NEIGHBOURS: THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA
Tony Burley and Harold Skolrood.
Volume 10 Number 4.
The surge of Canadian nationalism associated with such names as Walter Gordon and A. B. Hodgetts has now been taking place for more than fifteen years. During that time the development of social studies curricula in this country has centred about the need to teach Canadian studies adequately. A spinoff has been the inundation of juvenile Canadiana. One does not have to be chauvinistic to welcome all this activity. It goes without saying that we must know ourselves before we can understand others. However, we should also remember that, in an interdependent world, there is a critical need to see issues in a global perspective. Elementary schools should not entirely neglect the study of other modern nations.
And what better place could there be to start than with a tour of the super power south of the border? Although the United States affects our lives in uncountable ways, no province seems to think it necessary to provide children with a systematic study of its geography and history.
Neighbours is an old-fashioned workbook of a sort seldom seen now that, in theory, teachers are using in-depth or project methods. It has ten chapters, each of which is divided into four or five sections. These are uniformly two pages in length and include a manageable text, photographs, maps or charts, and five questions. If one class period is devoted to each lesson, it would require some ten weeks to complete the entire unit.
The publishers recommend this title for grades 5 through 7, and its reading level is appropriate for that age. Other intellectual demands, however, make the work more suited to junior high classes although enrichment would be needed for the more sophisticated pupils. Even taking the questions and activities into account, it does provide just the briefest summary of a vast subject. However, it is a well-organized overview from which students can build as they sift the unending and contradictory impressions reaching them through the mass media.
The book is sturdy, colourful, and well planned. It includes a good summary of contents, useful appendices, and an adequate index. A teacher's manual is now available. The price seems reasonable. A class set could provide the core material for a good two or three month unit in grades 6 to 8. Single copies are recommended for reference in elementary or junior secondary school libraries.
Howard Hurt, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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