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Decolonising dominant knowledge constructions in the education of immigrant youth in Canada

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This paper examines the dominant knowledge construction in Canadian public schools. Using the grounded theory approach, thirty-six Chinese Canadian youths and young adults were interviewed in Alberta. Drawing on critical, anticolonial and Bourdieusian perspectives, I argue that some teachers’ racialised habitus and biased knowledge constructions devalued the indigenous knowledges that immigrant youth bring to the classroom. Moreover, they reproduced anti-immigrant discourses and reinforced racial hierarchies in Canadian society. As a consequence, they negatively affect the identity construction of immigrant descendants and undermine their attempts to negotiate a sense of belonging in Canada. I argue that decolonising dominant knowledge constructions requires challenging teachers’ racialised habitus in teaching and their interactions with immigrant students.
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Keywords: Chinese Canadian; School knowledge; anti-racism; decolonisation; immigrant youth/young adults; racialised habitus

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Child and Youth Studies, Brock University, St. Catharines, Canada

Publication date: January 2, 2019

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