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 mentioned:
* to identify the needs of the child as a person and as a member
That the Committee be empowered to request submissions, receive briefs and hear persons with special knowledge in the matters heretofore mentioned.
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 system.
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
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 Board.
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 Co-ordinating Committee.
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 d'Ottawa.
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 Teachers' Federation.
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 Teachers' Federation.
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. Former nurse.
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 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, or creed.
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 educational progress.
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 neighbor.
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 says:
"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."
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 Ontario today.
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 effect.
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 ancestry.
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 factors.
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 playground facilities.
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 Confederation.
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 education.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 account.
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.
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 pattern.
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.
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, 'go-go' world.
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.
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 them.
Consider, by way of illustration, the following:
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
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 gain.
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 their attention.
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 as examples.
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,
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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