Grade 7: Is Canada a kinder and gentler country to new immigrants? (part 2)

This lesson links well when discussing the expansion of the Roman Empire. It can also be integrated into Language Arts and Social Responsibility. Once students have discussed the colonization practices of the Roman and British Empires by examining the level of compassion of each, students will be asked to look at the immigrant experience in Canada. Specifically students will be asked if immigrating to Canada has become a kinder and gentler process in present day than in the past. This lesson will take a series of class sessions.

Objectives

It is expected that…

  • Students will demonstrate the ability to use primary and secondary sources in order to formulate an opinion on an issue.
  • Students will demonstrate their ability to defend and support a position on an issue.

Materials

  • Multicultural Canada archival collection
  • Computers with access to internet

Activities

Teacher recaps the student debate on which empire was kinder and gentler to their subjects.
Teacher poses question: Has Canada become a kinder, gentler, and more accepting country to new immigrants in present time than in the past? What has changed and what continues to remain static in the in immigrant experience. What similar challenges do present immigrants face? What are some of the differences?
To challenge student thinking, it is important that the teacher shows examples of immigrant cultural stereotyping that occurred in newspapers in the past (using the archival material) as well as in the present. For example, how were Indo-Canadians framed in the past and how are they framed in present time in the news media? It’s important that the teacher presents images of present day Canada struggling with the same issues it did in the past, namely racism, sexism, and class. This will allow students to begin to think deeply and critically of the above question.
Students will be asked to use the Multicultural Canada archival collection to understand past immigrant experiences. What obstacles and barriers did they face?
Students will be asked to interview someone that has immigrated to Canada in the last ten years and ask him/her about their experiences and challenges. If a student is unable to find anyone to interview they can look at newspapers that are geared towards recent immigrants such as New Immigrant.
Students compile their research and formulate their argument to the question has Canada become a kinder, gentler, and more accepting country to new immigrants compared to the past?

Assessment

  • Student essay
  • Student interview with recent immigrant

Extension

  • Examine your own parents, grandparents, and great grandparents immigration to Canada. What challenges did they face?