Sites for Discussion, Citizenship Education and Pathbuilding: Challenging the Fear of Controversy in the Adult EAL Classroom

Tara Gibb


This paper explores an integrated approach to citizenship education through English-as-an-Additional Language (EAL) instruction for adults who are new immigrants to Canada. Teaching for citizenship and participation in Canadian democractic processes sometimes involves discussing non-consensual issues such as same-sex unions, human rights, and religious freedoms. The result is discussions that can be fraught with conflict and tension, posing challenges and feelings of unease for teachers and learners. Therefore, an integrated approach to citizenship education also requires considering theories on dialogue and communicative engagement. Following a discussion on issues of citizenship education for newcomers to Canada and the possibilities of an integrated citizenship program, this paper concludes with a brief exploration of the work of Gloria Anzaldua and Susan Bickford for inspiration on ways to engage with non-consensual issues that pose challenges for EAL learners and teachers.

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