Educational Studies (EDST) 647

Critical Multicultural Education In Canada (Revision 1)

EDST 647 Course Cover

Delivery Mode: Grouped study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Interdisciplinary Studies

Prerequisite: None

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Program: Master of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies

**Note: Students in Group Study courses are advised that this syllabus may vary in key details in each instance of the course. Always refer to the Moodle site for the most up-to-date details on texts, assignment structure, and grading.**


EDST 647 Critical Multicultural Education In Canada involves an extensive critique of Canada’s multicultural policy, which has been in place since 1971, and which most Canadians accept as de facto evidence for acceptance of wide-ranging differences and diversity in relation to race, ethnicity, and culture:

3. (1) It is hereby declared to be the policy of the Government of Canada to (a) recognize and promote the understanding that multiculturalism reflects the cultural and racial diversity of Canadian society and acknowledges the freedom of all members of Canadian society to preserve, enhance and share their cultural heritage.
(Canadian Multiculturalism Act, cited in Bissoondath, 2002, p. 36).

However, as the course evolves from a critique of multicultural education to an examination of anti-racist education, we will see that this acceptance is highly questionable. People—particularly racialized groups—are devalued at various levels of education and positions in society. Furthermore, we will see that multiculturalism and multicultural education are actually a product of a particular Western worldview, which is accepted uncritically by most Canadians and others in the international community. However, it will become apparent that in order to achieve long-term peaceable co-existence on a global scale, this ideology must be transformed and reworked.

Students will have the opportunity to review a variety of pieces of literature and personal narratives, as well as respond to information and activities in an experiential way. Each student will have the opportunity to lead a class discussion on the website, as well as complete a course project concerning future directions.

Course Objectives

EDST 647 provides students with the opportunity:

  1. to comprehend the limitations of Canadian complacency, regarding the success of our multicultural policy as a panacea for addressing anti-racism
  2. to expand our understanding of multicultural policy as an ideology that is based on the white Anglo-Saxon standard
  3. to understand that whiteness provides racial invisibility and political, economic, and social power at the expense of the non-white, non-dominant groups
  4. to encourage respect and appreciation for people and cultures different from the Western norm
  5. to review the social contexts and political locations of specific non-white Canadian groups that have historically—and some currently—suffered from racial/ethnic prejudice and discrimination, which has permanently affected their ability to compete on a level playing field with white Canadians
  6. to extrapolate beyond the “tip of the iceberg” concept of multicultural education, to a more encompassing worldview that values a “peace education” approach
  7. to promote an understanding of the transformation that must take place in Western society and the global context, in order for a more peaceable and ecologically-sound worldview to be embraced
  8. to provide hands-on, experiential, and practically applicable activities that will elucidate and illustrate students’ understanding of course concepts

Student Evaluation

To receive credit for this course, students must participate in the online activities, successfully complete the assignments, and achieve a final mark of at least 60 per cent. Students should be familiar with the Master of Arts — Interdisciplinary Studies grading system. Please note that it is students' responsibility to maintain their program status. Any student who receives a grade of "F" in one course, or a grade of "C" in more than one course, may be required to withdraw from the program.

The following table summarizes the evaluation activities and the credit weights associated with them.

Course Activity Weighting
Student-led Online Discussion 30%
Assignment 1 20%
Assignment 2 30%
Online Participation 20%
Total 100%

Course Materials

All of the materials for this course are online.

Athabasca University Online Materials

Course Home Page: You will find Course Information (including the Assignment File and other pertinent information) at the top of the course home page. You will also find your Study Guide presented unit by unit online. You will find your assignments and links to submit your work to your professor on the course home page.

Athabasca University Library: Students are encouraged to browse the Library's Web site to review the Library collection of journal databases, electronic journals, and digital reference tools:

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, January 6, 2014.