Culture-based materials in the English programs of the senior high schools in the Atlantic Provinces

Goulding, Raymond C. (1982) Culture-based materials in the English programs of the senior high schools in the Atlantic Provinces. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

In Canada there has been a long history of concern within political and educational arenas for the status of culture-based programs in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary school curriculums. It is within this historical context that this study found its purpose and significance. This study, proceeding from an extensive base of information provided by the Crawford (1971) and Robinson (1979) reports, had as its major purpose an analysis of the contents of the senior high school English programs authorized for use in the Atlantic provinces during 1981-82. The problem set for the study was the determining of the extent to which these programs contained materials that reflect a local, regional, or national Canadian culture. -- The investigator examined, analyzed, and rated 389 of the 406 different textbooks authorized by the Atlantic provinces' departments of education for use in their respective senior high school English programs. From the investigation emerged the following nine findings: -- 1. Of the 406 authorized textbooks only six were common to all four Atlantic provinces. These were: Julius Caesar and Twelfth Night; The Old Man and the Sea, The Pearl, Lord of the Flies, and Who Has Seen the Wind. Only one of these six books was culture-based - Who Has Seen the Wind. -- 2. Common to any combination of three Atlantic provinces were but 23 senior high school English textbooks. Within that number were four Canadian works: the novels The Mountain and the Valley, More Joy in Heaven, and Who Has Seen the Wind, and the play "The Black Bonspiel of Willie MacCrirnrnon" by W.O. Mitchell. -- 3. In the Atlantic region, in 1981-82, Canadian owned publishers supplied 34% of the provincially authorized textbooks for the senior high school English programs. The province with the highest percentage of Canadian published texts was Nova Scotia with 39%; the province with the lowest, 24%, was Prince Edward Island. -- 4. Approximately 128 out of the 389 books examined, or 33%, revealed a recognizable Canadian content. Again Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island ranked highest and lowest. Of the textbooks examined from Nova Scotia's senior high English program, 50.70% of them reflected a recognizable Canadian orientation, while, concurrently, only 17.82% of Prince Edward Island's could be so identified. -- 5. Of the 389 textbooks examined, 92 contained 60% or greater Canadian content, while 199 of them, or approximately 51%, had less than 20% Canadian content. -- 6. a) Within the Atlantic region as a unit, Short Stories and Language Study areas of the curriculum were those most heavily weighted with Canadian materials. -- b) Most conspicuous in the absence of culture-based materials was the area of Teacher and Classroom References in Prince Edward Island where of the 35 authorized texts not one had any Canadian orientation or content. Another statistical highlight was that of only 10% of the drama in New Brunswick's senior high English program being Canadian drama. -- 7. Some local materials were present in all the Atlantic provinces' senior high English programs. Newfoundland had the highest number of local materials with 7, while Prince Edward Island had the lowest number with 1. -- 8. In 1981-82 two Atlantic provinces offered courses in Canadian literature, those being Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Newfoundland plans to introduce a course into its re-organized high school curriculum sometime after 1982-83. -- 9. Three of the Atlantic departments of education had no written textbook selection policy that stated a preference for materials published in Canada. -- From these findings the author concluded that the departments of education in the Atlantic region, if they intend to increase significantly and expeditiously the number of culture-based materials in their senior high school English programs, must undertake some affirmative action. Upon that premise the author tendered to those departments a number of recommendations. -- The Atlantic provinces' departments of education should: -- 1. develop written textbook selection policies that state a preference for learning materials that are Canadian authored and published with clear Canadian orientation and as much Canadian content as appropriate and desirable; -- 2. establish an Atlantic provinces' organization that would plan, co-ordinate, and support the production of local materials; -- 3. subsidize the Canadian Learning Materials Centre in Nova Scotia so it can expand its operations to build a resource reference collection of culture-based learning materials, provide display services, provide a research and evaluation service, and offer inservice programs to teachers on the availability and utilization of culture-based learning materials; -- 4. introduce greater commonality into the senior high English curriculums in Atlantic Canada; -- 5. pressure the Canadian Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, to provide financial assistance to Canadian authors, editors, and educational organizations for the production of culture-based learning materials.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/10566
Item ID: 10566
Additional Information: Bibliography : leaves [103]-110.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1982
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Textbook bias--Atlantic Provinces; Textbooks--Atlantic Provinces.

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