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Skoufaras, Kyriaki Sunday. “Examining our Histories within Quebec and Canada: A Proposal to Increase the Minority Experience in the Grade 10 History Curriculum.” M.A. Thesis, Concordia University, 2004.


This thesis raises the issue of whether or not inequalities in the Quebec grade 10 history curriculum reflect underlying institutional racism, and considers the effect this has on teaching and learning. Why does the history curriculum omit minorities’ histories? Has this been an intentional omission in order to distort historical fact? Perhaps it is an oversight that reflects an ignorance of Quebec’s multicultural society? It is contended that by including minority cultures and their experiences in the history curriculum, their pasts will be validated and their voices heard.

This paper pertains in particular to the grade 10 history curriculum. The current grade 10 history curriculum is a synopsis of the time period between the “discovery” of the America’s by the Europeans in the 15th century to the present day. The course summary used in this analysis is largely based on four commonly used French texts: Le Québec: heritages et projets, a comprehensive and popular text often favoured because it caters directly to the provincial exam; Mon histoire; Nouvelle histoire du Québec et du Canada; and the workbook Découvrir L’Histoire du Québec et du Canada – Cahier d’apprentissage 4e secondaire which contains many of the graphs, pictures and documents used on the provincial exam.

This study finds that the current Quebec history curriculum is too Eurocentric and monocultural for today’s world. A revised history curriculum that recognizes and respects differences and cultural diversity is proposed as an alternative to the one currently being used. This curriculum will include the “missing pages” of minority groups that are missing from the current texts, specifically including the stories of Italian, Jewish, Arabic, Haitian, Caribbean, African, Chinese and Greek minorities. The main issues that should be covered for each group include their emigration from their mother country, their entry and acceptance into Canadian/Quebec society, their integration/assimilation, and other aspects of their social lives such as work, education, economic status, and so on. It is hoped that this will do for the minorities the same that the current curriculum does for the French Quebec culture – validate their pasts and their experiences in Canada.

This study includes a discussion of: the definition and benefits of a multicultural education; the various difficulties involved in the implantation of a multicultural education; the weaknesses and objectives of the history curriculum in Quebec; the reasons why curriculum change is necessary; and a proposed history curriculum that recognizes and respects differences and cultural diversity as an alternative to the one currently being used.


It is often difficult to find documented histories of some cultures. It should therefore become common practice to incorporate the oral histories of ethnic and minority cultures into the curriculum to supplement current texts. Where are the heroes and heroines of the non-dominant class? How can minority students be expected to succeed on equal terms with the dominant class when they cannot relate to what they are learning? Teachers must also take matters into their own hands, creating their own materials through the use of other reading materials, TV programs, video recordings, and student-based research to create a history curriculum that is reflective of their students. The proposed changes in this paper can also be applied in various ways to other parts of the curriculum.

Mary Chaktsiris