Living and Learning
The Report of the Provincial Committee on Aims and Objectives of
Education in the Schools of Ontario
Copy of an Order-in-Council approved by His Honour the Lieutenant
Governor, dated the 10th day of June, A.D. 1965.
The Committee of Council have had under consideration the report
of the Honourable the Minister of Education, dated the 10th day
of May, 1965 wherein he states that,
Whereas it is deemed expedient to revise the courses of study for
children in the age group presently designated as Kindergarten,
Primary and Junior Divisions.
And whereas it is deemed expedient to appoint a Provincial Committee
to make a careful study of the means whereby modern education can
meet the present and future needs of children and society.
The Honourable the Minister of Education therefore recommends that
there be established a Provincial Committee on Aims and Objectives
of Education in the Schools of Ontario for the purposes hereinafter
* to identify the needs of the child as a person and as a member
* to set forth the aims of education for the educational system
of the Province
* to outline objectives of the curriculum for children in the age
groups presently designated as Kindergarten, Primary and Junior
* to propose means by which these aims and objectives may be achieved
* to submit a report for the consideration of the Minister of Education.
That the Committee be empowered to request submissions, receive
briefs and hear persons with special knowledge in the matters heretofore
That the Committee be empowered to require the assistance of the
officials of the Department of Education, in particular members
of the staff of the Curriculum Division, for such research and other
purposes as may be deemed necessary.
That members of the Committee be empowered to visit classrooms
in the schools of Ontario, by arrangement with local school systems.
The Committee of Council concur in the recommendation of the Honourable
the Minister of Education and advise that the same be acted on.
Clerk, Executive Council
The Provincial Committee on Aims and Objectives of Education in
the Schools of Ontario began its work in June, 1965. At its initial
meeting the Committee decided to invite the submission of briefs
by interested organizations and individuals. A total of 112 briefs
was received. Public hearings were held in Ottawa in December, 1965,
and in Sudbury and London early in 1966, and several public hearings
were held in Toronto during 1966 and 1967. The Committee also heard
presentations by experts, commissioned research studies, and visited
schools, institutions, colleges of education, and universities in
several educational jurisdictions. Answers to many problems were
found by studying innovations already implemented in the schools
of Ontario and other provinces. The Committee sent teams to study
the educational systems and programs in many parts of the United
States and in several countries in Europe and the Orient. It derived
much help from these comparative education visits. Meetings were
held regularly to complete the study and write the Report.
In its terms of reference the Committee was instructed "to
set forth the aims of education for the educational system of the
Province" and to propose means by which these aims might be
achieved. The Committee found evidence that formal statements of
aims have had little effect on educational practices in the past.
Of four Royal Commissions that have reported on education in their
respective provinces of Canada during the past eight years, only
one published a separate chapter on aims.
The recent report of the Central Advisory Council for Education
in England has a four-page chapter on aims but indicates a preference
for a pragmatic approach to the purposes of education; it implies
that individual teachers might better define their own aims. Some
philosophers believe that aims are inherent in the educational process
and in fact often arise from it, and that the school program itself
provides the best evidence of the aims and objectives of any educational
This Report has been designed to communicate the Committee's viewpoints,
findings, and recommendations in a manner which reflects the philosophy
of the Committee. It contains a commentary on the aims of education,
but it does not include a formal statement of aims. The aims and
objectives of education are an intrinsic part of the proposed educational
process, and are inherent in the very spirit of the Report. The
reader will discover that children are the focus of attention as
the panorama of their new world of learning unfolds throughout the
pages of this book.
The children who enter the schools of Ontario during the next few
decades will spend most of their lives in the twenty-first century.
If the current rate of social, economic, and technological change
is maintained in the years ahead, the educational process will need
continuing reappraisal, and school programs will have to be designed
to respond accordingly.
The Provincial Committee on Aims and Objectives
The Committee's membership was drawn from various geographic areas
of the province; it was representative of a wide variety of occupations
and interests, and included five members of the teaching profession,
who were nominated by the Ontario Teachers' Federation. Unfortunately,
the Committee lost the service of four of its original participants.
Sister Stanislaus, formerly Supervising Principal of the Peterborough
Separate School Board, died while attending a Committee conference
in October, 1965. Mr. R.H. Field, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum,
Ontario Department of Education, resigned his position as Secretary
of the Committee in December, 1965, to accept the position of Assistant
Superintendent of Schools in Windsor. F.B. Rainsberry, Network Supervisor
of School Broadcasts and Youth Programming of the Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation, withdrew from the Committee when he moved to Israel
in September, 1966, to organize its educational television service.
Mr. M.B. Parnall, Director, Program Branch, Ontario Department of
Education, was inactive because of illness during the last year
of the Committee's work. New appointments were made and the membership
of the Committee in 1968 is shown on these pages.
As this Report went to press, the Committee learned with deep regret
of the passing of Maxwell B. Parnall. His strong faith in the human
spirit and his unswerving loyalty to the cause of children and their
education provided initial inspiration for the Committee and helped
to establish, at the very outset, the direction that our study has
taken. Such benefits to children as may stem from this Report will
serve to reflect the contribution to education in Ontario made by
this dedicated and selfless public servant.
1. Mr. Justice E. M. Hall (Ottawa)
Co-Chairman of the Committee. Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.
Former Chairman, St. Paul's Separate School District, Saskatoon.
Recently Chairman of the Royal Commission on Health Services.
2. Mr. L.A. Dennis (Toronto)
Co-Chairman of the Committee. Formerly school principal. Secretary
and Research Director of the Committee, 1966.
3. Mr. D.W. Muir (Hamilton)
Deputy Chairman of the Committee. Assistant Personnel Manager of
the Steel Company of Canada Limited. Former member of the Hamilton
Board of Education and of its Advisory Vocational Committee. Honorary
President of Ontario Business and Commerce Teachers' Association.
4. Dr. G.W. Bancroft (Toronto; New York)
Associate Professor of Education at Fairleigh Dickinson University,
New Jersey. Formerly teacher, Forest Hill Collegiate in Toronto.
Former Chairman of Professional Development Committee for District
15 of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation.
5. Mr. E.J. Brisbois (Toronto)
President of Challenger Manifold Corporation Ltd. President of
the Metropolitan Educational Television Association. Executive President
of the English Catholic Education Association of Ontario, and Chairman
of the Management Committee of the Metropolitan Separate School
6. Mr. E.J. Checkeris (Sudbury)
General Manager and Treasurer of the Wahnapitae Lumber Company
Ltd. Past President of the Ontario Junior Chamber of Commerce and
of AHEPA (Greek Men's Association). Third Vice-President, Sudbury
Chamber of Commerce. Chairman of Sudbury District School Area #
2. Chairman, Sudbury Division, Interim School Organization Committee.
7. Mr. J.K. Crossley (Willowdale)
Associate Superintendent of Curriculum, Ontario Department of Education.
Former school principal. Formerly school inspector, Welland County.
Former District Chairman, Ontario Public School Men Teachers' Federation.
8. Mr. J.E. Duffin (Thorndale)
Poultry and livestock farmer. Reeve, West Nissouri Township. Member,
Middlesex County Consultative Committee on Education
9. Mr. M.J. Penwick (Agincourt)
Assistant to the Director of District 6, United Steelworkers of
America. Vice-President of the Ontario Federation of Labour. Member
of Metropolitan Toronto Advisory Committee on Manpower Training.
Editor of The Miner's Voice.
10. Dr. Reva Gerstein (Don Mills)
Psychologist. President of the C.M. Hincks Treatment Centre. Immediate
Past Chairman (National) of the Canadian Council on Children and
Youth. Member of the Committee on University Affairs.
11. Mr. R.E. Ingall (Peterborough)
Master at Peterborough Teachers' College. Formerly school principal.
Former Chairman of the Ontario Teachers' Federation Curriculum Revision
12. Dr. J.P. Leddy (Windsor)
President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Windsor. Formerly
Vice-President of the University of Saskatchewan. Recently served
as National Chairman of World University Service of Canada, and
of Canadian University Service Overseas. Vice-Chairman of the Canada
Council. Author of The Humanities in an Age of Science and The Humanities
in Modern Education.
13. Sister Alice Marie C.S.J., (London)
Supervising Principal of the London Separate School Board. Member
of the Board of Directors, English Catholic Teachers' Association,
and of the Curriculum Study Committee, Ontario Teachers' Federation.
14. Mr. G.A. Nash (Welland)
Barrister-at-law. Queen's Counsel. Senior partner of Nash, Tolmie
and Johnston. Former Chairman of the Welland County Mental Health
Association and the Welland Board of Education. A Director of the
Greater Welland Chamber of Commerce.
15. Mr. M.P. Parent (Ottawa)
Public accountant. Former trustee of the Ottawa Separate School
Board and former Chairman of the Collegiate Institute Board of Ottawa.
Past President of United Appeal of Ottawa and of Les Scouts Catholiques
16. Mr. M.B. Parnall (Toronto)
Director of the Program Branch, Ontario Department of Education.
Former teacher. Formerly master on staff of Toronto Teachers' College
and Principal of North Bay Teachers' College Former Superintendent
of the Curriculum Branch, Department of Education. (Inactive after
May, 1967, because of illness. Deceased, April, 1968)
17. Dr. C.E. Phillips (Willowdale)
Retired Director of Graduate Studies, Ontario College of Education,
University of Toronto. Former Executive Secretary and a President
of the Canadian Education Association. Author of The Development
of Education in Canada.
18. Miss Ola Reith (St. Thomas)
Co-ordinator of Guidance and Special Services for the St. Thomas
Public Schools. Past President of the Federation of Women Teachers'
Associations of Ontario. Member of the Curriculum Co-ordinating
Committee and Chairman of the Reading Sub-Committee of the Ontario
19. Dr. M.G. Ross (Toronto)
President of York University. Formerly Vice-President and Vice-Chancellor
of the University of Toronto. Fellow of the American Sociological
Association. Author of Community Organization: Theory and Principles;
The New University; New Universities in the Modern World.
20. Mr. Leopold Seguin (Timmins; Cornwall)
Teacher, St. Albert School, Cornwall. Formerly teacher, Collège
Sacré-Coeur in Timmins. Member of L'Association des Enseignants
Franco-Ontariens, and of the Social Science Committee of the Ontario
21. Mrs. R.W. Van Der Flier (Port Arthur)
Housewife. Trustee, Port Arthur Board of Education. Formerly a
Director of the Ontario School Trustees' and Ratepayers' Association.
22. Mrs. J. Woodcock (Huntsville)
Housewife. Trustee, Huntsville Board of Education. Formerly a member
of the Huntsville Public Library Board. Former teacher.
23 Dr. E.J. Quick (Toronto)
Secretary and Research Director of the Committee, 1967-68. Assistant
Superintentend of Curriculum, Ontario Department of Education; on
loan to Committee.
24. Mr. H.G. Hedges (Burlington)
Co-ordinator of Research and Production for Committee. Principal.
Hamilton Teachers' College; on loan to Committee.
To the Honourable William G. Davis
Minister of Education for the Province of Ontario
We, the members of the Provincial Committee on Aims and Objectives
of Education in the Schools of Ontario, appointed by Order-in-Council
OC-2122/6S, dated the 10 day of June, 1965, to inquire into and
report upon the means whereby modern education can meet the present
and future needs of children and society within the terms of reference
set forth in that Order-in-Council, now submit our Report.
We also tender herewith studies commissioned by us in several fields
of special interest, as well as other reports and documents used
by us, in the belief that these contain significant observations,
information, and insights into the matters dealt with, and which
should be studied as companion documents to our Report. Copies of
these documents are being deposited in the Legislative Library and
in the Library of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.
The Truth Shall Make You Free
The underlying aim of education is to further man's unending search
for truth. Once he possesses the means to truth, all else is within
his grasp. Wisdom and understanding, sensitivity, compassion, and
responsibility, as well as intellectual honesty and personal integrity,
will be his guides in adolescence and his companions in maturity.
This is the message that must find its way into the minds and hearts
of all Ontario children. This is the key to open all doors. It is
the instrument which will break the shackles of ignorance, of doubt,
and of frustration; that will take all who respond to its call out
of their poverty, their slums, and their despair; that will spur
the talented to find heights of achievement and provide every child
with the experience of success; that will give mobility to the crippled;
that will illuminate the dark world of the blind and bring the deaf
into communion with the hearing; that will carry solace to the disordered
of mind, imagery to the slow of wit, and peace to the emotionally
disturbed; that will make all men brothers, equal in dignity if
not in ability; and that will not tolerate disparity of race, color,
This above all is our task: to seek and to find the structure,
the organization, the curriculum, and the teachers to make this
aim a reality in our schools and in our time.
We stand today in the dawn of our second century and assess the
field of future education. Surrounded by the greatest array of learning
paraphernalia we have ever seen, and immersed in new knowledge,
we must not lose sight of the human needs that the new dawn brings.
We are at once the heirs of the past and the stewards of the future,
and while we take pride in our inheritance, we can ill afford to
bury our talents in the soils of satisfaction. We have in our hands
means of change for human betterment that few people of the world
enjoy. We must find a way to their application that will germinate
the seeds of a more fruitful way of life, not only for the people
of Ontario but for all Canadians, and hopefully the harvest will
make its contribution to all mankind.
Seen in this light, ours is no vision of education for a provincial
priority or traditional national pride, but for the good of all
men. It is a vision of greatness and dignity for the individual
through the exercise of public and private responsibility. At no
time in our history have we had a better vantage point from which
to view the role of Canadians in the affairs of man. Perhaps, too,
no better opportunity has been offered to transcend the ordinary
conditions of our free society and reach a new plateau of human
commitment to the common good.
There is no country in the world where there are fewer impediments
to the good life for all. We have an opportunity to build here upon
the northern half of this continent a nation of educated and healthy
people. Nature itself favors such a possibility. While climatic
conditions in the northern areas are often forbidding, the country
as a whole is singularly free of those uncontrollable hazards to
be found in so many parts of the world. It is for us so to organize
our resources in harmony with our favored situation that Canada
may become a showplace of man's humanity to man. We will rightly
stand condemned by history if we fail to provide what our people
need and what our resources and our know-how make readily possible.
A principle which has dominated our thinking is that money and
effort spent on education is money and effort well spent; an investment
in human resources that will pay handsome dividends not only in
terms of economics but in human happiness and well being. It is
an investment in which all young people of Ontario must have the
opportunity to participate.
The child's right to the best education available is now universally
recognized. It is an entrenched right which no one would dare to
challenge. It is now beyond question that all our young people must
be better educated and more fully and competently trained if Canada
and Ontario are to survive in this highly competitive age of electronics,
specialization, and automation.
Dr. Egerton Ryerson, the architect of public education in Ontario,
built a system which has worked well and which has been of immense
benefit to the people of Ontario and to other parts of Canada in
the first hundred years of Confederation. Fragmentary changes have
been made from time to time in the system, but basically no vital
or fundamental change has been made in the intervening century nor
was there any pronounced demand for drastic change or replacement
until the postwar period.
The people of Ontario have good reason to be proud of their efforts
put forth in the cause of education in the past. Indeed, in certain
aspects Ontario has, from time to time, been in the forefront of
Today, on every side, however, there is heard a growing demand
for a fresh look at education in Ontario. The Committee was told
of inflexible programs, outdated curricula, unrealistic regulations,
regimented organization, and mistaken aims of education. We heard
from alienated students, frustrated teachers, irate parents, and
concerned educators. Many public organizations and private individuals
have told us of their growing discontent and lack of confidence
in a school system which, in their opinion, has become outmoded
and is failing those it exists to serve.
Education is being given prime consideration throughout the world
for what it can do in furthering peace and unity. We felt this emphasis
everywhere we went in our survey and scrutiny of other systems.
In Canada, Ontario has a major responsibility by virtue of its geographic
position, its size, its population, and its wealth to give leadership
in many facets of education not only academically, aesthetically,
and vocationally, but in bringing into harmony the two founding
peoples with themselves and with those from other lands who have
chosen to be Canadians. Moreover, the province has a special responsibility
to espouse the needs and aspirations of our Indian citizens, and
to foster the dignity of a heritage that is right fully theirs.
History has made the English and the French the original nation
builders of this half-continent. Common sense and the national interest
demand that this fact be accepted without reservation and made the
instrument whereby a country unique in this respect may shine before
the world as an example of what should be a worldwide ideal.
History has played a decisive role in shaping Canadian society.
Unlike the United States, we did not make a sharp revolutionary
break with the past. We determined to build our nation through an
evolutionary movement upon the irrevocable recognition that French
and English were here as a fact of history: in consequence we accepted
as part of the evolving social fabric a dual pattern of the common
law and civil law and of ethnic, regional, and sectarian interests.
This is surely the more difficult of the two roads to nation hood
and is as much a noble experiment as the road chosen by our southern
It is something to work for, this social fabric; for it must embrace
not only our founding cultures, but those that spring from many
other ethnic roots. It must know no provincial boundaries, nor exclude
any Canadian whatever his origin from its protective shield. Above
all, it must not require the melting pot of uniformity. Our search
for agreement within diversity, although slow and difficult, serves
to protect us from the many pressures of conformity with which technology
assails us. In this opportunity to resist the melting pot of uniformity
lies our greatest hope of survival as a nation with distinct characteristics
of our own-not in imitation of England, the United States, or France,
but with characteristics which will serve as examples to nations
old and new which themselves have cultural and language problems.
Ontario has a major role, perhaps a decisive one, in holding Canada
together, and its educational system has a prime responsibility
and opportunity in this field.
Furthermore, equal to, or of perhaps greater importance than, its
contribution to the development of Canadian unity, is the educational
value of acquiring an additional language as a communicative tool
to reach people better. No other learning experience brings home
so well to the learner the distinction between words and the ideas
for which they stand; a salutary lesson both for the child who is
learning to read, and for the intellectual to whom language can
become an end in itself.
Ontario, through its educational system, has the opportunity to
cement the partnership between English-speaking and French-speaking
Canadians. The time is opportune for our educational authorities
to say to all Canadians that French is not a foreign language in
Ontario schools. Notwithstanding the difficulties of administration
and personnel now existing, all boys and girls in the schools of
the province must be given the opportunity of becoming conversant
with both English and French so that in the next generation our
citizens may be competent to communicate freely with their fellows
of the other tongue in Quebec or elsewhere. If this is part of the
price of national unity then let Ontario pay it gladly, for, in
so doing, it will not only do justice to all citizens, but its people
will also reap rich dividends culturally and economically, far beyond
the cost in facilities and personnel needed to accomplish this result.
What principles, then, should govern our considerations and guide
us to conclusions and recommendations? We may with faith and reliance
turn to The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United
Nations for assistance. Regarding education, Article 26 of the Declaration
"1. Everyone has the right to education. Education shall
be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary
education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education
shall be made generally available and higher education shall be
equally accessible to all on the basis of merit."
"2. Education shall be directed to the full development of
the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human
rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding,
tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious
groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for
the maintenance of peace."
"3. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education
that shall be given to their children."
With these we accept the concept that every child in Ontario is
entitled, as of right, to the opportunity of access to the educational
and training facilities for which his talents qualify him; that
no condition of race, religion, language, or background shall be
allowed to impede his progress to full citizenship in all its plenitude.
In shaping the program of the future we must avoid by every means
within our power the perpetuation of classes of citizenship, some
of which will be inferior primarily from lack of economic opportunity
or geographic location, and unable to participate to the full in
the fruits of education and training.
We are fully aware that education in Canada is first and foremost
a provincial responsibility. That does not mean or imply that the
Federal Government has no interest or responsibility in the held.
It has a vital interest in co-operation with the provinces to see
that adequate resources are available in all provincial areas. Only
by so doing will educational opportunity be equalized throughout
the nation. Likewise, in this era when the price of education is
totally beyond the resources of local communities, the Province
must assume an ever-increasing responsibility for educational costs,
for in no other way can equality of opportunity through education
become a fact and not merely a slogan to Ontario's children.
The foundation of education in Ontario was the one-room school.
With all its limitations, this historic structure was the source
of ambition and initiative for many of the men and women who brought
Ontario to its present eminence. Dedicated and underpaid teachers
labored in loneliness and often in isolation to make the system
work, and they deserve our gratitude. Equal in service have been
the local school boards. Small in size and great in number, they
have contributed in responsible trusteeship what their teachers
have given in academic service.
But the small school and the local school board have outlived their
day. The complexities of modern education demand larger units of
instruction and administration. More sophisticated facilities, increased
costs, greater urbanization, requirements of industry, improved
methods of travel and communication, and many other factors have
made obsolete the small school and the small unit of organization.
Much has already been done in this regard. The number of school
boards in Ontario has been reduced from 5,600 in 1945 to 1,600 in
1967, and a program for dramatic further consolidation has recently
been announced. New schools, reflecting the latest developments
of architecture and learning devices, and accommodating students
from widening community areas, are appearing throughout the province.
Such changes in accommodation and administration are inevitable
if the system of education is to provide all students with access
to the numerous and varied aids to learning that are now available.
The changes will make great demands. They will require an expansion
of local loyalties, a high degree of co-ordination among the agencies
administering services, and a diversity of those services according
to the needs of particular environments. But only in meeting such
demands can education offer the reward of equal opportunity to all
the students in Ontario's schools.
The Province of Ontario is committed to a public tax-supported
system of non-confessional and Roman Catholic separate schools.
This two-fold system was in existence prior to Confederation and
was written into The British North America Act as a condition of
that union. Unless the constitution is changed, this is the pattern
that will continue. That being so, it is imperative that the needs
of all children in Ontario be justly served in the spirit of co-operation,
understanding, and good will that is increasingly noticeable in
Education in Ontario was preoccupied initially with the academic
field. Little by little the growth of industry and the results of
the industrial revolution brought the school into the fields of
vocational and technical education. Today in the full flood of industrialization
and automation these elements assume an importance for all educators
and administrators as vital to the growing boy and girl as the older
disciplines. The new curriculum must therefore give full effect
to these requirements in such a way that no boy or girl will be
without a suitable place for learning. The curriculum must be structured
so as to give the pupil headway in those subjects or activities
in which he can fulfill himself, even though unable to make progress
in all the disciplines. Provision must also be made for the student
to re-enter various studies as he may wish, if competent to do so.
Decisions to shift emphasis from the academic to the commercial
or technical should not be made too early in a child's school program
or in an arbitrary manner. Competent counselling and consultation
with parents and guardians when this decision is made are of prime
importance. The welfare of the individual child must be paramount
in making decisions, and no stereotyped attitude, or condition of
class, economic status, or environment should prejudice such decisions.
It must be recognized that there are many children who have special
gifts in music or art or drama, but who have no particular interest
in the sciences or mathematics or other academic disciplines. The
curriculum must provide for their progress and for graduation with
emphasis in their specialties. These children cannot be branded
as failures by the fact that their talents lie in special areas
rather than in the traditional disciplines.
There are the retarded and the slow learners who must also be accommodated
by the curriculum so that when they have emerged from their school
experience, they will have matured and learned as much as their
capabilities permit in an atmosphere of self respect and dignity,
and without the stigma of failure. Their transition from the academic
to another area of learning must be accomplished without detrimental
In earlier days, the education and training of the child with special
disabilities was, by and large, left to the parents. Time and an
awakening public consciousness brought about a demand that all children
with such disabilities receive adequate education, and that it should
be provided by the state. It was also realized that certain of those
with disabilities, once given adequate educational opportunities,
could achieve heights of accomplishment culturally and economically
as rewarding as those of other children. Schools for the blind,
the deaf, and the crippled were established. Later, provision was
made for the education of the retarded and the emotionally disturbed.
However, with some exceptions, those special schools were slow in
development, particularly the schools for the deaf and the retarded,
and they lagged far behind in research and teacher training, and
became detached from the mainstream of educational progress.
All of these areas which come within the designation of 'special
education' assume a greater importance as time goes on. The advances
of science, the wonder drugs, better housing, and the influence
of the affluent society contribute to a much greater proportion
of all such children attaining school age and adulthood. These children
are entitled to the same measure of opportunity as their more fortunate
brothers and sisters. The neglects of the past must now be remedied,
and heroic efforts, if necessary, must be made to compensate for
disabilities which nature and misfortune have imposed. The responsibility
for providing integrated services, personnel, and special facilities
where needed is a Provincial one; it should not be limited as at
present. Only in this way can discrimination be avoided and an equal
opportunity given to all.
These services must be so situated as to permit all children with
disabilities to enter the regular school program partially or totally
when their development so warrants, in the expectation that after
several years of schooling they may be able to obtain entrance to
a university or other centre of higher learning in due course. The
large residential schools were pioneers in special education; but
in the light of present knowledge and technical facility, such remote
schools are anachronisms and unsuited to educate and prepare these
children for today's world. Educational opportunities for them should
be provided in the communities where they live. Preparation of teachers
for special education should be upgraded and developed at the university
level. Research will need to be expanded and new methods, programs,
facilities, and integrated services developed.
The changing patterns of living, of working, and of recreation
require that the educational system prepare the children of tomorrow
to live in a world vastly different from that of this generation.
There must be education for leisure time, for a more mature culture,
and for a greater sense of personal responsibility, and the curriculum
must be designed accordingly.
Education in the future will require a greater public involvement,
a greater partnership between the home and school, between the community
and the school. The school cannot be indifferent to the social conditions
of the area it serves. It cannot wait until the child arrives at
age six in the expectation that it can then remedy all defects or
deficiencies of language or social behavior. It follows that the
educational authorities must provide preschool learning opportunities
to the socially disadvantaged so that all, regardless of prior condition
or cultural background, may enter the formal school program on a
basis of optimum opportunity to reach their potential.
While we are primarily concerned with the education of children
and adolescents, we must emphasize the responsibility of the universities
toward primary and secondary education and toward the preparation
of the teachers who will man the classrooms. Accordingly, universities,
in preparing entrance requirements, will have to be cognizant of
the content and philosophy inherent in the curriculum of the primary
and secondary schools. There must be liaison among all levels of
education to facilitate progress and smooth articulation.
The political responsibility for education through a Minister of
Education responsible to the Legislature is well-founded and sound.
But education is essentially a non-political exercise, and although
Ontario has been well served in this area, every precaution must
be taken to ensure the sensitivity of the educational service to
the needs and aspirations of the people. Such assurance could be
provided by the establishment of an autonomous, non-political advisory
body of citizens, representative of the various interests of the
people in Ontario. Education, business, labor, industry, the arts,
and parents would be among the interests and groups represented
in such a council. This body should be charged with keeping educational
policy and practice under review. Such a body should be aware of
the needs and aspirations of the people as well as of any deficiencies
in the system. Reports and recommendations would be made to the
Legislature as circumstances and times demanded.
Needs and aspirations change, and this is especially true of our
time. The condition of dynamic economic and cultural growth in which
we now find ourselves demands that educational policy and practice
be the result of expert long-term and short-term forecasts. A co-ordinated,
systematic approach to the identification of society's goals and
the planning for their attainment is a prerequisite to the sound
performance of educational service in Ontario.
Very many other and important changes and innovations require consideration.
The lock-step structure of past times must give way to a system
in which the child will progress from year to year throughout the
school system without the hazards and frustrations of failure. His
natural curiosity and initiative must be recognized and developed.
New methods of assessment and promotion must be devised. Counselling
by competent persons should be an integral part of the educational
process. The atmosphere within the class room must be positive and
encouraging. The fixed positions of pupil and teacher, the insistence
on silence, and the punitive approach must give way to a more relaxed
teacher-pupil relationship which will encourage discussion, inquiry,
and experimentation, and enhance the dignity of the individual.
The curriculum must provide a greater array of learning experiences
than heretofore. Classes must be more mobile, within and beyond
the local environment, and the rigid position of education must
yield to a flexibility capable of meeting new needs. These and other
innovations will be aimed at developing in the child a sense of
personal achievement and responsibility commensurate with his age
and ability, to the end that going to school will be a pleasant
growing experience, and that as he enters and passes through adolescence
he will do so without any sudden or traumatic change and without
a sense of alienation from society.
Coincident with the learning experience the school must be aware
of the health and emotional needs of pupils. Accordingly, health
services, including psychiatric assessment and counselling, must
become an integral element of the school program. Qualified personnel
should be called upon as resource people by teachers when the interest
or need arises in such matters as family and community relationships;
physical and emotional growth; sexual ethics; and the dangers of
excessive smoking, alcoholism, and drug addiction; and other areas
of concern, so that young children as well as adolescents will develop
a well-rounded understanding of those conditions and practices which
go into the making of a responsible and healthy adult.
No school which ignores the importance of recreational pursuits
and physical development can meet the needs of today's pupils. Accordingly,
the curriculum must recognize such areas as important aspects of
the learning experience. Such recognition, however, should emphasize
the aesthetic, social, and physical rewards of such experience rather
than team engagement and spectator participation.
A whole new field of exciting educational aids and facilities is
becoming available for our use. Educational television is currently
the most spectacular of these but the media may be as old as the
cave drawings or as new as computer-assisted instruction. Educators
ought to employ every conceivable device and means that society
can make available. But a word of caution is in order. The majority
of audio-visual aids that the Committee has seen in use have been
employed in a narrow, didactic manner and with groups of children
all presumed to be learning the same thing at the same time. Our
perception of how learning takes place, and of the kind of teaching
that facilitates the process, requires that the teacher understand
the use of a variety of techniques in the interests of every child.
Information contained on film, records, and tape, and in pictures
and books must be accessible to each child when he needs it. The
technology to make this a reality is feasible; the dangers of thought
control, passivity, and a stultifying uniformity are too grave to
permit indiscriminate use of films and educational television.
Further, educational television generally should not attempt to
serve the whole province with identical programs. The principle
of local participation in the conduct of education can be seriously
jeopardized through centrally disseminated programming, created
by a limited number of individuals, however able and well-intentioned.
At the very least, a pattern of regional centres for the involvement
of teachers and the adapting or production of programs to meet local
needs is necessary.
With an enlightened attitude toward what can be accomplished in
an enriched school program by an intelligent use of the many resources
that are available, more effective use can be made of student time.
It seems reasonable to conclude that the academic maturity required
for post-secondary education can be achieved by the time the student
has completed kindergarten and 12 years of schooling. Grade 13 should
be phased out, as recommended by the Ontario Legislature's Select
Committee on Youth.
This would seem advisable, not only because throughout most of
Canada public education consists of kindergarten plus 12 years,
but also because present-day attitudes toward school programs and
learning indicate that 12 years after the kindergarten year should
be sufficient to prepare students adequately for university, community
colleges, or other post-secondary types of education. A year thus
saved at this time in one's life can be very important.
The time has come when all children throughout the province should
have access to kindergarten. Although we are not suggesting that
children be introduced to a formal teaching program at age five,
we recognize that children today are ready for organized learning
experience in a social setting which stimulates their sensory and
language awareness at this age.
Although at the moment we may not be ready to extend the compulsory
school age beyond 16, the subject is becoming relevant and the time
for so doing is coming close. Studies should be undertaken and plans
made so that when the province is ready for this advance, it may
be accomplished in an orderly and fruitful way.
Today's Indians are descendants of the oldest residents of Canada,
whose traditional cultures have been made increasingly inoperative
in the changing environment of the individual in society and who,
in the historical process of European settlement and development,
have not acquired the technological, economic, and political skills
necessary to share in the affluent society. At the same time they
have suffered severe damage to their collective existence and cultural
personality. Accordingly, changes and additions in the educational
programs and structures of Ontario will be required, having a two-fold
objective: to make it possible for the majority of Indians, young
and old, to become self-supporting and participating citizens in
our present-day society, and to identify themselves as a respectable
and valid cultural entity within the fabric of the Canadian community.
The purpose or aim is not to bring about an all-out assimilation,
but to facilitate a successful and rewarding economic, social, and
cultural integration of both individuals and communities of Indian
Though it is true that the official aims and objectives of public
education in Ontario are valid for people of Indian ancestry as
well as for other citizens, the failure of the present programs
and structures in helping the majority of Indian people achieve
these objectives makes it necessary to redefine them. Accordingly,
educational services for Indians on reservations in Ontario should
be entrusted to the Province, and the services provided for them
should be of a quality equal to those enjoyed by other Ontario children.
The Federal Department of Indian Affairs should continue to be responsible
for the cost, reimbursing the Province for outlays in this field.
Many departments of government and community agencies share responsibilities
related to the welfare and education of young people, and while
their various interests have degrees of independent action, their
underlying purpose has a commonality that should be recognized.
Since the needs and interests of the young can be met best through
co-operative effort, it follows that the task of co-ordinating the
functions of the various bodies is of prime importance.
We cannot overlook the important subject of school premises and
school architecture. School buildings must be more flexible and
functional in design. Flexibility and design will have an important
effect on educational efficiency in the future and will require
careful planning to fit the needs of the new approach to education.
This will include the number and location of schools, the provision
of nursery schools, the transportation of pupils, and many other
The 'new look' in education will require a new look at school construction
as well as provision for the sharing and integration of services
as measures of economy and efficiency. Town planning and urban redevelopment
must give due emphasis and priority to school sites and community
There are, as the foregoing points up, many facets to the educational
endeavor. Although priorities exist, it cannot be said that any
one theme or phase dominates the field or takes precedence over
the others. All are of vital importance in their respective areas.
They must all co-exist if Ontario is to provide the educational
system and program it can and must have for the second century of
But having said this, it must be accepted that regardless of all
else, no educational system will accomplish what it is designed
to do without an adequate supply of highly competent and dedicated
teachers. Now that the Ontario teacher is achieving a measure of
economic justice and a degree of professional status, we must turn
our attention to providing more highly qualified and university
prepared teachers. Our recommendations in this field are directed
to attaining that objective.
A final word on this aspect of the report. A skilled and inspired
teacher can work wonders with any curriculum in almost any circumstances.
Some teachers can do little even with the best of learning programs;
but the great majority of teachers will be helped immensely by a
good curriculum designed to meet the needs of the time.
Thus the good teacher and the good curriculum are equally essential.
Given an increased measure of professional freedom, supported by
all the aids and organizational arrangements available, and inspired
by a philosophy which puts foremost the needs and dignity of the
child, our teachers will provide the education we envisage, and
achieve the results we confidently foresee from the implementation
of our views and recommendations.
Ours has been a pleasant, if prolonged, task. To have had the opportunity
as citizens to participate in the planning of education for the
children of Ontario is a unique privilege for which we must express
our thanks to the Minister of Education, the Honourable William
G. Davis. There are few areas in the complex of human activities
more rewarding than working for and with young people. Reviews such
as we have tried to make must be done again as time passes, for
education can never rest on its laurels. There will be goals and
objectives seemingly beyond reach at all times; other groups and
committees will, we trust, reach upward and outward toward the ever
elusive perfect system, bettering the lot of all children as they
work to ward the ultimate goal of equal opportunity for all through
The Search for Truth in a Democratic Society
If the loftiest ideals of truth can be sought only in a free society,
then it is exceedingly important that education, the formal cradle
of truth-seekers, reflect an awareness of those factors in our society
which can throttle the free flow of individual thought and action.
Democracy implies the freedom to think, to dissent, and to bring
about change in a lawful manner in the interest of all. It is a
flexible, responsive form of government, difficult to describe in
fixed terms. Democracy does not arise as a result of imposed or
structured political practices, but as a dynamic, liberating force,
nurtured by the people themselves. It can thrive and flourish only
when its citizens are free to search continually for new ideas,
models, and theories to replace outmoded knowledge in an effort
to serve an ever-increasing populace tomorrow. A true democracy
is a free and responsible society, and one aspect cannot exist or
have meaning without the other.
To ensure its continuity, a free society must develop and promote
opportunities for science, philosophy, the humanities, and the fine
arts to flourish side by side, strengthening and complementing each
other in the search for truth. All aspects of learning must be given
support, for great ideas are not the exclusive property of an intellectual
elite. They can permeate the atmosphere of a free society, and can
be grasped and acted upon by great numbers of people. What happens
at the universities has significance for primary education, and
the reverse is also true. Excellence in quality and humaneness of
approach affect everyone in the society.
The climate of acceptance in which a child in kindergarten can
ask a question springs from the same sources which make it possible
for the scientist and the poet to make imaginative leaps. When mature
philosophers and artists are muzzled in their forms of expression,
we can expect that the child in nursery school will be inhibited
in the free expression of his play activities. Freedom to search
for truth at every educational level is one of the stoutest ramparts
of a free society, and this defence we must never yield if we are
to protect our way of life.
Georges-Henri Lévesque pointed out, more than a decade ago,
that scientists, intellectuals, and artists have responsibility
to extend their knowledge and special talents into social action,
by entering, in their own way, the struggle for truth and justice.
More recently, John Kenneth Galbraith, also a Canadian by birth,
has forcefully written, "No intellectual, no artist, no educator,
no scientist can allow himself the convenience of doubting his responsibility.
For the goals that are now important, there are no other saviors-
the individual member of the educational and scientific estate may
wish to avoid responsibility; but he cannot justify it by the claim
of higher commitment." Commitment to preserving a free society
is of the highest order.
The heart of the problem of providing a general education in a
democratic society is to ensure the continuance of the liberal and
humane tradition. This is far more basic to our society than the
worship of intellectual pursuits and scientific endeavors for their
own sake. It must be recognized that the nourishment of such a precious
commodity as freedom requires that the educational process, if it
is not to fall short of the ideal, include at each level of growth
and development some continuing experience in making value judgments.
Whitehead, the great British philosopher, has said that all students
must have before them the "habitual vision of greatness."
Unless they feel the import of the ideas and aspirations which have
been a deep and moving force in the lives of great men, students
run the risk of inspirational blindness.
What is new, exciting, and thought-provoking in our era is that
what was once the privilege of an elite has now become the right
of a multitude. How to provide learning experiences aiming at a
thousand different destinies and at the same time to educate toward
a common heritage and common citizenship, is the basic challenge
to our society. Thus democracy must not only provide an opportunity
for the able; it must seek to provide betterment for the less endowed,
both by immediate improvement which can be gained in a generation,
and by the slow surge of advancement which works through several
generations. The gifted and talented should not be allowed to become
undernourished by mediocre aspirations, and the slow learners and
handicapped should not be stigmatized as failures. Each human being
is deserving of respect, identity, and the right to develop toward
the fulfilment of his unique potential. In the democratic society
all men are of equal importance, and none is expendable.
In a democratic society, it is not the task of education to stress
the thousand influences and labels dividing man from man, but to
establish the necessary bonds and common ground between them. The
great art of education lies in providing learning experiences which
meet the needs of each, and which at the same time foster that feeling
of compassion among human beings which is the greatest strength
and bulwark of democracy.
Those procedures in an educational system which encircle and differentiate
groups of children and adolescents and create chasms between them
can nurture seeds of misunderstanding, discontent, and class distinctions.
Even within schools, insurmountable walls and psycho logical barriers
can be built between children of different potentials; this, in
actuality, creates schools within schools, divides students from
students, and seals them off from one another.
The beacon to guide the truth-seekers of tomorrow is dependent
for its fuel upon the freedom exercised by society today. We cannot
afford to lose our great and vital heritage through default, ennui,
or lack of commitment. A free society cannot be taken for granted,
and truth and freedom must be guarded as precious treasures. Each
of us has the right to enjoy them. More than that, we have the obligation
to protect them, and we each must have the courage to accept and
embrace the responsibilities that they hold out to us each day.
The Cultural Environment
The child is an integral part of his society, and his school is
one of its major institutions. To attempt to educate without some
awareness of the nature of society and its cultural values would
be totally unrealistic. There are various societal and cultural
factors which influence the climate in which the education of Ontario's
children takes place. They include the land and its people-their
labor force, their political, religious and aesthetic values, their
national ideology-and the changes in society which have either taken
place recently or seem to be emerging. And although these factors
arise in the adult world, they inevitably impinge upon the world
of the child. They set the tone of educational philosophy and dictate
its practice. More directly, they provide the stage for the day-to-day
living that the young experience.
This section of the report is not intended as a sociological analysis
of the Ontario community. Its sole purpose is to provide a general
view of the social scene, noting those conditions that seem to be
most closely related to education and the lives of young people.
Naturally, such an observation is limited, not only by lack of depth,
but also by the fact that the observers are themselves a product
of a period already past, and can scarcely describe conditions yet
to emerge for the child. Despite our uncertainty, however, we must
attempt to capture the spirit of the times. The fact that history
may prove us wrong should not prevent us from planning on the basis
of what we are and what history shows that we have been.
The Canadian identity
Physically, Canada presents a dramatic picture to the world. Second
only to Russia in her immensity, she occupies almost half of the
North American continent. Stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific,
and from the Arctic tundra to the verdant Niagara Peninsula, she
offers a topographical diversity far greater than most countries
of the world. Her caprices and contrasts of climate match in variety
her range of resources, and the whole provides the physical environment
for the Canadian identity.
But more important than the land are the Canadians who bend her
to their will; who seed her; who tunnel for her riches; who build
upon her, and who, in establishing their centres of population,
do so in a ribbon of settlement that stretches along her southern
border from the Atlantic Provinces to the Pacific. It is in the
soul of the people that the Canadian identity can be found; and
despite frequent self-evaluation, sometimes positive though muted,
and frequently negative and banal, Canadians sense an identity that
is not rooted in Britain, France, or America, but in themselves
and their own land.
But there are a significant number of Canadians who are disturbed
about the way in which the country is maturing. One matter about
which they are disturbed is the economic and cultural dependence
on foreign countries, particularly the United States, that present
Canadian circumstances reflect. They document the extent to which
Canada has surrendered independence. They recognize that the 'one
world' concept demands some surrender of national sovereignty. At
the same time, however, they believe that the nation which cannot
control its economic resources cannot control its national destiny
or its culture, and that of all the economically advanced nations,
Canada is the one with the largest proportion of its industry and
resources controlled from outside its borders.
Thus one of the major problems posed for Canada is how to preserve
the vision of national development that the Fathers of Confederation
had, and, at the same time, accommodate herself to her dependence
on, or inter dependence with, other countries.
Unity in diversity
But if deep within the Canadian this sense of country exists, at
another level Canada is a divided country. In addressing Canada's
Houses of Parliament on July 4, 1967, Her Majesty the Queen saw
Canada's power and authority as being derived from internal national
unity; but her former representative in Canada, the late Governor
General Georges P. Vanier, found it necessary to say shortly before
his death that he wished to be known abroad and at home as a Canadian,
not merely as a citizen of one of Canada's provinces. This statement
suggests that, for some at least, a national, as opposed to a provincial,
identity has not yet emerged.
Canadians seem to feel a certain uncertainty about their national
unity-as if they are staunchly saying on the one hand that they
are a united people and on the other that they have their doubts.
It is for this reason that slogans such as 'unity in diversity'
and 'the bifurcation of Canadian culture' are used to describe the
national and cultural identity of Canada.
Central to the Canadian fact are the roles of the English and French
peoples in the founding of the nation; and their position in the
bicultural social complex of Canada cannot be challenged. But a
new issue arises, namely, the role of the immigrant in Canadian
society. This issue has significant implications.
It may be argued that immigrants come to Canada seeking those benefits
for which immigrants have al ways left their native land: freedom
from religious and political persecution, opportunity for social
and economic advancement, and adventure. But immigrants have done
more than just collect these awards from Canada. They have made
vast contributions to the development of a Canadian culture. It
is not without significance that displays by various ethnic groups
figured prominently in the centennial celebrations, and that much
of the current literature that seeks to entice tourists to Canada
draws attention to the international flavor that several of the
larger urban centres have begun to manifest.
It would seem, then, that there should be a reassessment of the
contribution which people from different cultural backgrounds are
making and can make to an emerging Canadian culture. Given the dominant
position of the English and the French bases, where must the immigrant
whose background is neither British nor French fit, and how can
he use his cultural background to contribute to the Canadian whole?
The subject is important because, as researchers at the Dominion
Bureau of Statistics indicate, the 'other European' group in the
population is increasing rapidly. Furthermore, the more liberal
immigration laws will produce a steadier flow of non-whites from
many parts of the world. Significantly, too, with better health
care resulting in reduced infant mortality, the Canadian Indian
population will grow rapidly in the next few decades. For a long
time, all these groups may make up only a small percentage of the
population, but as far as numbers and patterns of settlement are
concerned, they will form significant 'enclaves,' particularly in
the urban centres.
If the increase of the 'other European' and the 'non European'
categories in the population is not accidental but a marked sociological
trend, one wonders if now is the time to think not of Canadian biculturalism
but of Canadian multiculturalism.
The world of work
While the educational aims of a society may be formulated in terms
of noble ideals such as the respect and understanding of all mankind,
the self-realization of the individual, and a national identity,
achieving such aims can mean little unless the individual finds
himself in a position to make a living adequate to meet his needs.
Thus there is an interplay between the world of work and the world
of learning, and educational planners must take these factors into
Since 1900 there has been a persistent shift of the Canadian population
from the farm to urban centres where the emphasis is on secondary
industries, such as manufacturing and service occupations. In 1940,
40 per cent of the labor force worked on the farms; today this figure
is reduced to 10 per cent.
With the increase of the urban population has come expansion in
areas such as commerce, finance, and transportation, and in services
such as welfare, recreation, and entertainment. The rapid development
of computer science has brought into existence a new set of occupations
such as programming and systems analysis. Furthermore, upon almost
any given occupational activity, a massive and still growing bureaucratic
structure has settled. Thus, schools are being asked to devote less
of their time to developing traditional skills and more to developing
skills related to these new structures and activities.
While the overall proportion of the labor force with respect to
the population of working age has not changed significantly for
almost half a century, the composition of this work force has. For
one thing, the age for leaving school is rising, and at the university
level an increasing number of people are going on to further studies.
For another, men are retiring earlier; nationally, in 1951, 60 per
cent of them were working after 65 years of age, while today the
figure is 30 per cent. The trend suggests that in the future the
number will be further reduced.
Our society is one in which income and formal education are closely
related. In Canada, four- and five-year high school graduates earn
about one-and-a-half times as much as those who have only an elementary
school education, and university graduates earn almost twice as
much as the former and three times as much as the latter. Furthermore,
the average income of workers in jobs demanding a high educational
attainment increases more rapidly than that of less educated workers.
Since a man exchanges his labor for an income with which to purchase
the goods and services which the rest of society produces, and since,
as research has shown, his income is closely related to the amount
of formal education he has received, the world of education and
the world of work cannot function totally in dependent of each other.
But a new world is rapidly demanding the attention of education.
As Professor John R. Seeley put it at the Minister's Conference
on Recreation in Toronto, 1966, "For the first time for all
men, time may be not time to be put in, or passed, or served as
a sentence, but time largely for living, time as the priceless medium
of life, not the clock-chopped master and monitor of the joy less
round of 'active' days. For the first time for all men, leisure-not
momentary respite for recovery for another senseless bout with man
or nature-leisure, appears: leisure, literally, 'the time of permission',
the time which gives leave. Leave for what? Leave to be. Leave to
become. Leave to do. But be, become, do what?" This question
is, quite properly, put to educators, and failure to respond would
be to shirk a growing responsibility in a land which offers its
people increased release from the traditional world of work.
But, a danger lurks in the shadows. Unless a people is on its guard,
the economic demands of society can be made to determine what is
done in education. The society whose educational system gives priority
to the economic over the spiritual and emotional needs of man defines
its citizens in terms of economic units and in so doing debases
them. There is a dignity and nobility of man that has nothing to
do with economic considerations. The development of this dignity
and nobility is one of education's tasks.
A place to grow
As the second largest province of the second largest country in
the world, Ontario reflects the vastness of Canada. Attempting to
cope with all this space are some seven million people-less than
the population of London, England-and almost one third of them live
in Metropolitan Toronto. If the people of Ontario fail to dream
vast dreams it is not because of the land, whose sweep of territory
Morley Callaghan has called imperial. Much of what is said about
Canada and its national duality applies to Ontario, one of whose
major cultural goals was to preserve its British heritage in much
the way that Quebec's was to preserve French thought and culture.
But over the years Ontario has become the mecca of immigrants, so
that if a multicultural society is to develop in Canada this province
has a leading role to play in that regard.
A pattern of homogeneous settling is found within the province;
for example, the people of British stock form between 74 and 80
per cent of the population of counties in the Lake Ontario region;
the French range from 49 per cent in Stormont to 84 per cent in
Prescott. The Dutch congregate around Dundas and Prince Edward county,
the Germans in the upper Grand River, and the Italians, Negroes
and Asiatics in the larger urban centres such as Toronto, Hamilton,
and Windsor. Even within the cities there is evidence of this demographic
This ethnic concentration is interesting because if each of these
groups settles in its 'strip,' then the possibility of sharing its
cultural values with fellow Canadians of other cultures is reduced.
Furthermore, as far as education is concerned, the problem arises
of whether the school, functioning according to the norm as a middle-class
institution- predominantly British in heritage- should ignore the
cultural values which the students' homes reflect, or capitalize
on them by adapting and incorporating them for their program.
In a broadcast drawing attention to Ontario Day at Expo 67, Premier
Robarts emphasized the multicultural nature of Ontario's society
as being the province's contribution to the Canadian fact. Ontario
needs to be on its guard lest it miss this chance of developing
a society that is truly multicultural.
Religion and moral values
Judged by the denominational groups with which the population is
reported to affiliate, Ontario is a religious province. According
to the 1961 census, only one out of every 30 persons does not belong
to one of some 21 religious denominations or sects found in Canada.
But statistics do not indicate the real religious commitment of
the population. While data may not be available, there is evidence
that Ontario is caught in the severe dislocation of values that
accompanies today's social and technological changes. The existence
and effectiveness of God are openly and widely challenged: the changing
standards of sexual morality, the position of the church on birth
control, its involvement in issues of social justice-the raising
of all of these issues indicates that people in Ontario are questioning
many basic religious beliefs.
Yet the church continues to play an important part in non-religious
affairs of the province, among them education. Some researchers
have detected a link with political behavior also. In education,
despite the existence of a strong non-sectarian educational system,
the status of religious education in the schools is still a vital
issue. In an age of vague an d perpetually shifting moral values,
there are many parents who desire some sort of religious underpinning
to their child's education, and they do not agree that the non-sectarian
school is equal to the task.
Related to the question of religion is that of changing patterns
of morality, particularly in the areas of sensual and sexual freedom.
Our youth are evincing a desire to experience things more through
the senses, and this desire manifests itself in several new patterns
of behavior-not the least of which are the use of psychedelic drugs,
earlier and more gregarious sexual experience, more noise, more
color, more movement, creating a brash, vibrant, kaleidoscopic,
In his 'Memorandum on Youth' Erik H. Erikson writes: "Young
people of a questioning bent have always [questioned the relevance
of traditional modes of conduct and values]. But more than any young
generation before and with less reliance on meaningful choice of
traditional world images, the youth of today is forced to ask what
is universally relevant in human life in this technological age
at this junction of history. Even some of the most faddish, neurotic,
delinquent preoccupation with 'their' lives is a symptom of this
fact." He draws attention to their scepticism of authority,
their anti-institutionalism, and what he calls their 'desacralization
of life.' This last is reflected in their attitude that there are
no experiences which the individual should be forbidden to have-"All
experience is permissible and even desirable" There is merit
in noting two of Erikson's observations: a) In their search for
pleasure the young experience relatively little relaxed joy; and
the pursuit of 'relevant' experience has become a 'compulsive and
addictive' one. b) Instead of condemning the younger generation
as hedonistic, anti-institutional, and desacralizing, and instead
of assuming that the new technology dislocates and disorients our
youth, we may very well assume that "masses of young people
feel attuned, both by giftedness and opportunity, to the technological
and scientific promises of indefinite progress."
The problem of youth and their sub-culture which has clearly emerged
grows insistent in a country such as Canada where some 50 per cent
of the population is 25 years of age and under.
Society and education
Since educational policy reflects social policy, people involved
in education have to examine continually the community in which
the educational institutions function. The purpose of the first
part of this chapter was to draw attention to a number of features
of Canadian society which bear on education in Ontario. We trace
now only a few of their educational implications.
Let us consider first the issue of national ideology, which reflects
the dreams and hopes of the nation. There is no question that the
boys and girls who pass through our schools should graduate with
a sensitivity to the common humanity which they share with other
people in other parts of the world. But one of the major demands
of our time is a sense of commitment to aims, objectives, and purposes
either centred in the self or found beyond the individual. Commitment
brings meaning into one's existence.
The question arises then: Can our students develop, at their age,
a commitment to such broad concepts as mankind and a global community;
or is commitment to be developed first in terms of one's compatriots?
Some people would argue that in preferring the second point of
view one would tend to develop a narrow nationalism. But the former
can lead to a fragmented unrelatedness as the individual finds himself
at a loss to determine what constitutes this 'world' citizen with
whom to identify.
Several factors influence the child's discovering his identity
as a Canadian; among them are: the bicultural nature of the founding
of the nation; the increasing importance of the many other cultural
strands in the Canadian complex; and the proximity of the country
to a larger and more culturally powerful United States of America.
Educators in Ontario must respond to the national ideology if education
is to be meaningful and, in so doing, find answers to many fundamental
problems such as, for example, the problem of teaching English and
French as second languages, not only for practical purposes but
also as media through which are expressed the historical experiences
and cultural values of a people.
If imaginative solutions are found to the fundamental problems,
then the more specific ones such as the procurement of second-language
teachers, how they should be trained, or what the content of the
courses should be, stand a chance of being solved.
With regard to multiculturalism still more questions arise; for
example, what can be done consciously to prevent many children from
rejecting the positive values of their emigrant homes? Do our schools
succeed in making immigrant children proud or ashamed of their rich
cultural heritage? Do we reap the educational benefits to be gained
from the presence of the immigrant child in our classes? Next to
the family, the school is the most important agency for socializing
the child. In a society which draws its students from various cultural
and ethnic groups, a special and exciting challenge can be found
in the interacting of the youngsters. Their interaction is educative.
Furthermore, not only the student body but the whole school system
should profit from such multiculturalism.
Finally, there is the factor of proximity to the United States.
Two of the major areas which should concern educators are the economic
and the cultural. Not only is a sizeable portion of the Canadian
economy under American influence, but our radio, television, movies,
and popular magazines reflect the predominance of American culture.
If a national- as distinct from a nationalistic - ideology is not
firm, the mass culture and economic resources imported from abroad
will tend to make a cultural and economic colony of Canada. But
how can this influence be offset? While a nationalistic approach
to education and the Canadian way of life is to be deplored, one
cannot help reacting sympathetically to the suggestion that text
materials and related materials should be produced in Canada as
far as possible, without, of course, sacrificing availability or
excellence for Canadianism.
We turn now to community conditions and their relationship to education.
If education is centred in the community and the community concerns
itself with the many significant aspects of the lives of its members,
then educators must take some cognizance of such factors as occupations,
housing, delinquency, health, politics, religion, urbanization,
slum clearance, architecture, and town planning, and respond to
Consider, by way of illustration, the following:
a) Occupation: Research over the past decade has documented
the limitations to educational opportunity that exist for Ontario
children as a result of their being born to working-class instead
of to professional or managerial parents. Porter's well-known study,
The Vertical Mosaic, attempts to explode the myth of the Canadian
middle-class egalitarian image. And not all of our best brains are
at university. It remains a sobering thought that in a country where
education is free throughout elementary and secondary schools, a
significant number of students from working-class homes who are
capable of university studies do not attend these institutions.
b) Urbanization: As stated earlier, Ontario has become
highly urbanized. Slightly less than three-quarters of the population
is urban; and of the rural population only about half lives on farms.
The urban dweller forms part of a very diversified community as
far as such factors as people, jobs, and architecture go; thus there
are more varied sources on which to draw for education. At the same
time, however, greater strains for living are imposed; for instance,
the school that serves children from a wide range of social and
economic levels is likely to have a greater problem meeting their
needs than the school in which the students come from the same socio-economic
Urban living offers a number of advantages: good streets, libraries,
theatres, museums - but it increases the dependence of people, who
rely on others to solve many problems which they handled themselves
when living was less urbanized. To be efficient, the city demands
a great deal of standardization: houses in standard plans and colors,
entertainment in standard programs and schedules - and standardization
removes those marks of individuality that make people persons. Standardization
leads quickly and directly to depersonalization. If students cry
out against the impersonality and standardization of the school,
it may be due in great measure to the fact that the school reflects
the wider standardized and depersonalized culture of the city.
c) Rural living: If the urban complex has the power to attract,
so too has the country. It too can offer a rich rewarding life.
It too has had its successes; for from farms and other rural communities
of Ontario have come men who have made not only this province but
this nation's great. Families that have lived from one generation
to another in rural communities, and urban dwellers who weekly migrate
in thousands to cottage, lake, and ski slope attest to the strength
of the call of the country.
By the same token, if the urbanization of our society poses problems,
the situation of rural communities is of no less critical importance.
Rural poverty is as debilitating as urban poverty. If the ghettos
of the city hinder the growth of young Ontarians, the rural community,
cut off from the bubble and excitement of ideas that the city produces
can, unless care is taken, become the intellectually disadvantaged
section of the province - to the impairment of all.
There are rural communities in Ontario where the academic program
cannot be surpassed by many urban communities; yet there is inadequate
opportunity for the graduating students. In one such community where,
for example, the French language program in the lower grades is
as good as that in urban schools, several senior students said that,
because of the lack of opportunity, they would not return home after
graduating from universities in the cities. Communities in rural
Ontario must be made stimulating centres for permanent living; and
the rural citizen must be educated in such a way that, like his
urban fellow, he becomes a person of this century.
A community provides for competing factions and for handling conflict
when it develops within and among groups. There can be no society
without conflict, for the simple reason that the values according
to which a society functions or the interests that spark its endeavors
flow in many different directions. Life contends with death, pleasure
with pain, duty with freedom, and the social good with individual
Men can meet with their social conflicts in one of two ways; they
can hide behind platitudes and illusions, or they can devise the
machinery that seems likely to resolve the conflict, bearing in
mind that once the issue is solved a new one will arise to engage
Men fear conflict when they do not know how to handle it. As society
becomes more pluralistic and more diverse, the possibility of conflict
is heightened. If there is one incontrovertible feature of our society
in Ontario it is its diversity, hence its susceptibility to conflict.
Ontario has a number of institutions to cope with conflict. They
include those in the political arena, such as the Legislature and
the system of political parties; those in the occupational arena
to handle relations between employer and employee; those in the
marketing arena concerned with the problems of producer and consumer;
and those in what may be broadly called the arena of justice, of
which the courts of law and the Commission on Human Rights serve
The power of these agencies varies; some can propose changes and
have them implemented; others can make recommendations; still others
can only influence by marshalling public opinion. Regardless of
what they have the power to do, the important thing is that ours
is a society in which the machinery exists for the individual, either
alone or in association with fellow citizens, to give expression
to his legitimate needs and demands. Unfortunately, too many individuals
are encouraged to give over their individual power to huge, impersonal,
The role of the school
In the expressing of needs and demands, a special function devolves
upon the school, namely, to make the student aware of the customs
and procedures which have developed through long periods of trial
and error; to acquaint him with the institutions and organizations
through which these flow, to make him knowledgeable of the values
for which his predecessors fought, and that determine the common
purpose; and to give him experience in making decisions that touch
on his and his society's destiny.
The school has a further responsibility, less profound but perhaps
more specific. It must be constantly aware of those societal conditions
that have a direct influence upon the welfare of its students. The
adult community cannot escape the fact that it provides the milieu
in which its youth develops, and so must accept the responsibility
of influence. If the community's value system is contradictory,
it may expect confusion in the young. If it lacks commitment, it
can hardly hope for more in youth. If it is inclined to discard
a nobility of purpose in favor of indiscriminate gain, it may expect
a similar inclination in the adults of its future.
Our present industrialized society has made great strides. Greater
mobility, more leisure time, increased communications, and greater
buying power have all added to the personal comfort of Ontario people.
But these same advances pose important problems for young people.
It is the school's great task to identify these problems and help
its students to engage them actively.
There is a restless search for truth among our young people that
leads them to struggle for values rather than power, and the widening
gap between the generations leads to a rejection of past values.
They express a growing concern about worldly problems, and show
a desire to share in the decisions of the community. The impact
of communications media and fashion, the sexual revolution, and
the looming threat of annihilation are all issues which involve
Ontario youth. Failure to recognize them as vital areas in planning
educational experience is to abandon the responsibility that society,
by its nature, places upon the school.
We cannot build a society by looking solely to the past - to the
record of what our history has shown us to be; for at any juncture
in our history both past and future press equally upon us. Characteristic
of our thinking today is our belief in the permanence of change.
While in Ontario we do not attempt to 'escape' our history, we look
to the future, realizing that, as Heraclitus said, "Life is
perpetual motion and repose is death."
In Ontario and the rest of the country we can predict and plan
only for the near future. The changes which have occurred so far
have been sufficiently dramatic and extensive to convince us that
we can only speculate on the nature of things by the time graduates
of our schools cross the threshold into the twenty-first century.
Like the men who make the initial landing on the moon, our children
must be thoroughly prepared for a destination whose features no
one knows at first hand. But this is not the first time that man
has found himself in this position. The world presented as significant
a challenge for the age of Columbus as it does for us half a millennium
later. The achievements of the past are there to orient our youth;
the vision, the speculation and the prediction for the future are
there to challenge and excite their minds; it becomes a function
of the school to provide that orientation and foster that excitement.
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