As I listen to comments on the Liberal government’s decision to axe early French immersion (EFI) in New Brunswick, I’m reminded once again that we have become so accustomed to the ground of schooling that we no longer see it for the restrictive institution that it has become. I return to Brian Alger’s post on curriculum:
One of the effects of curriculum design of any kind is confinement. And the confinement of human experience is an act of violence. A common example of this confinement via curriculum leading to violence is bullying.
Some of the written comments [spelling unchanged from original comments] on this CBC story are equally bullying:
- The Government would have been better served years ago if they had said that all Governmet business would be conducted in the language of majority in Canada and that is ENGLISH
- do away with bilingualism, the french have all the government jobs anway
- Why don’t we the province of NB have english emmerison in french schools? ANYONE!!! Wouldn’t it make more sence to teach both groups both language then all of our kids would have the same chance in head of the class?
- Why do you think any body wants their children to learn a base in french, when their are plenty of useful things to learn. When will you get it thru your indoctrinated appeasement thinking,that we want our kids EDUCATED!
When it comes to public education, everyone is an expert but no one knows what will work best for all students, because there is no single answer. Whatever curriculum is chosen will be constraining and bullying on someone and perhaps many. Our education system, based on the Prussian military school model with core subjects copied, and mostly unchanged, from Harvard’s 1890’s example, is seldom questioned.
The Minister of Education is using his powers to change the curriculum and now a different group of parents feels bullied. Others, who have felt bullied by the existence of French culture and language feel empowered to taunt this group. No matter what happens, someone will feel like the victim at the end of this. Curriculum is the confinement of the human experience. It is a blunt tool that winds up bullying someone. It’s time to throw this tool away, but first we have to sincerely ask why we’re using it in the first place.
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