Educators Responding to Rapid Demographic Change in New Brunswick: “It is not Inclusion if They Are Just Sitting in the Desk”

  • Lyle Hamm University of New Brunswick
  • Matt Maston Mount Allison University
  • John McLoughlin University of New Brunswick
  • Jeremy Smith University of New Brunswick

Abstract

New Brunswick has experienced a decline in population in recent years. Successive governments are attempting to increase its population through various population and economic strategies, including immigration. Our research investigates how New Brunswick educators and school leaders are responding to the demographic changes in their schools and communities. Guided by constructivist epistemology, we analyzed qualitative data (i.e. surveys, focus group and individual interviews, public policy and school documentation, and extensive field notes) from case studies in two New Brunswick high schools in neighboring communities that confronted rapid demographic change the past five years. Six main themes were constructed from the data sources we analyzed. The themes are further described and relate to: Educational Challenges; Stress and Anxiety; The School Environment; The Education System; Sustainable Professional Development; and Fostering Positive Relationships. From these themes, we construct several suggestions for better pedagogical and leadership practices in demographically changing schools in New Brunswick. As New Brunswick continues to welcome people from all over the world, it is imperative that educators, school leaders, public policy-makers, and community members work closely and collaboratively to support population and economic growth in all sectors, and ensure all new Canadians feel welcome and a sense of belonging within the province.

Key words: New Brunswick, Immigration, Demographic Change, Diversity, Intercultural Leadership, Citizenship Education, Social Justice, Social Action

La population du Nouveau-Brunswick a connu un déclin au cours des dernières années. Les gouvernements successifs tentent d'augmenter sa population par diverses stratégies démographiques et économiques, dont l'immigration. Notre recherche examine la réaction des éducateurs et des dirigeants scolaires du Nouveau-Brunswick aux changements démographiques dans leurs écoles et leurs communautés. Guidés par l'épistémologie constructiviste, nous avons analysé des données qualitatives (c'est-à-dire des sondages, des entretiens individuels et de groupe, de la documentation sur les politiques publiques et les écoles, et des notes détaillées prises sur le terrain) provenant d'études de cas dans deux écoles secondaires du Nouveau-Brunswick situées dans des communautés voisines qui ont été confrontées à un changement démographique rapide au cours des cinq dernières années. Six thèmes principaux ont été construits à partir des sources de données que nous avons analysées. Les thèmes sont décrits plus en détail et se rapportent aux sujets suivants : Les défis éducatifs ; le stress et l'anxiété ; l'environnement scolaire ; le système éducatif ; le développement professionnel durable ; et la promotion de relations positives. À partir de ces thèmes, nous élaborons plusieurs suggestions pour améliorer les pratiques pédagogiques et de leadership dans les écoles du Nouveau-Brunswick qui connaissent des changements démographiques. Comme le Nouveau-Brunswick continue d'accueillir des gens de partout dans le monde, il est impératif que les enseignants, les dirigeants scolaires, les décideurs publics et les membres de la communauté travaillent en étroite collaboration pour soutenir la croissance démographique et économique dans tous les secteurs, et pour s'assurer que tous les nouveaux Canadiens se sentent bienvenus et ont un sentiment d'appartenance à la province.

Mots-clés: Nouveau-Brunswick, immigration, changement démographique, diversité, leadership interculturel, éducation à la citoyenneté, justice sociale, action sociale

Author Biographies

Lyle Hamm, University of New Brunswick

Lyle Hamm is an Associate Professor of Educational Administration and Leadership in the Faculty of Education at the University of New Brunswick. His teaching and research focus on leadership in demographically changing schools and communities, intercultural and citizenship education, and peace-building. Lyle served as an educator and administrator in Alberta for 22 years before he joined UNB in 2013. Lyle can be reached at lhamm@unb.ca. 

Matt Maston, Mount Allison University

Matt Maston is a staff member at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada, where he works as a Disability Services Advisor. Prior to working in a post-secondary environment, he taught internationally at various grade-levels. His research interests include immigration, ethnocultural diversity, and cannabis use within the post-secondary student population. Matt can be reached at mmaston@mta.ca.

John McLoughlin, University of New Brunswick

John McLoughlin is a Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of New Brunswick in mathematics education, with a cross-appointment to Mathematics and Statistics. His interests include mathematical problem solving, teaching and learning, and community outreach. John can be reached at johngm@unb.ca.

Jeremy Smith, University of New Brunswick

Jeremy Smith has been a practicing secondary science teacher in New Brunswick for the past fourteen years, and currently serves in a district science leadership position. He has observed the increasing number of new Canadians in New Brunswick schools. Jeremy's graduate research surrounded the operationalization of inclusion in secondary science courses, in which the presence of new Canadians became a point of discussion. Jeremy can be reached at: Jeremy.smith@nbed.nb.ca.

Published
2021-05-31
Section
ARTICLES