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Old 08-21-2010, 03:47 PM
 
10 posts, read 37,861 times
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Hi everyone,

I'm not sure if this is the proper forum, but this is a legitimate question. In Canadian school curricula, do they teach history to young people? I was talking to a young man last name from British Columbia. And, we were discussing various issues. He is an intelligent guy and is up on his history. He has an especially acute interest in European and Asian history and is a World War II buff.

This having been said, the conversation drifted to Canada's position in the Commonwealth, and it was me as an American that was explaining large portions of CANADIAN history to him such as why Canadians normally do not take British peerage titles (the Nickle resolution), just who Conrad Black is (former Canadian newspaper mogul), the fact that Canada REMAINS in the Commonwealth. I have a feeling if pressed, he would not have been aware of Canada's first prime minister, Sir John Macdonald. He could not even point out the province east of Saskatchewan, and asked in all seriousness if Ontario was a province (??!!). He WAS aware that Canadians under British rule did a pretty good job of kicking ass during the War of 1812, lol.

He was keen on learning a lot of this, and he told me growing up that he mostly learned native, aboriginal, and metis history. He spent a year in the U.S. as a child and learned American history there. Evidently these were the key years in which Canadian history is taught to youth.

Now this is not a stupid or ignorant young man. He can tell me in great detail about European: German or Russian history or that of Asian countries. He has a decent idea of American history and could probably easily tell me the first five American presidents.

So basically it kinda grieves my soul that this poor guy is so uninformed on the history of his own country. It's not that he's uninterested in history, which is why I'm posting here to ask. Is Canadian history taught to young people there? It's a shame if it's not. What is the future of a country if it is ignorant of its own history and culture.

I am a major history buff, and a somewhat odd creature, an American Canada-phile. I'm fascinated with the country, because it was always omitted in schooling growing up. It was always at the back of the history texts, and we never got around to it, so I studied up on my own this mysterious land and neighbor to our north. That's understandable for me, I'm not Canadian. Admittedly, he does better than the average American. He has a basic idea of his surroundings, and could point out Canada on a map of the world. That's more than what the average American could do. But it still saddens me? Basically, what's the deal? Why isn't history being taught??
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Old 08-21-2010, 05:42 PM
 
Location: Silver Spring, MD
741 posts, read 2,497,604 times
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Of course Canadian history is taught in the schools up there! Absolutely!

I think the thing is many times and this goes with any country... when you learn history, other places seem more interesting. I'll admit many times while in class tuning out.. it was BORING some times...

As you get older though you get a better sense of awareness. He may be schooled but he just may not really care what goes on or has gone on in Canada.. It's easy just to look around at the present and say... eh yeah okay I get this.

Yes it's taught and all that and I would say the history that Canadians learn is quite broad even up to grade 12.

I also took some Canadian history courses and was a Poli Sci major from a CDN University as well, so I am set.
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Old 08-21-2010, 06:11 PM
 
Location: Toronto
1,655 posts, read 5,089,585 times
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Of course.... there's even an entire course in high school dedicated to it, and it's mandatory for all 10th grade students.
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Old 08-22-2010, 03:38 AM
 
33,134 posts, read 39,067,107 times
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Dont sum up all Canadians by your experiences with just one guys memory.
Not sure why he's so clueless about Canadian history but he certainly doesnt represent the norm because Canadian history is taught extensively through out elementary and high school.
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Old 08-22-2010, 06:40 AM
 
49 posts, read 81,345 times
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I did learn about Canadian history in highschool, but as I got older, the information seemed to slowly seep out of my mind. I have found as an adult, I have had to google and thing or two. I guess our education system doesn't drill our history into our minds from a young age....perhaps we should be more diligent in knowing the facts about our history.
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Old 08-22-2010, 03:05 PM
 
Location: Toronto
287 posts, read 881,421 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamajama View Post
but as I got older, the information seemed to slowly seep out of my mind. I have found as an adult, I have had to google and thing or two. I guess our education system doesn't drill our history into our minds from a young age.
I've forgotten about all kinds of subjects since I finished school.
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Old 08-22-2010, 04:29 PM
 
Location: CFL
903 posts, read 2,157,363 times
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You can get similar results in asking an every day youth in the US about US history. Kids forget things unless they are really interested in them.
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Old 08-23-2010, 07:46 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
20,571 posts, read 25,620,517 times
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Another Canadian point of view:

Quebec tops in teaching Canadian history : Macleans OnCampus

Personally, I have to agree with the original poster. The otherwise bright young person you met in BC is unfortunately very typical of many Canadians.

Teaching of Canadian history in schools in most parts of the country is woefully inadequate. Your average American may not light up the room with their knowledge of geography and world issues, but their knowledge of their own country's history is usually eons ahead of what your average Canadian will know about Canada's history.

Many Canadian provinces don't even require a single Canadian history credit to get your diploma and when they do it is usually just one measly course you need.

Another thing is that American history knowledge in the U.S. is buttressed by popular culture. This does not really exist in Canada and the result is the American history "boost" from Hollywood is what ends up in the minds of young Canadians.

Popular culture is one of the main reasons Canadians seem so knowledgeable on American history when you talk them. As kids, my generation grew up on stuff like Schoolhouse Rock and saw Archie. Jughead and Reggie Mantle marching as Minutemen in the American Revolution!

I wouldn't care so much if the ignorance of Canadian history didn't fuel so many ignorant views among many Canadians, about francophones and aboriginals in particular.
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Old 08-25-2010, 02:34 PM
 
Location: grooving in the city
7,371 posts, read 5,679,590 times
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You are correct Acajack. Even though I took Canadian history in high school and university, American history (at least during the high school years), seemed far more exciting than Canadian history. Canadian history books were dry and boring. Americans on the other hand were busy learning about Daniel Boone, Davey Crockett, the wild west, and all kinds of interesting stuff.

We had "Front Page Challenge", which seemed droll and boring back in the day.
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Old 08-25-2010, 05:40 PM
 
397 posts, read 607,114 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taigagirl View Post
.........We had "Front Page Challenge", which seemed droll and boring back in the day.

I loved Front Page Challenge. I'd probably still watch today if it was n on the air.

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