Social inequality is a serious global issue. A variety of organizations such as UN, OECD, UNESCO, and others are created to combat it. With seemingly so many efforts and resources allocated to address this problem, the result is quite poor. According to Papapolydorou (2014), in schools, we can see that class division is still a primary principle of interpersonal relationship formation. The normality of such practice is still argued in literature, and there is a continuous necessity for new research into this topic due to the fact that inequality is still an issue in many countries of the world.
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The research question is as follows: is it possible to form a socially-inclusive environment at schools in Canada utilizing socially-integrative practices and involvement of parental community?
The problematic nature of the social inequality at schools seems to stem from a more global issue of economic disparity and the gap between the poor and the rich, which still exists in many countries. Due to the globalization of the world’s economy and easy access to almost every corner of the Earth, developed countries with fairly low social segregation as compared to developing ones faced a problem with low-income families seeking shelter. In Canada, 37,5 % of children have at least one parent from another country (“Children with an immigrant background: Bridging cultures,” 2016). Having accepted those families, governments of the U.S., Germany, Norway, Canada and other countries took responsibility for their inclusion into their economies. One of the first steps beside the cultural integration is the integration of social classes both foreign and domestic.
One of the measures to encourage such integration is a reinforcement of career-oriented thinking in schools and active involvement of parental community into developing an integrated and barrier-free environment (Aurini, Milne, & Hillier, 2016; Krahn & Barron, 2013). Shaidullina et al. (2014), mention that forming general career-oriented skills help learners focus on achieving their goals rather than spreading attention to other things. Schneeweis (2011) notes that language gaps influence the social barrier between students with immigration history.
Additionally, social integration was studied through its interconnection with racial issues of multicultural nations. It has been discovered that the policies of separate education are not healthy for the community and invoke further social problems, which states the need for intercultural and socially-inclusive education (Hardy & Woodcock, 2015).
Overall, the problem seems to be rather persistent both in Canada and abroad. The U.S., EU, Australia and other countries seem to have issues with social integration. As some of the researchers note that this is a natural process in the environment where no intervention was implemented, other voice concerns for further integrative prospects of the marginalized youth of both immigrant and native origin. There seems to be no universal answer, and each individual case has to be reviewed separately. However, it is possible to formulate general provisions for secondary schools as to what could be done in order to create the socially-inclusive environment and bridge the inequality gap.
Main Argument Points
I am planning to argue that social inequality in schools could be conquered. However, sufficient administrative and human resources will be needed to organize an inclusive environment. In addition, I will state that the help of parents in this matter will be of great assistance.
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Firstly, I will state the prevalence of the problem globally and in Canada. The literature suggests that the globalized world created a vast amount of problems, and education with its often-rigid structure and slow innovation introduction suffered a great deal. Since it fails to integrate newcomers into the economy of the country, there is an urgent need for reforms (Georgiades, Boyle, & Fife, 2013).
Secondly, I will outline the positive and negative experience of other countries in terms of safe and harmful practices of inter-cultural and socially-inclusive education. As such, Krahn and Barron (2013) outline a common practice in the U.S. and Canada as ‘integrational transmission of advantage.’ I will argue that this phenomenon contributes to social segregation, which poses a need for better advertisement of benefits of post-secondary education among low-income families and requires state policies for making such education affordable.
Thirdly, I will state the need for family participation and argue that it has a positive influence on the process of integration of people with various social and cultural backgrounds. For instance, dialogue literary gatherings are proposed by Flecha (2014) as effective measures to increase students’ learning outcomes and decrease social segregation. I will then further explore other measures and make conclusions about the impact of this measure and its applicability in Canadian school setting.
Aurini, Milne, and Hillier (2016) explore the extent to which parents are involved and should be involved in the system of school pre-school and secondary school education. They suggest that at the early stages of the personality development of the young individual it is crucial that diverse society was adequately perceived and interacted with.
Flecha (2014) reviews healthy practices that should be used or already used educational practices that ensure healthy multicultural environment and socially-inclusive class communication strategies.
Georgiades et al. (2013) argue that behavioral problems of immigrant adolescents might arise from inadequate school environment and the slowly-moving resolution of racial segregation.
Hardy and Woodcock (2015) discuss the whole range of issues connected to race, ethnicity, diversity, disability, social segregation and provide a variety of solutions to address these problems.
Krahn and Barron (2013) explore the phenomenon when children follow their well-educated parents’ footsteps and how this influences social disparities in the U.S. and Canada.
Papapolydorou (2014) provides an insight into how and why social segregation happens and schools and what it means for society if no intervention is produced.
Schneeweis (2011) delves into the question of immigrants in European countries and their exclusion from the education system. Positive practices are reviewed to show their relation to educational and employment outcomes.
Shaidullina et al. (2014) argue that career skills are positively influencing employment and the change and that it has implications for social balance and better inclusion perspectives.
All things considered, this project will contribute to the development of tailored solutions for the problems of Canadian school education. The paper will argue that it is possible to establish socially-inclusive environment at Canadian schools by utilizing socially-integrative practices and involving parental community using the knowledge from scholarly sources and research skills. The main points will revolve around stating the prevalence of the issue, reviewing positive and negative practices of other countries and Canada in addressing the above-mentioned issues, and what socially-inclusive practices could be implemented to improve the situation. The project corresponds with the goals of the course and will form a comprehensive understanding of the present challenges of Canadian education system.
Aurini, J. Milne, E., & Hillier, C. (2016). The two sides of “vigilance”: parent engagement and its relationship to school connections, responsibility, and agency in W. Lehmann (Ed.), Education and Society (pp. 35-4), Quebec, Canada: OUP Canada.
Flecha, R. (2014). Successful educational actions for inclusion and social cohesion in Europe. Berlin, Germany: Springer.
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Georgiades, K., Boyle, M. H., & Fife, K. A. (2013). Emotional and behavioral problems among adolescent students: The role of immigrant, racial/ethnic congruence and belongingness in schools. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42(9), 1473-1492.
Hardy, I., & Woodcock, S. (2015). Inclusive education policies: Discourses of difference, diversity and deficit. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 19(2), 141-164.
Krahn, H., & Barron, G. (2013). Intergenerational transfers of advantage: Parents’ education and children’s educational and employment outcomes in Alberta in W. Lehmann (Ed.), Education and Society (pp. 36-50). Quebec, Canada: OUP Canada
Papapolydorou, M. (2014). ‘When you see a normal person…’: social class and friendship networks among teenage students. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 35(4), 559-577.
Schneeweis, N. (2011). Educational institutions and the integration of migrants. Journal of Population Economics, 24(4), 1281-1308.
Shaidullina, A. R., Fassakhova, G. R., Valeyeva, G. K., Khasanova, G. B., Komelina, V. A., & Ivanova, T. L. (2014). A comparative research on levels of students’ formation skills of their career advancement portfolio in secondary and higher education systems. Asian Social Science, 11(1), 375.