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Student experiences of a culturally-sensitive curriculum: ethnic identity development amid conflicting stories to live by

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This study examines ways in which students' experiences of a culturally-sensitive curriculum may contribute to their developing sense of ethnic identity. It uses a narrative-inquiry approach to explore students' experiences of the interaction of culture and curriculum in a Canadian inner-city, middle-school context. It considers ways in which the curriculum may be interpreted as the intersection of the students' home and school cultures. Teachers, administrators, and other members of the school community made efforts to be accepting of the diverse ethnic, linguistic, and religious backgrounds that students brought to the school. However, examination of students' experiences of school curriculum events and activities revealed ways in which balancing affiliation to their home cultures while at the same time abiding by expectations of their teachers and peers in their school context could be difficult. The stories highlight ways in which curriculum activities and events may contribute to shaping the ethnic identity of students in ways not anticipated by teachers, administrators, and policy-makers.

Keywords: curriculum; ethnic identity; multi-cultural education; narrative inquiry; student experience

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2007

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