Post your response to Class #7 reading to this blog (click on “Leave a Comment” link below).
[You might also be interested in this interview with Murray Corren a BC teacher and activist whose work resulted in, among other things, the Social Justice 12 course in BC social studies curriculum. See also: Queering the Social Studies: Lessons to be learned from Canadian secondary school Gay-Straight Alliances]
Class #7 – Gender, Sexuality, the Body & Social Studies Curriculum
Sensoy, O. (2014). Beyond fearing the savage: Responding to Islamophobia in the classroom. In E. W. Ross (Ed.). The social studies curriculum: Purposes, problems, and possibilities (4th Ed., pp. 289-312). Albany: State University of New York Press. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/CJtiic
Nelson, J. L., & Pang, V. O. (2014). Prejudice, racism, and the social studies curriculum. In E. W. Ross (Ed.). The social studies curriculum: Purposes, problems, and possibilities (4th Ed., pp. 203-225). Albany: State University of New York Press. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/CJtiic
Assignments due: Response to reading on course blog
Canadians tend to prefer democracy over other systems of government, but nearly half aren’t happy with the way theirs is working, new survey data from Simon Fraser University suggests.
The national survey was led by SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue and was intended to measure Canadians’ views of and commitment to democracy. Scattered among the results were indications that Canadians may be vulnerable to populist messaging.
For Daniel Savas, the lead researcher on the centre’s Strengthening Canadian Democracy initiative and a professor at SFU, some of the big findings brought to mind Winston Churchill’s take that “democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms.”
While 77 per cent of respondents rejected rule by a strong leader and 91 per cent rejected rule by the military, many Canadians gave answers that suggested they felt disconnected from their democracy.
About 44 per cent of Canadians aren’t entirely convinced that voting gives them a say on how the country is run, and 56 per cent believe they can’t influence the government, according to the results. Meanwhile, 68 per cent believe elected officials don’t care what ordinary people think, and 61 per cent feel their interests are ignored in favour of the establishment.
To put the findings simply, “we’re not completely convinced that it’s working to its potential,” Savas said, speaking of our democracy. “I think that’s really not optimal at this point in time.”
Nearly 80 per cent of respondents said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who stood up for common people against the elite, one of a few results that suggested populists may appeal to many Canadians. But Savas did caution that populism itself isn’t “an ugly word.”
“It’s the anti-democratic form of populism where it starts undermining democratic values and principles that is the issue,” he said.
“I think that there’s this sense that if we don’t pay attention, if we start getting a little too complacent and we don’t pay attention to how invested Canadians are with respect to participating in the democratic process and what they get out of it … there’s a risk that people may fall over into the anti-democratic populist camp and start supporting things like a really strong nationalist view,” Savas said.
Savas said the results showed “an undercurrent of scapegoating minorities.” About a quarter of respondents said Canada has “too much” protection of minority rights, and about a third said Canadians born here should have a greater say in what the government does than those who came from another country before becoming citizens. Savas said he believed the undercurrent could strengthen if it wasn’t countered.
British Columbians are among the most democratically active Canadians, tending to attend public consultation meetings, volunteer, post comments online, sign petitions or answer government surveys more than others across the country, according to the findings.
Anglophones are more likely to participate in democratic activities than francophones, as are Canadians who hold a post-secondary degree, and those who believe their salary and household incomes are sufficient, the survey showed. While First Nations are among the most active people in the country when it comes to democratic activities, Canadians who identify as LGBTQS+ are most likely to believe there are too few opportunities for political participation.
Those who feel voting doesn’t matter or that they can’t influence government are less likely to prefer democracy over other forms of government, according to the findings.
Savas said the survey data was a signal to Canadians to consider the state of democracy and whether they should be concerned. It’s also a call for governments, political parties and government officials to reflect, he said.
“There’s definitely signals in here that are a call to action to do things to get more Canadians involved in a legitimate way so that they feel more engaged in political processes,” he said.
The survey sampled 3,500 Canadians and ran from July 5 to 15. The margin of error is plus or minus 1.7 per cent.
Class #5 – Indigenous Peoples, Worldviews & Social Studies Curriculum
(A) Four Arrows. (2014). Native studies, praxis, and the public good. In E. W. Ross (Ed.). The social studies curriculum: Purposes, problems, and possibilities (4th Ed., pp. 161-180). Albany: State University of New York Press. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/CJtiic
(B) Barman, J. (1995). Schooled for inequality: The education of British Columbia Aboriginal children. In J. Barman, N. Sutherland, & J. D. Wilson (Eds.), Children, teachers and schools in the history of British Columbia (pp. 57-80). Calgary: Detselig. Retrieved from http://blogs.ubc.ca/ssed317/files/2014/09/barman_001.pdf