“Why Don’t You Canadians Stop Lying to Us Immigrants?”: Immigrant Teacher Candidates’ Experiences with Pre-service Education and Canada’s Multicultural Act

By Christine Louise Cho.

Published by The International Journal of Diverse Identities

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This paper explores the experiences of 7 Canadian teacher candidates who self-identify as immigrants. At the time of the project, the participants were completing their Bachelor of Education degrees in Canada. While Canada is often applauded for its progressive and forward thinking Multicultural Policy of 1971 and the subsequent Multicultural Act of 1988, Canada has simultaneously been criticized for encouraging the very act of assimilation the policies and Act profess to discourage. The Act suggests Canadians believe that the fabric of the nation is reflective and embracing of diversity, but are there limitations embedded in the cultural mosaic concept? In Canada, immigrant teachers are severely under-represented in the workforce as compared to their prototypical Canadian counterparts. What are the experiences of teacher candidates who are “Othered” and who attempt to utilize the concept of multiculturalism to justify their place in elementary and secondary schools? Data from a critical ethnographic project comprised of focus groups, individual interviews, and narrative reflections will be used to illuminate participants’ counter-stories. The participants’ experiences reveal the ways in which they perceive the discourse of multiculturalism serves their interests and might facilitate their entrance into the teaching profession while also revealing the ways in which their efforts are thwarted.

Keywords: Multiculturalism, Pre-service Teaching, Immigrant Identities

International Journal of Diverse Identities, Volume 13, Issue 1, November 2014, pp.13-25. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 276.309KB).

Dr Christine Louise Cho

Assistant Professor, Schulich School of Education, Brantford Campus, Nipissing University, Brantford, Ontario, Canada

Christine is a visual artist and a former elementary school teacher. Her research in teacher education contributes to current educational conversations on racial, ethnic and linguistic representation in schools and explores the constructions and understandings of teacher identity within the structures of schools. Christine utilizes visual media and critical pedagogy in her teaching of pre-service courses to concurrent education students. Christine's courses include visual arts and curriculum methods. She has also taught pre-service consecutive courses on sociocultural perspectives of child development; integrated arts; supporting literacy and learners with special needs; and, developing teacher identities.