York U Faculty collaborate with the Toronto Catholic District School Board on Filipino Curriculum

The PASSOC team

Over the last month, faculty associates from the York Centre for Asian Research, professors from York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and the School of the Arts, Media, Production & Design, along with teachers and staff from the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) have begun a new collaboration to develop school curriculum material focused on the Philippines and Filipino migrations.

The Philippine Arts and Social Studies in the Ontario Curriculum (PASSOC) project aims to develop new learning materials for Grades 6 to 8 that reflect Filipino identities and experiences.

The PASSOC team
Above: Front row, from left, Professor Philip Kelly, Geography, LAPS
Jennilee Santican, (St Maria Goretti); Michelle Aglipay, (St Brigid); Patt Olivieri, (Curriculum Leadership & Innovation, TCDSB); Professor Ethel Tungohan, Political Science and Social Science, LAPS. Back row, from left, Marissa Largo, (Mary Ward); Jodelyn Huang (TCDSB Community Relations Officer); Merle Gonsalvez, (St Ursula); Christella Duplessis-Sutherland (St Timothy); Professor Patrick Alcedo, Dance, AMPD Fredeliza de Jesus, (St Paul)

York Geography Professor Philip Kelly initiated the project after earlier studies showed that some Filipino students experience anomalously poor educational outcomes. He notes that his collaborative research with the Filipino community has suggested that one way of addressing the issue is through greater recognition and affirmation for Filipino students in the classroom.

Kelly points out there is an urgent need to address this issue because almost one fifth of all new immigrants to Canada in 2015 were from the Philippines, meaning that Filipino students will continue to be a source of enrolment growth for school boards, especially in the Catholic system. The project has received strong support from the TCDSB through Associate Director Rory McGuckin, Superintendent of Student Success Nick D’Avella and Community Relations Officer Jodelyn Huang.

To increase representation of the Philippines and the Filipino diaspora in the Ontario curriculum, the PASSOC project is building content in three subject areas: Social Science in Grade 6; Dance in the Grade 6 to 8 Arts curriculum; and Geography in Grade 8. Curriculum development for each module is being undertaken by subject experts at York University in collaboration with the classroom expertise of TCDSB teachers. The project is being advised and coordinated by Marissa Largo, an artist, educator and curriculum designer at Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School.

Above: From left, Fredeliza de Jesus, (St Paul) with Jennilee Santican, (St Maria Goretti)
Above: From left, Fredeliza de Jesus, (St Paul) with Jennilee Santican, (St Maria Goretti)

York U Assistant Professor of Political Science and Social Science Ethel Tungohan is working with TCDSB teachers Fredeliza de Jesus (St. Paul Catholic School) and Jennilee Santican (St. Maria Goretti) on developing Philippine content for Grade 6 Social Studies. To contribute to the theme of diversity in Canada in the Ontario curriculum, they are focusing on Filipino immigration to Canada, experiences of settlement, the meaning of Filipino-Canadian identity and the ways in which ties are maintained with the Philippines.

York U Associate Professor of Dance Patrick Alcedo is collaborating with Merle Gonsalvez (St. Ursula) and Christella Duplessis-Sutherland (St. Timothy) on the dance curriculum. The dance section of PASSOC will explore the sociocultural and historical contexts of Philippine dances such as Tinikling, Salidsid, Timawa and Malong, allowing students to reflect on diverse regions and cultural influences in the Philippines.

Kelly is leading the Grade 8 Geography curriculum in collaboration with Michelle Aglipay (St. Brigid) and Patt Olivieri (Curriculum Leadership & Innovation, TCDSB). This segment of the PASSOC project contributes to the Ontario curriculum themes of urban settlement, sustainability, economic development and global inequality. Kelly, Aglipay and Olivieri are specifically focusing on curriculum content that draws connections between migration, remittances, development and inequality in the Philippines.

By presenting the Philippines and the Filipino diaspora as complex, engaging and important topics of study, the PASSOC team is aiming to provide curriculum content that will enable culturally relevant pedagogy, especially in schools with large Filipino student populations. The project is funded by Canadian Heritage Canada 150 Fund, the Toronto Catholic District School Board and the York Centre for Asian Research. The curriculum packs will be made available online in September 2017.

For more information about the PASSOC project contact Kelly at pfkelly@yorku.ca