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Building identity in the multicultural classroom

Association Canadienne d'éducation de langue française (ACELF)

2011-04-18

Great cultural diversity is a growing characteristic of our Western societies. In Francophone minority communities, how can teachers balance this diversity with identity building?

Christiane Gohier, a professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal, addresses this question in an article published in the magazine Éducation et francophonie.

The author suggests that, instead of trying to instill a hard-core sense of identity in students, educators help them develop what she calls a "centre of gravity." But what exactly is this centre of gravity? In her view, it is a balance between a student's sense of belonging and the ability to associate with others. By developing a sense of cultural belonging and by recognizing their right to exist, students can develop the confidence they need to associate politically with others.

In thus evoking the interrelated concepts of citizenship and ethnicity, the article presents a solution to the challenge of helping students develop both an enhanced appreciation for their own culture and an involvement in the broader cultural and political dialogue.

The article appears in an issue of Éducation et francophonie that examines the role of schools in building identity in a pluralistic society, under the guest editorship of Diane Gérin-Lajoie from the University of Toronto.

For more information:

Read Christiane Gohier's article Éducation et fragmentation
identitaire : à la recherche d'un centre de gravité
(PDF Version Approx. 277.85 KB)
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See the list of contents for the issue of Éducation et francophonie that examines the role of schools in building identity in a pluralistic society (La contribution de l'école au processus de construction identitaire des élèves dans une société pluraliste).