The 1960's were a period of great change. Ontario was in a boom which have never been seen for or since. Large numbers of kids were still entering the schools as the baby boom continued unabated from its task of placing stress on our social institutions. The government of the day realized that in our society more education was needed for people to succeed. Thus the focus was turned to how to keep children in school. Textbooks
The Robarts Plan of 1962 changed Ontario Secondary Schools forever. This was done by the introduction of streaming. The Robarts Plan came into existence to keep more students in school. Between 1960 and 1971 the proportion of the age group 15-19 which remained in school rose from 62% to 77%. Thus by streaming and allowing a certain amount of choice vast numbers of students would otherwise have left remained to complete their high school degree. The teaching of history was affected in that everybody was not taught the same. Now there were classes which focused on the
teaching of history specifically to the students who did not intend to go on to University. The history of the four year program and the five year program were different. This created a great precedence for the future, as today the streams teach history very differently from each other.
In 1967 Interim Revision Introduction and Guide was published. The Guide was definitely a child of its era. "The Guide proselytised for the virtues of individualization, ungrading, flexible timetables which allowed for large blocks of time for activities and classrooms organized to promote a variety of simultaneous group and individual pursuits.
In 1965 a Provincial Committee on Aims and Objectives came began its work on changing the system. It was headed by two individuals Justice E. M. Hall and Lyodd A. Dennis. It reported its findings in 1968 in a book named Living and Learning. The report was only 200 pages long and had a plethora of pictures, drawings and children's artwork. This was in complete contrast to the Hope Document which was 900 pages long which had no photographs and the writing was boring and difficult to read. Living and Learning believed that "Education was about "self realization" and not about fitting individuals for pre-determined economic or social roles. In this respect, Hall-Dennis reflected the anti-technocratic, anti-traditionalist romantic impulses of the 1960's."(Gidney 1998:p.57)
Living and Learning (1968 ) attacked some of the teaching methods of the past. "The school's learning experiences are imposed, involuntary, and structured" students were a "captive audience." The pedagogy of the past was simply to stuff students with the content of arbitrarily defined subjects through methods emphasising mindless rote. The focus of the schools was to "learn how to learn."
To accomplish this, possible (because children learn at different speeds and have different interests Living and Learning (1968 ) states " the modern curriculum must be flexible, not only by providing options for pupils with different interests at more senior levels but by providing a learning experiences to meet the needs of individual young people at every level." Vocational, commercial, and academic subjects were to be open to all without restriction. Teachers were now seen as guides rather than authoritarian leader. Also "Because interest and active involvement is crucial to learning, such pedagogical techniques as projects, discovery methods, group work, individual research and joint teacher student planning were all appropriate. Meaningless exercises from textbooks, conventional drills, memory work, and other forms of rote were to be avoided." (Gidney 1998: p58.)
Living and Learning was a product of its time but it was also used to change the future of education in the province. The Hall- Dennis Report came out and focussed on child centred techniques. The memorization of facts was thus not the great basis of classes as it was before. The inquiry method was used a lot but in reality the Hall- Dennis report gave a lot of power to the teacher, so that there was an entire smorgasbord of different styles being taught as older teachers continued to teach the same way, and their younger peers took up the fight for progressivism.
McCarthy used Living and Learning in his creation of HS1 1969-1970 which created two schemes for organizing a high school, the old Robarts Plan and a new credit system. The credit system became mandatory for high schools in this province in 1972. What this meant was that the schools had to offer a wide array of courses to students. As long as the students obtained 27 credits, they would obtain a high school degree. A major flaw of the system was that students could graduate without ever having taking one English or Mathematics course. There was also a decrease in the number of mandatory history classes necessary to graduate from high school.
In 1974 the government implemented a compulsory core for students consisting of four credits in English and two in Canadian Studies. (OSSTF 1982) states that the number of mandatory history courses dropped from 4 to 2 in 1968 and then to 1 in 1971. The number of history classes compared to all classes dropped from 11.4% of all classes to 6.6%in 1981 in 1982. Of course the biggest drops occurred after the Hall Dennis Report.
What took the place of these history courses that were no longer being taken. Schools offered other courses which also taught inquiry and which more kids would study and thus stay in school. Remember this is the era of progressivism, the era of child centred learning. Courses were offered such as sociology, law, native studies et cetera.
Intermediate History guidelines in 1973 stated the key objectives as being that young people "enjoy the learning experience " and that the needs of the child take precedence over content. The acquisition of basic skills was listed last. 1977 Intermediate History guideline focused much more on the basic skills.
Also the creation of the feminist movement and the civil rights movement led to the sensitivity of issues toward these marginalized groups. The Hall- Dennis Report actually shows a number of women and minorities in its report. The textbooks of the era show that there is a definite shift to multiculturalism, and a search for the truth.
Don Santor spoke in the interview we had that the inquiry approach and skills needed for jobs, and critical thinking went hand in hand. Thus he believes that although the focus of what history should do changed in the time of OS:IS the effect on the teaching of history in this province was much the same. He also noted that after Hall- Dennis although there was a shift in the way history was to be taught it was still for the most part up to the teacher to get on the band wagon or not. Thus there was a great amount of variety of the way that history was taught around the province. Also Don noted that the teaching of other contemporary studies began to occur at a great magnitude at this time.
The history textbooks of the era were very much more fragmented than the very Anglo- Canadian views in the textbooks that were held in the pre-1968 period. This is because history was supposed to be objective and to interest every student in the classroom. Thus I as a Greek-Canadian would want to know how my parents helped create Canada and not learn only about some Anglo-Saxons with whom I have nothing in common. The textbook Many Cultures Many Heritages.(1975) can be seen as an average textbook of the era. It attempts to define Canada's History in the context of the large individual groups which came and settled. There is a complete chapter on each of the following groups and there existence in Canada.
The style of teaching in this book is inquiry, and the skills that went with it can be seen by pg. 17 below. Gone were the days of simple recall.