Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Journal of Curriculum Studies 39:2 (2007), pp. 177–194.

doi: 10.1080/00220270600968658


Copyright © 2007 Taylor & Francis. Used by permission.


This study examines ways in which students’ experiences of a culturally sensitive curriculum may contribute to their developing sense of ethnic identity. It uses a narrative inquiry approach to explore students’ experiences of the interaction of culture and curriculum in a Canadian inner-city, middle-school context. It considers ways in which the curriculum may be interpreted as the intersection of the students’ home and school cultures. Teachers, administrators, and other members of the school community made efforts to be accepting of the diverse ethnic, linguistic, and religious backgrounds that students brought to the school. However, examination of students’ experiences of school curriculum events and activities revealed ways in which balancing affiliation to their home cultures while at the same time abiding by expectations of their teachers and peers in their school context could be difficult. The stories highlight ways in which curriculum activities and events may contribute to shaping the ethnic identity of students in ways not anticipated by teachers, administrators, and policy-makers.