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Literacy education and teacher preparation: snapshots from Canada

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Education is a provincial jurisdiction in Canada, and so literacy programmes vary widely among the ten provinces and two territories, despite some recent efforts to promote common goals for English/language arts curricula through regional consortia and pressures from a national sample of reading and writing skills by the Council of Ministers of Education of Canada. On the primary school level, a major movement towards Reading Recovery and early intervention strategies is evident in most provinces, frequently led by groups of interested teachers. Significant immigration to Vancouver and Toronto has led to large ESL programmes both at the adult and K-12 levels in these cities, but many other jurisdictions have small ESL populations. Provincial laws in Quebec dictate that all immigrants study French, so ESL programmes are negligible there. First Nations education is significant across Canada with programmes in native languages being offered at both K-12 and university levels. Adult education, however, remains peripheral to teacher education programmes. The Province of New Brunswick has appointed a Minister of State for Literacy, the only province to demonstrate a commitment to literacy at this level. With downsizing at all levels of government from the federal government through to locally appointed school boards, the current economic climate does not bode well for new literacy initiatives.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of British Columbia, Canada

Publication date: October 1, 1997

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