Smothering othering: South Asian students in K-12 Canadian classrooms

Date created: 
Structural racism
Internalized oppression
Cultural proficiency
Anti-racism education

As a student, growing up and attending schools in Canada, I found that my racial and cultural identity and experiences were often ignored, questioned, trivialized and/or inferiorized by most of my teachers. Presently, as a teacher, I have born witness to the same type of behaviours within schools albeit, in more covert ways. Such continual oppressive practices prompted this study of how students of South Asian descent describe their educational experiences in K-12 Canadian classrooms. I conducted a qualitative study that was informed by Auto-ethnographic and Critical Ethnographic methods. I used semi-structured interviews to investigate both positive and negative experiences as well as the ways in which participants believed their racial identity may or may not have factored into their schooling. Data was examined using a thematic analysis approach. The themes that emerged were then analzyed through Critical Race Theory, Whiteness Theory, and Anti-racism education lenses. The findings uncovered oppressive practices that contribute to the disaffection of students as well as inclusive practices that lead to validation and engagement. It is hoped that the findings of this study will allow educators to analyze ways in which teacher behaviours and educational institutions perpetuate or combat racism and build or limit the empowerment of their students.

Document type: 
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
Senior supervisor: 
Dolores van der Wey
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.