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HHS4U, Families in Canada Online Course


Families in Canada, HHS4U Grade 12, University Preparation

Policy Document:  The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 9  to 12, Social Sciences and Humanities,2013,  Ministry of Education of Ontario


Course Description

This course enables students to draw on sociological, psychological, and anthropological theories and research to analyse the development of individuals, intimate relationships, and family and parent-child relationships. Students will focus on issues and challenges facing individuals and families in Canada’s diverse society. They will develop analytical tools that enable them to assess various factors affecting families and to consider policies and practices intended to support families in Canada. They will develop the investigative skills required to conduct and communicate the results of research on individuals, intimate relationships, and parent-child relationships.

PREREQUISITE: Any university or university/college preparation course in social sciences and humanities, English, or Canadian and world studies



 Exploring: An effective inquiry question is necessary to guide research in the Social Sciences ( families in Canada)

 Investigating: Appropriate Social Science research and inquiry methods must be used when creating research plans.

 Processing Information: Information gathered through research and inquiry must be assessed, recorded, analysed, and synthesized

 Communicating and Reflecting: Social Science research and inquiry results can be communicated clearly and effectively when students reflect on and evaluate their research, inquiry, and communication skills.


 Individual Development: An understanding of theoretical perspectives and research informs our understanding of various aspects of individual development;

 The Development of Intimate Relationships: An understanding of theoretical perspectives and research informs our understanding of the development of intimate relationships;

 The Development of Family and Parent-Child Relationships: An understanding of theoretical perspectives and research informs our understanding on the development of family and parent-child relationships.


 The Effects on Individuals: Individuals throughout the lifespan are  impacted by norms, roles, and social institutions.

 The Effects on Intimate Relationships: Intimate relationships are impacted by  norms, roles, and social institutions.

 The Effects on Family and Parent-Child Relationships: Family and parent-child relationships are impacted by factors that can affect decisions about whether to have and how to care for children, and of the impact of norms, roles, and social institutions.


 Trends and Challenges for Individuals: Individual development is impacted by  demographic trends, social issues and challenges.

Trends and Challenges in Intimate Relationships: Intimate relationships are impacted by demographic and social trends and issues. This understanding will inform effective  strategies for responding to challenges in intimate relationships.

Trends and Challenges in the Family and in Parent-Child Relationships: Family development and  parent-child relationships are impacted by demographic trends, social issues and challenges.

Summary of Units and Timelines

            Below is the suggested sequence of course unit delivery as well as the recommended number of hours to complete the respective unit.  For complete details of targeted expectations within each unit and activity, please see each Unit Overview found in the course profile.

Unit Order

Unit Name

Suggested Time

      Unit 1


27 hours

Unit 2


27 hours

Unit 3


27 hours

Unit 4


27 hours

Unit 5


ISU Research Report (ongoing)

27 hours


Total: 110 hours

Fundamental Concepts Covered in This Course

 Effective learning in all subjects of the social sciences and humanities curriculum depends on the development of skills and understanding in four areas:

  • Disciplined Inquiry and Critical Literacy: Social sciences and humanities courses focus on the use of disciplined, structured inquiry to understand human beings, human behaviour, and human nature. These courses promote the use of reason as part of the structured inquiry process, while also recognizing the limitations of reason as a way of learning, knowing, and understanding. They encourage students to identify and question assumptions and values that underlie individual behaviour and family and social/cultural life. Developing their critical literacy skills enables students to challenge texts, reading “underneath, behind, and beyond” texts and questioning how they influence us and others and whose interests they serve.
  • Problem Solving: Social sciences and humanities courses require students to engage actively in solving problems confronted by individuals, families, diverse groups, institutions, and societies. The problems that students confront in these courses vary from the abstract and theoretical to the everyday and concrete. These problems are often morally and politically complex, with solutions that are sometimes controversial because they affect diverse individuals and groups differently.
  • Understanding of Self and Others: Students in social sciences and humanities courses are provided with rich opportunities to enhance their self-understanding and understanding of others through an examination of their personal belief systems and also of the foundations and implications of different viewpoints and lived experiences of others. Through a juxtaposition of their own perceptions, attitudes, values, and beliefs with those of others, students develop an understanding and appreciation of the contexts through which their own and others’ world views are formed.
  • Local and Global Mindedness: Social sciences and humanities courses develop students’ awareness that people do not live in isolation; each person affects and is affected by his or her social, cultural, economic, and environmental context. Students examine the norms underlying different familial, societal, institutional, and cultural practices. Students are encouraged to be mindful of their responsibilities with respect to the environment and of the importance of making morally and ethically responsible decisions. Students explore how theories and concepts can influence social action, and how such action can affect the well-being of individuals, families, and communities throughout the world.

Course Notes

            This course is designed to provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge as well as a development of an attitude that supports these skills and knowledge responsibly.  The course design is geared to meet and exceed the prerequisite requirements for studying  Social Sciences and Humanities curriculum  at the University level.  The framework of course delivery focuses the “big ideas” through the lens of the goals of the Social Science and Humanities  program as outlined on page 7/8  of the Ontario Ministry of Education document:

  • As students “explore individual and collective human behaviour and needs as well as patterns and trends in society” they will understand the impact of “a  variety of social structures, institutions, relationships, and power dynamics.”
  • As students “are exposed to social theories, specialized concepts, and research findings, as well as a range of tools related to investigation and analysis, to help them understand themselves, their families, their communities, and society” they will be able to “find meaning in the world around them.”
  • As students “develop a critical lens through which they can build their awareness of and make decisions with respect to critical issues in our increasingly complex, multifaceted, and diverse society” they are able “to build understanding about individuals, families, and diverse groups – what people think, how they live, and how we all interact with one another and the world around ”
  • As students develop “knowledge and understanding through the study of social sciences and humanities, they can engaged in informed “discussion on critical social, cultural, economic, technological, environmental, and wellness issues, and can provide a strong foundation for vibrant, healthy, and engaged citizenship.”
  • As students study Social Sciences and Humanities, they develop skills in “systematic inquiry: through sustained practice, …planning, processing, problem-solving, and decision making capabilities, often while exploring issues of deep personal relevance. The essential questions with which students engage in these courses are often thought provoking and
    open ended, and have no single correct answer.”   

`The organization of the course is packaged into five distinct topical units. A fifth  unit, Independent Study Project, will be developed throughout the first two-thirds of the course so that students can learn, develop and build on skills as they work through the research project.

Teaching and Learning Strategies    

            Teachers will bring enthusiasm and varied teaching and assessment approaches to the classroom, addressing individual students’ needs and ensuring sound learning opportunities for every student.  The activities offered should enable students to relate and apply these concepts to the social, environmental, and economical conditions and concerns of the world in which they live.  Opportunities to relate knowledge and skills to these wider contexts will motivate students to learn in a meaningful way and to become life-long learners.

            Teachers will help students understand that problem solving of any kind often requires a considerable expenditure of time and energy and a good deal of perseverance.  Teachers also will encourage students to investigate, to reason, to explore alternative solutions and to take the risks necessary to become successful problem solvers.

            Effective instructional approaches and learning activities draw on students’ prior knowledge, capture their interest, and encourage meaningful practise both inside and outside the classroom.  Students will be engaged when they are able to see the connection between the scientific concepts they are learning and their application in the world around them and in real-life situations.

            Due to its importance, students will have opportunities to learn in a variety of ways- individually, cooperatively, independently, with teacher direction, through hands-on experiences, and through examples followed by practice.  The approaches and strategies teachers use will vary according to both the object of the learning and the needs of the students. Teachers will accomplish this in online environment with the use of: virtual labs, online simulations, animations, videos, discussion forums, live chat and other interactive objects.


Online & Offline Components

            The design of this course is intended to offer a rich balance between online and offline elements.  The following is a summary of the course components and their delivery format.  Please refer to the individual unit outlines for specific details.

Course content & instruction: online

Communication between teacher and students: online & offline

Collaboration between students: online

Assessment & evaluation: online & offline

Practise exercises,  readings etc: offline

Assessment & Evaluation for Student Achievement

            The primary purpose of assessment and evaluation is to improve student learning.  Information gathered through assessment helps teachers to determine students’ strengths and weaknesses in their achievement of the curriculum expectations in each course.  This information also serves to guide teachers in adapting curriculum and instructional approaches to students’ needs and in assessing the overall effectiveness of programs and classroom practices.  As part of assessment, teachers provide students with descriptive feedback that guides their efforts towards improvement.

            Evaluation refers to the process of judging the quality of student work on the basis of established criteria, and assigning a value to represent that quality.  All curriculum expectations must be accounted for in instruction, but evaluation focuses on students’ achievement of the overall expectations.  A students’ achievement of the overall expectations is evaluated on the basis of his or her achievement of related specific expectations.  Teachers will use their professional judgement to determine which specific expectations should be used to evaluate achievement of overall expectations, and which ones will be covered in instruction and assessment but not necessarily evaluated.

            In order to ensure that assessment and evaluation are valid and reliable, and that they lead to the improvement of student learning, teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies that:

  • Address both what students learn and how well they learn;
  • Are based both on the categories of knowledge and skills and on the achievement level descriptions given in the achievement chart
  • Are varied in nature, administered over a period of time, and designed to provide opportunities for students to demonstrate the full range of their learning;
  • Are appropriate for the learning activities used, the purposes of instruction, and the needs and experiences of the students;
  • Are fair to all students;
  • Accommodate students with special education needs, consistent with the strategies outlined in their Individual Education Plan;
  • Accommodate the needs of students who are learning the language of instruction;
  • Ensure that each student is given clear directions for improvement;
  • Promote students’ ability to assess their own learning and to set specific goals
  • Include the use of samples of students’ work that provide evidence of their achievement;
  • Are communicated clearly to students and parents at the beginning of the school year and at other appropriate points throughout the school year.

            The achievement chart for Humanities and Social Sciences  outlines four categories of knowledge and skills.  They include; knowledge and understanding, thinking and inquiry, communication and application.  Teachers will ensure that student work is assessed and/or evaluated in a balanced manner with respect to the four categories, and that achievement of particular expectations is considered within the appropriate categories.

            A final grade is recorded for this course, and a credit is granted and recorded for this course if the student’s grade is 50% or higher.  The final grade for this course will be determined as follows:

  • Seventy percent of the grade will be based on evaluations conducted throughout the course.  This portion of the grade should reflect the student’s most consistent level of achievement throughout the course, although special consideration should be given to more recent evidence of achievement. This 70% will be distributed in the achievement chart categories as follows: 25% knowledge and understanding, 25% application, 25% communication and 25% thinking and investigation. Student work will be assessed and evaluated in a balanced manner with respect to the four categories within each unit.
  • Fifteen percent of the grade will be based on a final evaluation in the form of a written examination, completed at the end of the course, and another 15% of the grade will be based on the course culminating activity, a  Families in Canada  issues dossier.


            All students can succeed.  Some students are able, with certain accommodations, to participate in the regular course curriculum and to demonstrate learning independently.  Accommodations allow access to the course without any changes to the knowledge and skills the student is expected to demonstrate.  The accommodations required to facilitate the student’s learning must be identified in his or her Individual Education Plan (IEP).  Instruction based on principles of universal design and differentiated instruction focuses on the provision of accommodations to meet the diverse needs of learners.

            Examples of accommodations (but not limited to) include:

  • Adjustment and or extension of time required to complete assignments or summative tasks
  • Providing alternative assignments or summative tasks
  • Use of scribes and/or other assistive technologies
  • Simplifying the language of instruction


Only web-based material will be used for this course.


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