Censorship, canon reformation and text selection : curriculum concerns for English studies in Canadian secondary school systems

Connolly, Edward Anthony (1992) Censorship, canon reformation and text selection : curriculum concerns for English studies in Canadian secondary school systems. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

From the earliest beginnings of education, the question of what schools should teach and the means by which such principles should be taught have elicited responses from many people. Not everyone agrees with the decisions made with respect to answering each of these questions. -- The issue of censorship was raised in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1989 when sections of Themes for All Times, a required text, were said to have been censored before it was implemented in the school curriculum. Many people raised opposing views with regard to the decision to delete sections of this text. -- This researcher examined this issue and explored how it has emerged in other Canadian provinces during the past twenty years. Censorship campaigns, stemming from a variety of reasons, have been quite publicly waged in other provinces of Canada. Texts have been censored on the basis of their containing perceived immoral, profane, seditious, heretical, violent, racist, and sexist aspects, as well as for the way in which they treat labour-related and nationally sensitive issues. Reports about the number of censorship cases that have occurred in Canada are hard to quantify for many cases are never reported in the media. The issue of silent censorship is of concern and, accompanying this, there is the notion of writers sacrificing their work in the form of self-censorship for the sake of finding a place in the marketplace. There are those who are involved with education who actually unknowingly censor materials. -- This issue must be seen in light of its parent issue, that of forming a literary canon for English courses. This researcher examined the canon of literature listed for study in grades nine, ten, and eleven and level I, II, and III in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador from 1950/51 to 1990/91. The canon of literature used in the schools of Newfoundland and Labrador has changed drastically during this forty year period. Many new areas of concern have been added while others have been dropped. What must be kept in mind is that such decisions are not going to please everybody. When there are few means of expressing concerns about the choice of material to be used in the English courses of high school systems, the debate over the choice of material is often dealt with in an improper way. -- This researcher recommends that those involved with selecting materials to be used in the curriculum – Department of Education personnel, School Board officials, program coordinators, principals, department heads, learning resource personnel, teachers, and the public, become more aware of the concerns that are often raised. Selection policies should be devised which state the rationale for each item listed for study. Such rationales should state how the choice of material relates to the philosophy of education and how it helps achieve the goals and aims of education. The need for such a policy, protecting the rights of all concerned in this process, should be made self-evident.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/4999
Item ID: 4999
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 147-154.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1992
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Censorship--Canada; English literature--Study and teaching (Secondary)--Canada

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