Citizenship for a Modern Democracy: Youth Perspectives on the Canadian Multicultural Reality
This paper explores the links between citizenship and multiculturalism in the Ontario secondary school curriculum Grade 10 Civics course and among Ontario youth. Contemporary citizenship theory suggests that a progressive approach to citizenship, fostering critical thinking, civic participation and commitment to social justice, is particularly necessary in a multicultural nation faced with complex issues like racism and inequity. However, this study offers preliminary support for the idea that Ontario’s approach to citizenship education remains generally conservative in nature and does not create a platform from which students could internalize critical perspectives on multiculturalism. Analysis of the Ontario Grade 10 Civics course and interviews with five recent Ontario high school graduates likewise suggests that students may also retain more conservative attitudes towards citizenship and superficial knowledge about its links to multiculturalism. This paper suggests that more research into how students understand these complex topics might assist educators as they develop more progressive curricula.