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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Parent-teacher associations : a study of the objectives and accomplishments of the P.T.A.'s with respect to citizenship education MacCullie, Andrew

Abstract

This study was undertaken to determine (a) the extent to which P.T.A's in the Vancouver area engage in activities designed to promote citizenship education for New Canadians and (b) the relative effectiveness and merit of citizenship programs by a comparison of what is being done with what might be accomplished. The study is based on (a) a questionnaire submitted to the 53 associations In Vancouver, (b) examination of records In the office of the Historian for P.T.A's and in the files of the Liaison Officer in Vancouver, and (c) on personal and telephone Interviews with executive officers of the associations and ethnic groups, with school principals and with officials of the Vancouver Council of P.T.A's. The questionnaire was designed to establish the different types of programs and projects used, and to find out, where applicable, the factors limiting their use. Interviews were used to gain information about program planning and association aims and purposes, with reference to whether or not these were oriented to citizenship education. Following a consideration of citizenship education from the viewpoint of implications for Canada as a nation, this study outlines briefly the history of the P.T.A. movement and then examines the focus of P.T.A. programs in the Vancouver area. These are found to centre around (a) interpretation of the school to parents; (b) parent-child relationship problems; (c) topics of current interest in the community and (d) programs portraying student skills and talents. Program planning is, with three exceptions, carried out with consideration for what is thought to be the purpose of the association and the predominating Interests of its members. Seventeen associations out of forty-five reporting, or 38%, do not use any citizenship programs or projects. The reasons given are (a) there are too few New Canadians in the area to warrant time being devoted to the subject and (b) there is no demand from their members for such programs. Three indicated they thought this was not a P.T.A. function. The remaining twenty-eight associations together devoted eighty hours or 6% of their total program time to citizenship activities. Of the twenty-eight, one association reported having devoted the full year's program to citizenship education for newcomers, using twenty hours. The programs used, in order of frequency, are: (a) Films about Canadian life and about other cultures; (b) social evenings and afternoon teas; (c) "New Canadians" evening and (d) plays, pageants or concerts. Examination of records and files showed a great variety of material available from which citizenship education programs could be readily developed. No appreciable cooperation was found to exist between P.T.A's and ethnic groups. This study indicates the need for cooperation and coordination amongst groups interested in citizenship education for newcomers. It is concluded that P.T.A's, organized as they are in practically every local school area, could plan effectively for programs and projects which would help newcomers get a better understanding of, and fit more easily and readily into, the community. Further study could be devoted, with profit, to the particular needs of each association with reference to the incidence of immigrant population and, consequently, the kinds of citizenship programs and projects most pertinent to each area.

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