1.5 generation immigrant

An individual who immigrated to Canada as a young child and had a substantial amount of early schooling in Canada.

academic capitalism

Term that describes national-level policies that favour industrial research collaborations, often undertaken at the cost of revenues directed toward undergraduate education.

academic dishonesty

More commonly referred to as cheating, including plagiarism; a symptom of student disengagement

academic entitlement

The attitude that students are owed something other than what they earn through their own effort; often associated with the paying of high rates of tuition.

academic freedom

The ability of researchers to teach, conduct research, publish, and communicate their academic findings and ideas without being at risk of losing their jobs or being otherwise penalized if their results are deemed controversial. In universities, tenure is a mechanism that ensures academic freedom for faculty members.

accomodation stage

Third stage of multicultural education in Canada in which attention shifted toward promotion of equal opportunity for all races and cultures.

achieved characteristics

Those features that are earned or chosen through individual effort, such as personal skills and occupational designations.

achievement gap

The difference between two groups of students’ achievement; usually in reference to differences in achievements between racial minorities and the dominant racial group, or the difference between the achievement of students from lower social class backgrounds and those from middle- and upper-class backgrounds.

adaptation stage

The second stage of multicultural education in Canada in which cultural differences were regarded as " exotic."

adult education

The participation in education by the adult population aged between 25 and 64 who are not in the initial cycle of their education; also known as adult learning.


It is the mission of the Attawapiskat First Nation Education Authority to have its students graduate with pride in themselves, and in their First Nation culture and heritage, and with those spiritual, emotional, physical and mental skills, that will enable them to seek out and access relevant information, to enable them to become decision makers, problem solvers, lifelong learners and caring and contributing members of their communities.

age cohort

A group of people in society who were born at around the same time.


Refers to the individual’s ability to act and make independent choices.

alternative school

A school that differs somehow in its delivery of education from mainstream public schools; can be private or exist within the public school system. Usually emphasizes particular languages, cultures, or subject matter, or uses a specific teaching philosophy, or gears its
approach toward high-risk children and youth.

alternative ways of knowing

World views that are different than the dominant Western scientific manner in which knowledge is acquired in Canada (and elsewhere).

anti-racist pedagogy

A teaching approach that promotes an effective multicultural curriculum because it requires teachers and students to recognize how White privilege has increased their life chances.

apprenticeship programs

Programs oriented toward training people in the skills of a trade; a young person works for an employer while being taught the skills of the trade while learning on the job.

ascribed characteristics

Those features of individuals with which they are born, such as the race, sex, and the social class of one’s family.

Assembly First Nations

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national advocacy organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada, which includes more than 900,000 people living in 634 First Nation communities and in cities and towns across the country.

assimilation stage

The first stage of development of multicultural education in Canada which required all Canadians to adopt an Ango- dominant culture.

assimilation theory

A linear approach to understanding how immigrants integrate, that assumes there is a fairly straightforward relationship between how long an immigrant group spends in the host country and the adaptation of its members—both within and between generations.

Attawapiskat First Nation

An isolated fly in community, located in the James Bay region of Northern Ontario

behavioural conformity

A dimension of socialization including the self-regulations of the body required of students to fit into the school environment, such as raising a hand or sitting still.


A two-tiered governance structure; in public universities the tiers include a board of governors and a senate.

bonding capital

A type of social capital that is “exclusive” in the sense that it occurs within established groups in order to reinforce group solidarity.

brain drain

The phenomenon of highly educated graduates leaving and emigrating from their countries of origin elsewhere

brain gain

The situation of an immigrant-receiving country benefiting from the entry of highly educated immigrants.

brain waste

The underutilization of the skill sets of new immigrants.


The process of creating a public image that is advertised and associated with a specific product or service.

bridging capital

A type of social capital that is “inclusive” in that it is used for information diffusion and linkage to other groups.


An administrative structure that follows a clear hierarchical structure and follows very specific rules and chains of command.

Calls to Action

The TRC proposed 94 actions, calling on all levels of government to work together to repair the harm caused by residential schools and advance the process of reconciliation.

career colleges

Colleges operated on a for-profit basis that usually offer certificates and diplomas oriented toward professional development.

charter school

A special type of alternative school that is a semi-autonomous, tuition-free public institution that is unique in that it organizes the delivery of education in a specialized way that is thought to enhance student learning; in Canada, charter schools exist only in Alberta, and have been part of that province’s education system since 1994.

child in care

A minor who has been removed from his or her family by provincial child protective services; the provincial or territorial jurisdiction has assumed responsibility for the minor.


In ecological systems theory, the socio-historical changes and major events that influence the world.


How gender, race and ethnicity relate to patterns of social advantage and disadvantage.

Common School Act

The hostility between Canada and the US during the war of 1812 instituted the establishment of centralized regulation of elementary education; in an effort to ensure Upper Canadian children attained an education within their district to maintain attachment to their native land and british heritage (Di Mascio 2010)

common schooling

The name given to free schooling available to those who could not afford the tuition of grammar schools. This type of schooling was stigmatized as being oriented toward the lower social classes.

comprehensive university

Institution that has a wide range of programs at both the undergraduate and post-graduate levels, and also has a high degree of research activity.

continuing education

Another term for adult learning, usually referring to professional development; many universities have established faculties of continuing education that offer learning opportunities to workers in all types of sectors, such as from government, health-related professions, and trade unions.

correspondence principle

The idea that the education system is set up to serve (or correspond to) the class-based system so that classes are reproduced and so that elites maintain their positions.

credential inflation

The decreasing value of the expected advantage associated with educational qualifications over time; for example, the notion that a bachelor’s degree is now equivalent to what a high school diploma used to be.


The requirement of obtaining specific qualifications for membership in particular groups; the actual skills obtained through these credentials are often not explicitly associated with the job’s task.


1. Asking questions about whether arguments are based on evidence or biases, AND questioning an empiricist orientation that says WHAT is happening, not WHY
2. Questioning the basic values that lie behind dominant ideologies and discourses that inform scholarly thinking
3. Being self-reflexive and acknowledging that “all knowledge is contextual and subjective”
4. Questioning issues of power, for example: [understanding how organized groups, federal legislation, professional associations and policy makers in power affect decisions regarding equity; such as resource allocation, methods of testing, and curricular standards of the education system].
5. .Considering possibilities for social change by exemplifying an activist orientation towards transforming the [education system and society at large].

critical pedagogy

The general philosophy of teaching that recognizes and attempts to rid the classroom and teacher–student interactions of relationships and practices that perpetuate inequalities.

critical race theory

A theory that puts race at the centre of analysis and examines how race is embedded in various aspects of social life, including education; does not assert that race is the only thing that matters, but that race intersects with many other important factors that determine life chances, such as class and gender.

cultural capital

A term associated with the work of Pierre Bourdieu that refers to the high-status cultural knowledge possessed by individuals that is acquired by experience and familiarity with high-culture activities, such as going to the opera, ballet, or theatre as well as the appreciation of art, literature, and classical music and theatre attendance.

cultural conformity

The dimension of socialization in which children learn about accepted perspectives and “styles” of expression, which reflect normative cultural values.

cultural hegemony

The popular beliefs and values in a culture that reflect the ideology of powerful members of society; these values are used to legitimate existing social structures and relationships.

cultural reproduction

The process by which cultural capital is maintained in which high status classes reward individuals who exhibit the traits and possess the knowledge of the upper class, therefore maintaining their power.

default individualization

Occurs when individuals are passive about decisions made about their life trajectories and allow others (possibly parents) to make decisions for them.

degree-granting institutions

Post-secondary institutions that are deemed eligible to grant bachelor degrees.

developmental individualization

A path characterized by active and strategic pursuit of individual adult identity.


An Act respecting the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

digital natives

Individuals who grew up with high-tech devices and started interacting with such devices at an early age; the assumption is that such individuals are inherently comfortable with technology and even seek out ways to incorporate technology into their everyday lives.

District School Act

In 1807 the District School Act introduced the first official action in government- aided schooling;  formally providing funding for one school in each district.

early childhood interventions

Programs that serve to help children who have a number of risk factors to become more school ready.

ecological systems theory

A theory by Bronfenbrenner that asserts that child outcomes are the results of the many reciprocal effects between the child and his or her environment; for example, how children are treated by parents and by their peers has a strong influence on their development.

economic capital

Characteristics that are quickly and relatively easily converted into money, such as educational attainment, job skills, and job experience.

Education Act

A detailed legal document that outlines how education will be organized and delivered in each jurisdiction, along with student eligibility criteria, duties of employees (teachers, principals, superintendents, and support staff), accountability measures, and different types of programs available.

educational achievement

The extent to which a student does well in school; often assessed in terms of grades or scores on standardized tests.

educational attainment

The highest level of education an individual acquires; often assessed in terms of whether a person goes on to post-secondary education or not.

Egerton Ryerson

He helped found and edit the Christian Guardian (1829), founded Upper Canada Academy (1836) and became the first principal of Victoria College (1841). He was known as a supporter of religious freedom and as the founder of the public education system in Ontario.

emerging adulthood

Term used to describe the transition to adulthood in today’s society, whereby youth has been extended into a particular lifestyle in which individuals explore their identities, focus on themselves, and experience much instability in their lives.


A branch of philosophy that studies knowledge, including how we pursue knowledge.

ethnic capital

The overall educational and income levels of particular ethnic groups, which are thought to be able to enhance life outcomes of children of immigrants.


native to or derived from Europe


In ecological systems theory, the people and places with which individuals may not be directly involved but by which they are still impacted; for example, the effect a parent’s workplace may have on a child.

experiential learning

A set of educational practices that involve work placements, allowing students to obtain a set of skills that can be acquired only through exposure to the work environment; also referred to as co-operative education.

fee differential

A higher rate of tuition that is paid by international students in public institutions.

feminist standpoint theory

A theory that calls for a sociology from the standpoint of women and focusing on the settings, social relations, and activities of women that are their own lived realities.

feminization of schooling

The argument that because school teachers are almost exclusively female, schools are a place where male interests are not cultivated.

feminization of the teaching corps

The historical increase of women in teaching not only in Canada, but in the Western world; reason may include the absence of other opportunities, the expansion of schooling, urbanization, and gender stereotypes.

first generation immigrant

An individual who was born outside of Canada.

forgotten half

The approximate half of Canadian youth who do not desire post-secondary education or who do not finish the programs they began.

formal adult education

Adult learning that occurs in a structured manner and leads to formal credentials, such as degrees, certificates, or diplomas.

formative assessment

Ungraded feedback that teachers receive from students during the course of learning material that gives indication as to how the students understand the content; examples include drafts of essays or journal reflections.

Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute is an independent conservative think tank that produces research about government actions in areas that deeply affect Canadians’ quality of life such as taxation, health care, aboriginal issues, education, economic freedom, energy, natural resources and the environment.

Free School Act

created state-subsidized public schools.

French immersion

Programs for students whose first language is English, in which all classes are taught in French; available in all jurisdictions, except New Brunswick.


Individuals who complete high school and then enter the labour force for some time before continuing with their education.

gay-straight alliances

Student organizations in North American schools (including universities) that serve to create a positive environment for students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or queer.

global education

The delivery of education in a way that recognizes the context of subjects in a broader geographical framework than simply the one in which the students and teachers live.


The increasing economic, technological, cultural, and migratory linkages of countries throughout the world.

grade inflation

An increase in overall scores being given to work that in the past would have received lower grades; also characterized by a shift in attitude whereby a grade of “A” meant “excellent” in previous generations but is now considered “respectable.”

gross domestic product

The total value of goods and services produced within a country.


The bias toward heterosexuality as the social norm, and a general negativity toward or avoidance of a discussion of same-sex sexuality.

hidden curriculum

The method by which schools are able to reproduce the class system; the subtle ways that students are taught to be co-operative members of the class system.

high-stakes exams

Standarized tests administered in the senior years in secondary school that are incorporated into students’ final grades and graduation.

home schooling

An approach to education in which children do not attend school but are educated at home, usually by a parent; in the majority of jurisdictions home schooled students must be registered with the department of education.

honour codes

Pledges that new students make upon joining a new academic community and include statements regarding academic honesty.

horizontal mismatch

A situation in which an employee’s field of study and job do not match.

identity capital theory

A term associated with the work of Côté about current trends in the transition to adulthood that regards the current process as a very individualized experience, characterized by a series of personal preferences and choices.


Ways of understanding the nature of global citizenship and providing a rationale for promoting such a world view that takes larger social and political circumstances into account.

in-school employment

Employment that students juggle with their academic schedules and that often impacts on academic performance.


Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) is one of 34 federal government departments responsible for meeting the Government of Canada's obligations and commitments to First Nations, Inuit and Métis, and for fulfilling the federal government's constitutional responsibilities in the North.

inclusive education

Approach in which special needs students are educated in the same classroom as their age-similar peers, often with additional supports (such as a teaching assistant).

incorporation stage

Fourth stage of multicultural education in which attention shifted toward promotion of intergroup relations.

Indian Act

The Indian Act is the principal statute through which the federal government administers Indian status, local First Nations governments and the management of reserve land and communal monies. It was first introduced in 1876 as a consolidation of previous colonial ordinances that aimed to eradicate First Nations culture in favour of assimilation into Euro-Canadian society. The Act has been amended several times, most significantly in 1951 and 1985, with changes mainly focusing on the removal of particularly discriminatory sections. The Indian Act pertains only to First Nations peoples, not to the Métis or Inuit. It is an evolving, paradoxical document that has enabled trauma, human rights violations and social and cultural disruption for generations of First Nations peoples. The Act also outlines governmental obligations to First Nations peoples, and determines “status” — a legal recognition of a person’s First Nations heritage, which affords certain rights such as the right to live on reserve land.

Indigenous Affairs and Northern Development

Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) continues to renew the nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown, government-to-government relationship between Canada and First Nations, Inuit and Métis; modernize Government of Canada structures to enable Indigenous peoples to build capacity and support their vision of self-determination; and lead the Government of Canada's work in the North.

Indigenous Ways of Knowing

l term that recognizes the beautiful complexity and diversity of Indigenous ways of learning and teaching. Many people continue to generalize Indigenous experience and lived realities. The intent of the phrase "Indigenous Ways of Knowing" is to help educate people about the vast variety of knowledge that exists across diverse Indigenous communities. It also signals that Indigenous People don't just learn from human interaction and relationships. All elements of creation can be used as a method of teaching, from the plant and animal nations, to the "objects" that many people consider to be inanimate.


Indspire is an Indigenous national charity that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people for the long-term benefit of these individuals, their families and communities, and Canada.

institutional theory

The notion that the expansion in education is related to the democratic  belief in the good of expanding education rather than actual demand for the levels of training.

intangible assets

Those assets within identity capital that largely relate to psychological factors, such as the ability to self-regulate, strength of ego, and critical thinking skills.

integration stage

The fifth and final stage of multicultural education. This stage focuses on a dominant worldview using a critical race pedagogy and anti- racist education.

intellectual disabilities

A general term that refers to impairments in cognitive functioning that is used to replace terms such as “developmental disabilities,” “mental retardation,” and “learning disabilities.”

intercultural competence

The ability to successfully teach and communicate with students from cultures other than one’s own.

intercultural education

Intercultural Education is the response to classroom diversity aiming to go beyond passive coexistence, to achieve a developing and sustainable way of living together in multicultural societies through the creation of understanding of, respect for and α productive dialogue between the different groups

intergenerational effects of residential schooling

The effects on the community, children, and grandchildren of those who attended Aboriginal residential schools, including emotional distance, cultural alienation, the impact on parenting skills, and an increased risk of poverty.


The process of creating co-operation and activities between national borders;  in terms of education, the process of creating linkages between educational institutions and people that span across borders.


The belief that how we understand society is fundamentally different from the natural sciences and that it is wholly inappropriate to study society in similar manners; contrary to positivism.

involuntary minorities

Those who are minorities due to historical circumstances under which they were conquered and enslaved.

job–education mismatch

Employment situations where the education and training of the employee do not match his or her qualifications.

knowledge economy

Term referring to the continuously adapting society characterized by a large proportion of jobs based upon the skills of highly educated and technically proficient employees; often invoked to discuss education, life-long learning, employment, and skills training programs.

low income cut-offs (LICO)

A measure employed by Statistics Canada that considers income, rural/urban location, region, and family size to identify the threshold beyond which a family will devote a significant proportion of its income to the necessities of life, such as food and shelter, compared to other families.

macrosocial theory

A theory that focuses on society at the level of social structures and populations; also often referred to as grand theories.


In ecological systems theory, the larger environment in which individuals live—urban or rural, developed or underdeveloped, democratic or non-democratic, multicultural or not, for example.

Manitoba Schools Question

As a result of the Manitoba School Act of 1890, Manitoba's dual system of denominational schools was replaced by a non-sectarian public school system. Representatives of the French and English-speaking Catholic minorities protested the change, claiming that their right to publicly financed denominational schools had been infringed upon.

massification of education

The increased post-secondary enrolments associated with the cultural belief that having a degree is essential for getting any kind of “good” job.

mature students

Individuals aged 21 or older without high school diplomas who enter post-secondary institutions such as college and university; assessed for admission in a different manner than regular applicants, with work experience and academic potential taken into account.

medical doctoral university

Institution that offers PhD programs in addition to a medical school.


example of glossary term

mesosocial theory

A theory that occupies a position between the macro and micro, directing its attentions to the rule of social organizations and social institutions in society, such as schools and communities.


In ecological systems theory, the ways in which various microsystems connect to one another; for example,  how children’s interactions with their parents may carry over into how they interact with their teachers.

microsocial theory

A theory focused on individuals and individual action, such as the individual experiences of students.


In ecological systems theory, immediate setting in which the individual lives and his or her individual experiences with family members, caregivers, friends, teachers, and others; also includes the biological makeup of the individual.

middle-range theory

A theory that focuses on specific aspects of social life and sociological topics that can be tested with empirical hypotheses.

moral conformity

The process of a student internalizing the preferred understanding of what is right and wrong; accomplished through teachers emphasizing the desirability of certain virtues, such as hard work, equity, being “nice,” and so on.

moral panic

The social phenomenon of mass attention being given to topics that appear to threaten the established social order; the underachievement of boys is an example.

multi-purpose college

A college that offers a range of programs varying from one to three years in duration.


Initialism for “not in education, employment, or training”; refers to economically inactive youth and young adults.


An ideology that emphasizes the understanding of the world as a vast market and advocates the reduction of public spending and promotion of reliance on private enterprise within a global economy; characterized as a resurgence of classical liberalism that was the foundation of the free-market economy.

non- sectarian public schools

Public schools or schools not affiliated with a specific religious denomination

non-denominational public schools

Schools that are not oriented toward any particular religion.

non-formal adult education

Organized learning activities that do not result in formal credentials, such as workshops and seminars.

normal school

The first teacher-training institutions in the nineteenth century, named from the écoles normales originally established in France to train teachers; refers to the approach that set the “norms” or standards for student teachers.

Ontario School Act

Legislation passed in 1871, which authorized free compulsory elementary schooling in government- inspected schools be universally available.

Ontario Schools Question

The Ontario schools question was the first major schools issue to focus on language rather than religion.


A branch of philosophy that considers the way we understand the nature of reality.

opportunity cost

The benefits that have to be forgone in order to pursue the activity of choice, such as forgoing potential earnings from full-time work while pursuing educational credentials.


of or relating to a parish as a unit of local government

peer group

Individuals of a similar age and social identity; in school, the peer group is typically a child’s classmates in younger years and then becomes more specific to particular adolescent subgroups in the teenage years.

peer rejection

The failure of children to be socially accepted by their peers.

peer victimization

The physical and emotional abuse experienced by children from other children—otherwise known as bullying.

per-pupil amount

A fixed amount of public money for each student enrolled in a school (or, in secondary school, may be associated with number of credit hours in which the student is enrolled).


A branch of philosophy that concentrates on the study of consciousness and the objects of direct experience.


The belief that the social world should be studied in a similar manner to the scientific world; contrary to interpretivism.

postmodern feminism

The critical feminist scholarship of third wave feminism that frequently scrutinizes the meaning surrounding gender and how power relations play themselves out in subtle ways.


A wide collection of theories reacting to structural functionalism that favour the importance of social structures in explanation of social life over individual action;  associated with the writings of French philosophers, such as Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault, whose only main agreement was that structuralism was flawed.

precarious legal status

The circumstances in which individuals do not have full legal entitlements to live in Canada, and are often driven into hiding due to fear of being deported.

primarily undergraduate university

Institution that focuses on undergraduate degrees (mostly bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees) and has few or no graduate program offerings.

primary effects

According to Boudon, the differences between classes and educational attainment that relate directly to academic performance; dependent on characteristics of the family of origin, such as wealth, material conditions, and socialization.

primary socialization

Socialization that occurs within the family, where children first learn their own individual identity, acquire language, and develop cognitive skills.

private schools

Schools that are owned and operated outside of the public authority, which do not receive (complete) funding from any government sources, and can select their own students and charge tuition; in general, private schools that receive no government funding are not required to follow the provincial or territorial curriculum.

private universities and colleges

Institutions that do not receive public funding; there are relatively few private universities in Canada, compared to the United States. Tuition at private universities and colleges is generally much higher than at public institutions.

progressive education movement

A pedagogical approach beginning in the 1930s  that prioritized experiential learning (i.e., learning through doing and experiencing) over the amassing and memorizing of facts.

public–private partnerships (P3s)

Contracts between the public and private sectors in which investments are made by the private sector into a good that will be offered to the public.

Quiet Revolution

A period during the 1960s in Quebec, marked by secularism, educational reforms, and rising support for separation from the rest of Canada.


The process by which various groups are differentially organized in the social order  and exist within hierarchies of power that value the identity and characteristics of one group over all others.


The process in which society became more secular, scientific knowledge began to develop, and an increasing reliance on scientific and technological explanations began to emerge and more and more social actions were the outcome of beliefs related to scientific thought instead of customs or religious belief.

resistance theory

A reinterpretation of rule breaking or delinquency as acts of class-based resistance in which marginalized students do not comply with the values, discipline, and expected behaviours of middle-class school structures; resisting behaviours also serve to reproduce class position—preventing the acquisition of the skills and training required for jobs outside the realm of manual labour.

risk factors

Characteristics that have a tendency to be associated with poor school readiness and negative educational and developmental outcomes.

School Act 1850

The School Act of 1850 helped clarify what was meant by the phrase "free education" by requiring all property owners to share the burden of the cost of education. If education was to be free, it had to be available to those who had previously been unable to afford the cost or the loss of their children's labour on the farm.

school boards

Local units of school governance, also called school divisions, school districts, or district education councils; usually include the administration of a group of schools (including the financial aspects), setting of school policies, hiring of teachers, curriculum implementation, and decisions surrounding new major expenditures.

school bond

A commitment to one’s school and education; associated with protecting children from the influence of delinquent peers and reducing early aggression in young students.

school choice

The freedom that parents (and students) have in selecting the type of school that their children attend free from government constraint, whether it is public, alternative, charter, religious, or private.

school climate

The sense of belonging to a school community; can influence behavioural outcomes in students.

school councils

Group made up of parent volunteers, teachers, non-teaching staff, community members, and sometimes students who provide recommendations to the school principal and in some cases the school board.

school governance

The way that a school system is governed, or run.

school readiness

A child’s developmental stage at which he or she is able to participate in and benefit from early learning experiences; often lacking in low-income children.

school trustees

locally elected officials, who run during municipal elections, to staff local educational governance.

second chancers

Individuals who have dropped out of high school but return to education at some later point in time.

second generation immigrant

An individual who was born in Canada but has at least one parent who was born outside of Canada.

secondary effects

According to Boudon, the differences between the classes and educational attainment that relate to educational choices irrespective of educational performance, such as choosing apprenticeship over university, regardless of achievement in secondary school.

secondary socialization

The social learning that children undergo when they enter other social institutions, such as school.

segmented assimilation theory

A theory that differs from the linear trajectory approach because it assumes that different immigrant groups will have different paths to assimilation.

self-fulfilling prophecy

Concept in social psychology in which preconceived ideas about how someone will act cause that person to act in such a way, even if the belief about that person was initially
incorrect; in the context of education, the expectations that teachers have about their students influence how they behaved toward them, which in turn, influences students’ motivation and performance.

separate school boards

Denominationally based school boards, usually associated with the Catholic faith, although a handful of Protestant school boards do exist; have their origin in the British North America Act of 1867, which provided some protection for denominational schools that existed prior to Confederation. The Protestant school boards in English Canada largely moved into the secular school system.

Shannen Koostachin

A well- known teen activist from Attawapiskat who became the face of the government's failure to deliver the promised school in 2008.

Shannen's Dream

Shannen Koostachin was a teenager from Attawapiskat who wondered why her education was so pitiful compared to other Canadian students. Shannen unfortunately died in a car accident in May 2010, but her dream is alive and well and now there might just be some action to actually back up that principle of equal education for native children.

social capital

The networks and individual relationships that potentially lead to access to resources.

social competence

The skills that allow an individual to function within society; in the school setting, it is achieved when students embrace and achieve socially sanctioned goals.

social mobility

The ability of individuals to move from one social class to another.


The ongoing process of learning the expected behaviours, values, norms, and social skills of individuals who occupy particular roles in society.

socioeconomic status

The income of a family, but also other factors that determine how much income a family can make, such as level of education of parents and their occupations; has been shown repeatedly to be one of the strongest indicators of a child’s educational outcomes.

sociology of education

A branch of sociology that studies how social structures affect education as well as the various outcomes of education.

soft skills

Skills in communication, leadership, teamwork, interpersonal skills, and problem solving.

special purpose college

A college that only offers programs in a specific area of study.

special purpose university

Institution that specializes in a particular field of study, awarding most degrees in a specific field.

standardized testing

The process of giving the same curriculum-based test to all students at a particular level in a particular jurisdiction.

state ideological apparatus

The social structures that reproduce the social order of the ruling class in Althusser’s theory of ideology; the education system, along with religion, the law, the media are the forces within this apparatus.


An identifier that serves to divide society into groups with competing interests; associated with honour and privilege, independent of class membership.

status groups

Moral communities concerned with upholding the privilege of their members in society; membership is often limited based on credentials and such groups work against class unification by cutting across classes.


The series of courses a student should take that best matches his or her abilities and aptitudes; also known as tracking.

structural functionalism

A body of theories that understand the world as a large system of interrelated parts that all work together.


Refers to aspects of the social landscape that appear to limit or influence the choices made by individuals.

student engagement

The amount of time and effort that students put into their studies.

summative assessment

Tools used for evaluation at the end of a unit and that take the form of quizzes, tests, essays, or projects


The chief executive officer of a school board; not a member of the school board but he or she oversees the general supervision of the school system and implements policies that the board recommends.

symbolic interaction theory

A theory that asserts that the world is constructed through meanings that individuals attach to social interactions.

tangible assets

Those assets that are socially visible for all to see, such as credentials, network memberships, and “personal deportment.”

teaching to the test

The practice in which teachers focus on materials similar to upcoming assessment because of administrative pressure to increase student scores on standardized tests.


The process by which junior professors are found to meet the rigorous requirements of a given institution in the fields of teaching, research, and university service, and are granted permanent status wherein they cannot be dismissed without just cause.

The British North America Act

The Constitution Act, 1867 was originally known as the British North America Act (BNA Act). It was the law passed by the British Parliament on 29 March 1867 to create the Dominion of Canada. It came into effect on 1 July 1867. The Act is the foundational document of Canada’s Constitution. It outlines the structure of government in Canada and the distribution of powers between the central Parliament and the provincial legislatures.

third-or-higher generation immigrant

An individual whose parents were born in Canada.

traditional special education

Approach in which the education of special needs students occurs away from the “regular classroom” by specialist teachers.

transition typologies

The ways of organizing or dividing up countries by particular features that may help in explaining the different process of school-to-work transitions. These typologies are generally ideal types in the sense that they make sense theoretically but in practice rarely work to explain things so tidily.

transnational education

Describes the educational arrangement where students are physically located in a different country than the credential-awarding institution.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) provided those directly or indirectly affected by the legacy of the Indian Residential Schools system with an opportunity to share their stories and experiences.In order to redress the legacy of residential schools and
advance the process of Canadian reconciliation, the Truth
and Reconciliation Commission makes 94 calls to action.

two- tier system

2 separate levels of education. Tier One schools retain only students that meet high academic and behavioural standards, while the second tier would be universally accessible.



The belief in the absolute authority of the Catholic Church and the Pope; dominant perspective in nineteenth-century Quebec.

University of Toronto

Founded in 1827, the University of Toronto has evolved into Canada’s leading post- secondary institution of learning, discovery and knowledge creation


Home-based education without curriculum, schedules, tests, or grades; the approach is entirely child-led and topics are pursued as children show interest in them.

vertical mismatch

Situation in which years of education needed for a job relative to years of education possessed by the employee do not match.

visible minority

A group of people who are visibly not of the same race as the “majority” of people in a country.

vocational training

Multi-year program of study that provides instruction in a skill or trade and  that leads a student to a job in that particular skill or trade; often a precursor to an apprenticeship program.


The shift in universities from providing a liberal education to a focus on marketable skills and training; observed in the increased offering of diplomas and certificates (rather than degrees) in various fields that presumably signal training in a particular set of skills.

voluntary minorities

Those minorities who have immigrated to a host country, usually with the intention of starting a better life or giving their children greater opportunities.

voluntary schools

Schools that required fees (in contrast to common schools) and often required boarding, catering to the upper social classes.

War of 1812

The War of 1812 (which lasted from 1812 to 1814) was a military conflict between the United States and Great Britain. As a colony of Great Britain, Canada was swept up in the War of 1812 and was invaded several times by the Americans. The war was fought in Upper Canada, Lower Canada, on the Great Lakes and the Atlantic, and in the United States. The peace treaty of Ghent (1814), which ended the war, largely returned the status quo (March and Burton 2012).

zero tolerance policies

Policy in which specific code infractions result in immediate punishment, usually in the form of suspension or expulsion, and sometimes involving the police.


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Critical Indigenous Perspectives on the Sociology of Education in Canada Copyright © 2021 by Jeremie Caribou; Esmée Colbourne; Meghan Gaudette; Jacqui Gingras; and Savannah Louis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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