Canadian Culture in the Classroom

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There is a real lack of appreciation for Canadian literature across Ontario. In grade 12 classrooms across the province there is a wide variety of material studied, very little of it being of Canadian descent. While good writers exist in all cultures, Ontario students should mainly study Canadian authors as there needs to be focus on Canadian culture, to also promote and establish current authors, and to encourage young Canadian writers.
Southern neighbours have already swamped Canada with their various ways of life. There is no reason for American culture to leak into the classroom. Canadian culture has never had the chance to blossom, even with the potential possessed, because of the storied and rich culture that has preceded it. Always under the thumb of foreign culture, Canadian authors were always an afterthought. For years, a student in Ontario would study Shakespeare and other British writers, and today, even American writers such as Fitzgerald. All of them, no doubt writing quality literature, but the big picture is being missed. Many schools limit a student’s exposure to a Canadian novel to ISP reading lists. In this sense, Canada is an attic in which we have stored American and British literature without considering our own (Davies, Letters in Canada 426). No wonder a Canadian student has problems appreciating there culture.
It seems as though that any Canadian literature studied is out of date to begin with. This includes works such as Mordecai’s Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz or Lawrence’s, Stone Angel. Fifth Business, which was published in 1970 - over 40 years ago - is still on many courses of study in Gr. 12 classrooms. Atwood’s Handmade Tale, the most recent of these books was published in 1985; over twenty five years ago. Again, while most teachers allow and may even encourage a student to focus on more modern Canadian books for their ISP, the classroom experience is almost always limited to studying these golden oldies. In order for Canadian



Cited: Atwood, Margaret. Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature. Toronto: McLelland and Stewart, 1972. Print. Davies, Robertson. Letters in Canada. Toronto: Macmillan Press, 1979. Print. Davies, Robertson. Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada. IV. XIII. Ottawa: Royal Society of Canada, 1975. Print.

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