada),

ou en Occident, car l'idee preconcue de la plupart des Europeens et de leurs descendants

veut que la science soit fondamentalement occidentale. Les programmes d'enseignement

des sciences doivent donc orienter, convaincre et equiper les enseignants pour qu'ils

puissent refuter cette hypothese et ainsi susciter l'interet des etudiants de tout horizon.

Cet article utilise l'analyze de contenu classique pour tester les programmes d'enseignement

des sciences de l'Ontario de 1998 et de 2007, a l'intention des eleves de la premiere

a la huitieme annee, en fonction des quatre approches de James Banks pour assurer la

diversite raciale, ethnique et culturelle dans les programmes scolaires. Nos resultats

revelent que ni les programmes de 1998 ni ceux de 2007, malgre la pretention que ce

dernier met en Luvre les principes d'une education antidiscriminatoire, ne remettent en

question la perception que la science est fondamentalement d'origine occidentale.

The growing diversity of Ontario's population is increasing pressure on the education

system to ensure that all students receive equal opportunities to excel academically and

develop personally. Students are more likely to succeed if their own racial, ethnic, and

cultural identity is reflected in the classroom. This observation applies no less to science

than it does to the humanities and social sciences. While science has a universal

quality, flowing from its ability to transcend geographic and cultural frontiers, it is also

diverse in origin. Science is a global story of achievement in which nearly every racial,

ethnic, and cultural group has played a vital role. This diversity is not adequately appreciated

in Ontario, Canada, or the Western world because the default assumption of most

Europeans and European descendants is that science is fundamentally Western. Science

curricula must therefore direct, convince and equip teachers to rebut this assumption

and thereby engage the interest of students of all backgrounds. This paper uses classical

content analysis to test the 1998 and 2007 versions of the Ontario science curriculum for

Grades 1 to 8 against James Banks's four approaches for ensuring racial, ethnic and cultural

diversity in school programs. Our findings show that neither the 1998 nor the 2007

curricula, despite the latter's claim to implement the principles of an anti-discriminatory

education, challenge the perception of science as fundamentally Western in origin.

Keywords: Multiculturalism, science education, anti-discrimination, history of science

Introduction

Ontario is already one of the most racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse jurisdictions in Canada, if not in North America. Steady streams of newcomers from every corner of the planet are adding unprecedented richness to Ontario society. …

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