Curriculum Meta-orientations in the LINC Program


  • Thomas Ricento University of Calgary
  • Andreea Cervatiuc University of Calgary


Adult ESL, Critical Pedagogy, Hidden Curriculum, Participatory research, Second Language Learning, Canada LINC Program


This article explores curriculum meta-orientations in the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program, as reflected in its hidden curriculum, on three different levels: instruction, approaches to teaching Canadian culture to recent adult immigrant learners, and LINC instructors’ self-perceived teaching roles. The data collection process consisted of interviews and class observations. Most participants define themselves as facilitators, rather than teachers, embrace a transaction stance, and take a prescriptive approach to teaching Canadian culture to newcomers. We make the case that a participatory-transformation curriculum meta-orientation is more suited for adult English language learners than the prevalent transaction pedagogy, as it addresses the real issues and challenges that immigrants face in their first years in Canada.


Author Biographies

Thomas Ricento, University of Calgary

Professor and Chair, English as an Additional Language, Faculty of Education


Andreea Cervatiuc, University of Calgary

Instructor, Faculty of Education



Auerbach, E. R. (1992). Making meaning, making change: Participatory curriculum development for adult ESL literacy. McHenry, IL: Center for Applied Linguistics (ERIC) & Delta Systems, Inc.

Bourdieu, P. (1973). Cultural Reproduction and Social Reproduction. In Brown, R. (Ed.). In Knowledge, Education, and Cultural Change. (pp. 71-112). London: Tavistock.

Bourdieu, P. & Passeron, J.C. (1977). Reproduction in education, society, and culture. London, England: SAGE.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada. (2003). Understanding LINC – Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada: A manual and resource guide for service providing organizations. Retrieved on December 15, 2007, from .

Cray, E. (1997). Teachers’ Perceptions of a Language Policy: “Teaching LINC”. TESL Canada 15 (1), p. 22-37.

Cray, E. & Currie, P. (2004). Conceptions of Literacy in Canadian Immigrant Language Training. Current Issues in Language Planning 5 (1), p. 51- 63.

Curry, M.J. (2001). Preparing to be privatized: The hidden curriculum of a

community college ESL Writing Class. In E. Margolis (Ed.). The Hidden Curriculum of

Higher Education. (pp. 175-192). London: Routledge.

Ekos Research Associates. (2004). Evaluation of the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) Program. Retrieved on October 23, 2007 from:

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Seabury Press.

Freire, P. (2003). Education as the practice of freedom. In Education for critical consciousness. New York: Continuum.

Giroux, H. & Penna, A. (1983). Social education in the classroom: The dynamics of the hidden curriculum. In Giroux H. and Purpel, A. (Eds.). The Hidden Curriculum and Modern Education. (pp. 100-121). Berkeley, California: McCutchan Publishing Corporation.

Guba, E. (1984). The effect of definition of policy on the nature and outcomes of policy analysis. Educational Leadership, 42(2), p. 63-70.

Khalideen, R. (1998). LINC programs in Edmonton as an adult education practice: learners’ perspectives. PhD thesis, University of Alberta, Alberta, Canada.

Knowles, M. et al (1984) Andragogy in Action. Applying modern principles of adult education. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Knowles, M. S. (1990). The adult learners: A neglected species. Houston: Gulf Publishing Company.

Margolis, E., Soldatenko, M., Acker, S., and Gair, M. (2001) Peekaboo: Hiding and outing the curriculum in Margolis, E. (Ed.) The Hidden Curriculum in Higher Education. (pp.1-20). London: Routledge.

Miller, J. P., & Seller, W. (1990). Curriculum: Perspectives and practice. Toronto, ON: Copp Clark Pitman.

Morgan, B. (2002). Critical Practice in Community-Based ESL Programs: A Canadian Perspective. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, 1 (2), p. 141-162.

Morrow, R. & Torres, C.A. (1998) ‘Social Closure, Professional Domination and the New Middle Strata: Rethinking Credentialist Theories of Education’ in Torres, C.A. and Mitchell, T. Sociology of Education: Emerging Perspectives Albany: State University of New York

Norton, B. (2000). Identity and language learning: Gender, ethnicity and educational change. Harlow, England: Longman/Pearson Education.

Pawlikowska-Smith, G. (2002). Canadian Language Benchmarks 2000: English as a second language – for adults. Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks.

Pennycook, A. (2001). Critical Applied Linguistics: A Critical Introduction. Mahwah, New Jersey & London, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Pinet, R. (2006). The Contestation of Citizenship Education at Three Stages of the LINC 4 & 5 Curriculum Guidelines: Production, Reception, and Implementation. TESL Canada Journal 24 (1), p. 1- 20.

Toronto Catholic District School Board (2002). LINC 1-5 Curriculum Guidelines. Retrieved on April 5, 2008, from

Valance, E. (1983). Hiding the hidden curriculum: An interpretation of the language of justification in nineteenth-century educational reform. In Giroux H. and Purpel, A. (Eds.). The Hidden Curriculum and Modern Education. (pp. 9-27). Berkeley, California: McCutchan Publishing Corporation.




How to Cite

Ricento, T., & Cervatiuc, A. (2012). Curriculum Meta-orientations in the LINC Program. Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, 24(2). Retrieved from