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6a: Gender and Schooling

In your opinion, does the formal and hidden curriculum influence how youth conform to heterosexual norms and stereotypes? Provide examples to support your view.

5b meritocracy

Ideology Assumption #2: Meritocracy—

Many of us grew up with an understanding that everyone has equal opportunity; yet, several of the scholars in this module and others have refuted this claim. Do you think meritocracy is a myth? Comment on whether it is a viable framework for diverse societies. How does the idea of meritocracy relate to the concepts of equality and equity discussed in Module 2?


Idealization that we need to believe to believe in progress of human condition… not actually reality. But people need to believe a fantasy in order to keep moving forward, and not challenge authority or government… governing bodies complicit in this fantasy creation or fantasy continuing… more prevalent in the US.

quotes on p 64 to back this up re: constraints of bootstraping theory limited to those of most privelege.

This quote stands out “unfettered meritocracy and its ideology of rugged individualism and self-determination.” p 64 Schick

goes on to discuss the opposite of working hard etc… suggesting the common patern of a binary system. No continuum… that if not working hard, etc… must be the opposite. So wihtout he privelege, must be lazy. flawed.

supports the system of racism and oppressive that the priveleged rely on the other being oppressed to get ahead. Implication is that the other is not working hard instead of addressing the fact that they do not have the same level of privelege to be on the same playing field to benefit from the so called meritocracy only afforded to those inthat spectrum of privelege. .. white, able bodied, socially connected, financially stable… etc..

“If we imagine that we are all self-determining and unencumbered, then disadvantage and poverty are attributed to lack of motivation, effort, and the ability to make the right choices. ” p. 64 schick.


It these things are true, this is not such a free country; one’s life is not what one makes it; many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own. (Macintosh, 1998, p. 167) Peggy MAckintosh addressing the fact that meritocracy doesn’t exist.

“We just need to get along,” they deny the power of racial identity to confer privilege. They do not acknowledge that people are differently positioned in hierarchical structures that depend on social and political difference. Unmarked dominance remains invisible, and inequality is explained as a product of cultural dif- p. 66


Both institutional and individual change must occur, including the more widespread teaching of a critical anti-oppressive education that examines the co-production of dominant and subordinate relations. By requiring our students to examine their dominant identifications and the power relations through which they are produced, we see students engage in a difficult but necessary process in challenging the assumptions that normalize and naturalize inequality.

p. 67 Schick.

Discussion #5a: Discussing Race & Racism

Required Readings

Brookfield, S. (2014). Teaching our own racism: Incorporating personal narratives of whiteness into anti-racist practice. Adult Learning, 25(3), 89–95.

St. Denis, V., & Schick, C. (2003). What makes anti-racist pedagogy in teacher education difficult? Three popular ideological assumptions. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 49(1), 55-69.

Recommended Readings

Andersen, M. L., & Hill Collins, P. (2007). Why race, class, and gender still matter. In Race, class, and gender: An anthology (6th ed.) (pp. 1–16). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Baker, J. (2012). Just kids? Peer racism in a predominantly white city. Refuge, 29(1), 75–85.

Nakhaie, R. (2013). Ideological orientation of professors and equity policies for racialized minorities. Canadian Ethnic Studies, 45(1/2), 43–67.

Ryan, J., Pollock, K., & Antonelli, F. (2009). Teacher diversity in Canada: Leaky pipelines, bottlenecks, and glass ceilings. Canadian Journal of Education, 32(3), 43–67.

5a. Discussing Race and Racism

In an online post of 200–300 words, thoughtfully respond to the following:

  • Do you think it is difficult to have conversations about race? Why or why not?
  • With respect to addressing race issues, do you agree with the strategies suggested by Brookfield, Sánchez-Flores, or Smooth? Are there other strategies you can offer?

Respond also to at least one other post.


Learners and teachers are not necessarily interested in hearing the difficult things that need to be said or doing the difficult analysis of unpacking their assumptions about inequality (Denis and Schick, 2003, p. 55)


That the course is compulsory is taken by some as an indication of a moral lack on their part, a suggestion that is an affront to their self-perceptions as supportive liberals (Schick, 1998) I would say this applies to any interculturalization teachings for teacher education…


Racism becomes an everyday life and “normal” way of seeing. Its banality and invisibility is such that it is quite likely that there may be entirely “politically correct” white individuals who have a deeply racist perception of the world. It is entirely possible to be critical of racism at the level of ideology, politics and institutions … yet possess a great quality of common sense racism, (p. 11, emphasis added) (Denis and Schick, 2003, p. 57)

On asking the question, who benefits from this: Schick p. 58 “In other words, rather than accepting the belief that children need their mothers, one is directed to exploring the social, economic, and political interests that are served by insisting that women are the natural primary caretakers of children. ”

p. 58-59 “Students are alerted to the power differential that determines whose knowledge and what knowledge is considered valuable. We emphasize that power/knowledge is productive of social relations (Banks, 1993; Connell, 1993), as illustrated by the fact that school curricula mainly reflects the point of view of powerful people who organize it”


A triangle indicates the interconnections and mutually reinforcing nature of these three points that are admittedly described in a simplified version. In our teaching, rather than view mainly the personal and systemic points, we believe it is important to examine the ideological assumptions that enable and support personal and systemic practices of inequality. p 58

On discourse being ideological and policitical:

(Fairclough, 1992, p. 36). In a discussion of a Foucauldian notion of discourse, Fairclough explains that discourses are both political and ideological: “Discourse as a political practice establishes, sustains, and changes power relations” (p. 67); and “Discourse as an ideological practice constitutes, naturalizes, sustains and changes significations of the world from diverse positions in power relations” (p. 67).

Resistance to cross-cultural and anti-racist education manifests itself in many forms, including various combinations of denial of inequality, selective perceptions of reality, guilt and anger, and at times withdrawal from learning (Adams, Bell, & Griffin, 1997; Elliot, 1997; Martin, 1995; Sleeter, 1993). By offering data from a rural-based small urban setting where the victims of racism are predominantly Aboriginal, our work adds a new dimension to the existing literature, which generally focuses on large urban settings where the victims of racism are other people of color such as Blacks or Asians.(p. 57) St Denis…

We are concerned that anti-racist teaching can unintentionally reinforce relations of domination in educational institutions (McCarthy & Crichlow, 1993) if the teaching fails to examine racist ideologies and the politics of racial identifications. (p. 57)

Interelatedness of power differential: Another example of the center relying on the margins for definition is found in the construction of Europeans as “civilized” in relation to “uncivilized” Aboriginal people, a distinction based on criteria such as private property, patriarchy, and Christian morality (Carter, 1996; Ng , 1993)

A triangle indicates the interconnections and mutually reinforcing nature of these three points that are admittedly described in a simplified version. In our teaching, rather than view mainly the personal and systemic points, we believe it is important to examine the ideological assumptions that enable and support personal and systemic practices of inequality. p.58

The readings demonstrate how dominant identities rely on peripheral, marginalized, stigmatized identities for self-definition, for defining who we are because we are not them. This is described as “dominance through difference” (Fellows & Razack, 1998). In our teaching difference is denaturalized through a process of exploring how dominant identifications-such as able-bodied, middle-class, and heterosexual achieve normative recognition in relation to the construction of outsider identifications such as disabled, homosexual, working-class, and Aboriginal peoples. p. 59


In this regard it is necessary to challenge the assumption that Canada has always been a fair nation, and we do this by 59 V. St. Denis and C. Schick exploring the counter-histories of racially marginalized groups. The assumption of fairness and the silencing of racialized minority history are foundational moves for keeping intact the ideology of meritocracy. We consider a variety of counter-histories. 59-60

They are encouraged to comment on their own social production, exploring how their own families achieved and are achieving what is commonly understood as respectability (Comment here upon own history of respectability… mother embarrassed by speaking french and comments about “multiplying like bunnies” and embarrassed by the poverty to this day results in her hiding her own history from her children.

My grandmother remembering being embarrassed at having an accent, english being a far superior language and striving hard to remove any trace of her language origins.

p 60 of schick that describes the practice they support of developing a history that synthesizes privelege and lack of in terms of their location and how that has reproduced or had effect on reproducing inequality.

schick finding “they see that identities are produced through stigmatized and marginalized others. ” talk about marginalzing others in order to maintain status quo


p. 61 – referring to moving past seeing common sense notions that we are progessing and working towards meritocracy…


This strategy of denying that race matters supports differences of power reflected in historic, social, political, and economic practices. Race is a social and historical category produced through power relations and necessary for the construction of difference—difference that is frequently explained in dominant discourses as “innate inferiority/superiority” (Ng, 1993; Omi & Winant, 1998). This denial of unequal power normalizes and makes invisible both historical and current relations of inequality. Without naming relations of inequality based on race, racial inequality is assumed to be an explanation for disadvantage. p.62

Racism is a particular prejudice that legitimizes an unequal relationship. In other words, racism is political; it facilitates and justifies socioeconomic mobility for one group at the expense of another … While there may be mutual dislike, there is no such thing as a mutual discrimination in an unequal relationship, (p. 75) In Schick (p. 63)

Culture talk is popular because it does not challenge the status quo (St. Denis, 2002).p. 63

4a. Immigration & Multicultural Education

In an online discussion post of 200–300 words, respond to the following:

The readings in this module have highlighted the tendency of educators to view racial, ethnic, and cultural differences as either deficient or exotic. Ghosh and Abdi suggest that the promise of multicultural education has not been met. At the same time, all of the readings suggest promising practices that educators can develop to address the learning needs of all students in diverse, democratic societies. Discuss which practices you feel are most critical and why.

Respond also to at least one other post.

cultural assumptions about teaching and learning affect the educational process. Pransky 372

Pransky introduces the concept of Discourse community developed by Gee’s concept of Discourse Community as a way to understand the challenges these students face. Gee (1990) (p. 372) Students from the dominant group possess social capital to succeed in an educational environment that is currently set up. Addressing the Discourse community as a concept aids in enabling other discourse communities to prevail allowing the teacher to reconceptualize curriculum in order to encompass another worldview/method of approaching material.

This reconceptualization is arrived at via “real-time inquiry” (Pransky, p. 372). As one develops more awareness, knowledge, and experience with a cultural perspective on learning, one is better able to reconceptualize and then redirect or refocus one’s teaching within the flow of the lesson…In real-time inquiry, especially, it is important to engage in dialogue with students to try to discover the understandings they have of the lesson task or interaction.  (Pransky, p. 372).

“Reflection on Discourse Community mismatch takes the onus of breaking the learning impasse off the student and puts it on the teacher, where it belongs.” (Pransky, p. 373).

By placing the ownership on teachers to bridge this for students, next steps would be to build this into teacher training, pedagogy, and development of practices to create an inclusive classroom community. Implementation in the classroom, could be done in a multiple of methods: with cultural aids (Guo refers to a paraprofessional), as referenced in case studies outlined in Guo’s article (2012) and by reflective inquiry using the concept of Discourse Community to understand and meet students where they are. By understanding their home discourse community and how it could affect student interpretation of material presented, teachers can reflect upon the best way to re-present material, and understand ways in which students may not be able to receive instruction.

Guo states that “[t]hey then understood that the lesson structure itself was a barrier to participation, as it challenged an important value in the children’s home Discourse Community…” (p. 374).

Pransky refers to Vygotsky’s “zone of proximal development” (ZPD) as the “…gap between what they can do independently and do with assistance…” (p. 377) as a way of understanding where to meet students “…exactly where students need assistance or “scaffolding” (Applebee & Langer, 1983). (Pransky, p. 377)


Meta inquiry is an important method of breaking a pre-existing pattern of “[equating] ‘difference’ with ‘deficiency’ also means that pre-service teachers and school administrators often fail to recognize and draw on knowledge that immigrant parents hold about their children (Jones, 2003; Ramirez, 2003).” (Pransky, p. 372).

“Dewey also acknowledged the importance of translating beliefs into action.” (Guo, p. 8). It allows teachers to enact policy in the classroom with reflective-in-action (Guo, p. 8) practice and reconstructing lessons to offer scaffolding, in various and specific ways, that suit individuals of various minority groups.


The study calls for the reconstruction of difference and the inclusion of epistemological pluralism, particularly immigrant parent knowledge, within teacher education.” (Guo, p. 4).

In their daily encounters with cultural diversity, many teachers face barriers to understanding diversity. One such barrier is a generalized fear of diversity (Palmer, 1998). in (Guo, p. 5)

School culture and climate lead to institutional practices that systematically marginalize or pathologize difference. (Guo, p. 5)

The equation of “difference” with “deficiency” also means that pre-service teachers and school administrators often fail to recognize and draw on knowledge that immigrant parents hold about their children (Jones, 2003; Ramirez, 2003). School staff may hold beliefs – often tacit – that the knowledge of immigrants, particularly those from developing countries, is incompatible, inferior, and hence, invalid (Abdi, 2007; Dei, 1996). Non-recognition of immigrant parents’ knowledge can again be causally attributed to misconceptions about difference, and lack of knowledge about different cultures (Guo, 2009; Honneth, 1995). (p. 5)

Dewey also acknowledged the importance of translating beliefs into action. Similarly, Schön (1983) described action as an essential aspect of the reflective process. In his view, reflective practitioners are those who engage in reflection-in-action by observing and critiquing their own thought processes and actions. The original concept of reflection-in-action may be complemented by reflection-on-action – that is teachers’ reflections on their teaching theories and procedures both before and after teaching (Calderhead & Gates, 1993; Cosh, 1998; Guo, 2005).  (Guo, p. 8)

Reflection in action…


it is not due to a cognitive deficiency, a “lack of thinking ability,” or diminished “academic potential.”  (Pransky, 381)

nd built off their strengths and experiences. Second, with Seiha they were in a safe, support ive Discourse Community, creating a cocoon of empowerment within the larger class. In feeling empowered academically and socially, they could demonstrate their full competence with confidence. (p. 381)

Ghosh, R., & Abdi, A. A. (2013). Chapter 3: “Issues in multicultural education.” In Education and the politics of difference (2nded. Canadian perspectives) (pp. 45–84). Toronto, ON: Canadian Scholars’ Press.

Guo, Y. (2012). Exploring linguistic, cultural and religious diversity in Canadian schools. Journal of Contemporary Issues in Education, 7(1),.4-23.

Pransky, K., & Bailey, F. (2003). To meet your students where they are, first you have to find them: Working with culturally and linguistically diverse at-risk students. The Reading Teacher, 56(4), 370–383.

Education: multicultural policy in praxis

p. 31 (Ghosh) Reference regarding multiculturalizing education system and unpacking issue of hegemonic culture dominating policy “The question of hierarch in cateogries of poppression leads to the view that issues often differe fo different groups, and the impact is weakened when mclism is lumped in with race and ethnicity and all dealth with simulatraeiously.”

p. 32 Failed to question whiteness and concern with the other.. failing in multic approach, maintaining dominant postiion.


p. 35 chpater in education system


p. 37 multicultural is for all, not just minority groups

p. 38 call for operationalization rather than discussionn–> opening comment (Ghosh and Abdi ) for my lit reveiw.

Accomodation vs incorporation. one implies “other” as different, and needing special adaptation to bridge or adopt the hegemonic culture… incorporate implies that the dominant group stretch in a way that incorporates other cultures, and other cultures that are not white are valued and incorporated into the dominant discourse. (ref p. 39 Ghosh and Abdi) to support this idea.

Welch has theories to put into practice:

link Other

reveal assymetrical power creates different conditions for groups…new patterns of relation forged by legitimizing mutliple voices and world views. (p. 39)


Difference as a creative force rather than a deficiency (p. 41 Ghosh and Abdi)

p. 42 multiculural education has failed to achieve its true objectives due  to paradigm bindness…paradigm shift shift in world view necessary…

p. 43 reference to federal no control over education to inform policy and praxis

3b. Power, Privilege, and Aboriginal Canadians


Lack of the cultural capital required to “navigate the largely Western dominant educational system” contributes to the inability to achieve in ways that Western culture rewards. As Pidgeon points out: “Without the habitus of the dominant group, an Aboriginal / minority student is at a severe disadvantage [without]…”capital that gives one the edge and the power to succeed.” (Pidgeon, M., p. 343).

“The very notion of success is different for Aboriginal and Western cultures.  “Schools promote specific notions of knowledge and power by rewarding specific forms of behaviour.” (Ghosh, p.23).

Because of this, the current educational system may be unwelcoming to those with non-dominant world views. The simple fact that linguistically, many words don’t exist to describe various concepts or terms in English or other minority languages.

I had a discussion with a colleague on campus this week, in which she noted that there is no term to describe an Aboriginal concept in English. This led to a remark about an instance of Aboriginal student career counseling. An advisor had remarked that they had “pushed” a student in a direction more suited to her individual interest, instead of a prescribed direction towards studying, in this case, nursing. My colleague, took issue with the term “pushed”.

“One of the most important is the ethic of non-interference. It “promotes positive interpersonal relationships by discouraging coercion of any kind, be it physical, verbal or psychological.” It stems from a high degree of respect for every individual’s independence and regards interference or restriction of a person’s personal freedom as “undesirable behaviour.” (Brant, “Native Ethics,” pp. 534–35.).

In this case, my colleague described a world view quite different from a Western one regarding supporting or advising another: I found this description: “…[this] ethic continues to be functional to maintain harmony within the community.” (Brant, C. 1990. p. 534). “The importance of the ethic of non-interference helps to explain the use of stories in Aboriginal societies. If advice is given, it is usually in the form of a story. It lays out a situation with options.” (Brant, p. 534). My colleague went on to describe her method in which resources are offered, to make way for a student a way to arrive at her own path. Two differences, in this case, influence this individual’s experience: storytelling and self-determination were eliminated from the process.

“…to succeed in today’s educational system, Aboriginal peoples need to negotiate a system that does not value their own epistemologies and cultures.” (Pidgeon, M. p. 342). Simple academic advising could be completely at odds with this student’s world view, impeding her success at the institution.
“So an Aboriginal student bringing his/her Indigenous capital to a mainstream
university “must first acquire and accept a new form of consciousness, an orientation
that not only displaces but often devalues the worldview they bring with
them” (Barnhardt, 2002, p. 241).”(Pidgeon, M., p. 348).

The fact that my colleague took issue with the seemingly benign (to me) word “push” indicates a tangible difference in experience in cultural capital. I would have shrugged it off.

Brant, C. C. (1990, August). Native Ethics and rules of behaviour. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 35(6), 534-539. Retrieved at:

Ghosh, R., & Abdi, A. A. (2013). Chapter 2: “Schooling and society: Perspectives on knowledge, culture, and difference.” In Education and the politics of difference (2nd Edition: Canadian perspectives) (pp. 13–46). Toronto, ON: Canadian Scholars’ Press.

Pidgeon, M. (2008). Pushing against the margins: Indigenous theorizing of “success” and retention in higher education. J. College Student Retention, 10(3), 339–360.


Society consists of a number of spaces




resources the combinatino of the amount and type of capital individual has


  • money
  • social
  • cultural -important in bourdieu: what works in various contexts and fields

symbolic capital




Discussion 3a: P. Mackintosh

  1. Respond to at least one other post.
  2. In an online discussion post of 200–300 words, respond to the following:
  • How does Peggy McIntosh’s revelation of her privilege relate to the institutionalized discrimination of Aboriginal Canadians as depicted in Jane Elliot’s workshop?
  • How is it that even “nice” Canadians tolerate racism towards Aboriginal peoples?

(p. 31, Mcintosh, P.) I have come to se white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets which I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was ‘meant’ to remain oblivious.

I began to count the ways in which I enjoy unearned skin privilege and have been conditioned into oblivion about its existence. My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person, or as a participant in a damaged culture. I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will.

McIntosh, P. (1990). White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack. Independent School, 49, 31–35.

(p. 34)

“Such privilege simply confers dominance because of one’s race or sex.”

“I want, then, to distinguish between earned strength and unearned power conferred systematically. Power from unearned privilege can look like strength when it is in fact permission to escape or to dominate.”

“Ideally it is an unearned advantage and conferred dominance.”


“Individual acts can palliate, but cannot end, these problems.”

“It seems to me that obliviousness about white advantage, like obliviousness about male advantage, is kept strongly inculturated in the United States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy the myth that democratic choice is equally available to all. Keeping most people unaware that freedom of confident action is there for just a small number of people props up those in power, and serves to keep power in the hands of the same groups that have most of it already.”





Bourdieu—Simple Explanation

Ghosh and Abdi build an argument for a new educational paradigm in which multiculturalism is informed by critical pedagogy in which difference is harnessed as “a creative force rather than treating it as a deficiency” (p. 42).


Jane Elliot’s video: Pyle, N. (2015).

McIntosh, P. (1990). White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack. Independent School, 49, 31–35.

This teacher taught his class a powerful lesson about privilege. Retrieved from

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