Author Archives: taco135

Module 2: Post 5- National Aboriginal Day

June 21st is one of celebration with National Aboriginal Day in different cities across Canada. These events are opportunities to strengthen cultural identity and make connections between the past, present and future. With technology, communication about these events makes them more accessible to those who want to learn more about aboriginal culture.

I came across this quote from Nelson Mandela about the power of sport in breaking down discrimination and uniting people.

“ Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.” Nelson Mandela 2000


Module 2: Post 4- New BC Curriculum- Aboriginal Focus

Action in British Columbia’s school curriculum seems to be happening based on the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Report.

“Aboriginal history, culture and perspectives have been integrated across subject areas and grade levels in B.C.’s new curriculum,” said an Education Ministry statement. (New BC Curriculum will have Aboriginal Focus. June 17th, 2015).

B.C.’s Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister John Rustad said, “classes will give students a more complete understanding of the province’s history with its Aboriginal Peoples and strengthen reconciliation efforts…. Students will study topics such as discrimination, inequality, oppression and the impacts of colonialism.” (New BC Curriculum will have Aboriginal Focus. June 17th, 2015).

The new B.C curriculum overview has sample rationale statements from different subject areas- Math, Social Studies, Science and Language Arts.

The following is a statement from Language Arts-

“Aboriginal worldviews are an integral part of the English Language Arts curriculum, as all students learn about themselves and others as British Columbians and Canadians. Students see their own diversity reflected in what they see and do, and they learn to recognize and respect a range of worldviews.” (Aboriginal History- Transforming Curriculum and Assessment, June 2015.)

BC’s Education minister has also devoted one Professional Development Day for teachers to focus on Aboriginal Education. (

References and Educational Links

Meissner, Dirk. New BC Curriculum will have Aboriginal Focus. June 17th, 2015. Globe and Mail, Canada. retrieved from

Aboriginal History- Transforming Curriculum and Assessment-

Shared Learnings- Integrating BC Aboriginal Content- K-10.

MOE Aboriginal Prescribed Learning Outcomes K to Grade 5

School District 37- Kamloops/Thompson. Implementing Aboriginal Content Across the Elementary Curriculum. Retrieved June 21st.

Canadian Press. A Change in Curriculum. June 19th, 2015. retrieved from

Module 2: Post 3- Developing Truth and Fairness Routines

The visible thinking routines developed at Harvard Project Zero- focus on helping developing a culture of thinking in our classrooms through  different ways of thinking and understanding. They help students find meaning in subject areas and make connections between school and everyday. These routines if used effectively can help in developing thinking that is more open minded and encourage thinking about issues at a deeper level.

The following Truth and Fairness Routines such as ‘Claim, Support, Question,’ ‘Circle of Viewpoints’ or ‘True for Who.’can help explore diverse perspectives and reason with evidence.

Other Visible Thinking References

Artful Thinking- Making Thinking Visible using Art and Images:

Ritchhart, Ron. Intellectual Character. (2002). Jossey-Bass, U.S.A.

Ritchhart, Ron., Church, Mark & Morrison, Karin. Making Thinking Visible. (2011).Jossey- Bas, U.S.A.

Ritchhart, Ron. Creating Cultures of Thinking. (2015). Jossey- Bass, U.S.A.

Choosing Educational Resources-Module 2- Post 2

In determining resources for students to learn more about Aboriginal culture, I am finding that this course is very helpful in being more aware of choosing the most appropriate resources. The most authentic literature would be that written by Aboriginal people. However, I feel that with research, understanding and empathy, mainstream authors can also contribute. This year, the fictional story, “Reading the Bones” was one of the books chosen for the Reading Link Challenge for students in Grades 4 & 5. This meant that is was read by hundreds of students in British Columbia. This was a modern day story of a young girl living in Crescent Beach who discovers that the town lies atop a 5,000 year old Coast Salish Fishing Village. There is a story within the story, as we learn about the story of an ancient storyteller in the past. In the present story, we learn about the importance of knowing about and preserving the past but also that about the present Coast Salish community.

The book was written by Gina McMurchy- Barber who came to our school for an author visit. I can see this book being read as part of a Literature Circle, with students being asked to do additional research.

Module 2- Post 1-The Importance of Education in the Wake of The Truth and Reconciliation Report

In an interview with CBC right before the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Report, Murray Sinclair spoke to Peter Mansbridge about the importance of education.

He stated that it was not an aboriginal problem but a Canadian problem. The same messages we were giving aboriginal students at residential school, the stereotypes of being ‘heathens’ ‘savages’ or ‘inferior’ was the same message we were giving in the public schools.

In his interview he stated, “ We need to look at how we are educating children. We need to change that message in the public schools and aboriginal schools as well to ensure that every child educated in Canada receives full and proper history of each indigenous group and the territories in which they live so that they will grow up learning how to speak to and about each other in a more respectful way.”

CBC News. June 1, 2015, retrieved from

Other related articles

Truth and reconciliation: Looking back on a landmark week for Canada. CBC News, June 6, 2015. Retrieved from

Legacy of residential schools hits Twitter with #MyReconciliationIncludes, CBC News, June 2, 2015. Retrieved from

Some residential Survivors still waiting to tell their stories, CBC News, June 6, 2015. Retrieved from

Module #1; Post 5- Computer Culture and our Changing Relationships

During our first discussions of Module 1, we examined the challenges and opportunities of technology for Indigenous people. In the article Whither Psychoanalysis in Computer Culture? by Sherry Turkle (2004) she urges that there is a need to analyse what “technology does to us, our thinking and ways of looking at our minds and ourselves”. Throughout the article Turkle discusses the effects of computer culture and the changing relationships we have with technology. While reading the article I wondered if these changes were happening within all cultures or whether there were any particular cultures that would be beyond the reach of or would reject digital culture?

I thought that those cultures without internet access would be beyond the reach of digital culture, due to lack to exposure. However, I was wondering if there were any examples of cultures that had the means and ability to use the internet and web that would still reject it. In an article by Charles Ess, he gives an example of the eKiribati in the Solomon Islands who have rejected the internet due to the threat it poses to elements of their cultural identity. Another interesting insight relates to Kuwaiti women: research has found that the online behaviour of these women is often in line with existing cultural values. This suggests another culture that is more resistant to digital culture.

There is an explanation offered by Hongladarom (Ess, page 17) that digital culture is “thin” and these other cultures are “thick”, therefore internet and web usage cannot override ingrained culture. It is suggested that individuals can inhabit both thick and thin culture, and can weave between these cultures without huge consequences. Ess gives a number of examples where individuals prove that they are able to be part of the thin digital culture while also maintaining their own “distinctive cultural preferences and values” (“thick” culture), such as the Thai group that made use of online communication tools to reinforce their cultural identity.


Bowers, C.A., Vasquez, Migues, and Roaf, Mary, “Native People and the Challenge of Computers: Reservation Schools, Individualism, and Consumerism,” American Indian 24(2), 2000, 185.

Ess, Charles. (2002). Computer-mediated colonization, the renaissance, and educational imperatives for an intercultural global village. Ethics and Information Technology; 2002; 4, 1 (11-22)

Howe, Craig, “Cyberspace is No Place for Tribalism,” Wicazo Sa Review (Fall, 1998),

Turkle, Sherry. (2004). Whither Psychoanalysis in Computer Culture? Psychoanalytic Psychology, 21(1), 16-30


Module #1; Post 4-Differences in Goals between ‘Mainstream’ and Indigenous Education

Recently, our school chose to meet with the different stakeholders to discuss and put together a list to show our ideas about what we believe as a school community should be the profile of a highschool graduate. There were two evenings where the school community (students, alumnae, parents, teachers, administration, board members) were invited to participate in a guided discussion about the qualities we want our school graduate to possess. Before the discussion even began, there was an obvious assumption that we are starting with the fact that the expectation is that all our students will graduate. We are known as an university preparation school, so high academic marks have also become part of the school culture. After the information was collected from these meeting, a select group of parents and staff were asked to narrow down the ideas.  Some of the core concepts we ended up deciding upon were for students to be engaged global citizens, be people of character who act with compassion and empathy, be critical, creative and reflective thinkers, show integrity, humility and resilience, be driven by the principles of inquiry, be curious, open minded and reflective in all endeavours, pursue a healthy, balanced and active lifestyle, and possess strong communication and social skills.
It is interesting to consider the qualities that different stakeholders from Indigenous communities would decide upon.  For example, the term ‘global mindedness’ might not cover really understanding and communicating with our own local cultures. As well, although it was discussed, our final list doesn’t emphasize a commitment to community, or to our environment.

Module #1:Post 3- Comparison of First Nations Principles of Learning and the International Baccalaureate

In further reflection of developing inclusive educational practices, the First Nations Principles of Learning-  and The First Peoples Principles of Learning Video by Laura Tait: are good starting points for thinking about creating positive teaching communities.

As an IB ( teacher, I feel that some of these principles are followed within the context of intercultural understanding. The International Baccalaureate is structured on best practices to help teachers work towards being role models and instilling practices in ways that everyone’s beliefs and values are recognized.

The IB mission statement focuses on the understanding that other people with their differences can also be right.  Through an inquiry approach to learning, the focus should begin with students prior knowledge and from there, knowledge should be built upon and constructed through collaboration and understanding. The Primary Years Program of Inquiry is centred on 6 transdisciplinary themes offering global significance for all students in all cultures.

One of the transdisciplinary themes is  Who We Are:

“An inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values;personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities, and cultures;rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human.” (Making the PYP Happen, page 12).

Making the PYP Happen: A curriculum framework for International Primary Education, International Baccalaureate Organization. 2009. United Kingdom; Peterson Press.

Module #1: Post 2- Multicultural Curriculum

A good starting point for school communities may be to make connections with the educational resources developed by the First Nations Educational Steering Committee which was established in 1992.

First Peoples Authentic Learning Resources K-7

As discussed in Dr. Lee Brown’s video interview, curriculum and our way of teaching needs to be reevaluated in order to accommodate different points of view. For example, the way some math concepts are taught are not in line with First Nations beliefs. This can cause anxiety and feelings of not being listened to or understood in the classroom. This is further compounded with standardized provincial test where questions are often close ended with students not having the opportunity to show their knowledge in different ways. The following link- offers a resource guide to help Math 8 and 9 teachers in developing curriculum and an learning environment where students feel more comfortable and motivated to participate with the goal of helping develop numeracy concepts and skills for lifelong learning.

Module #1:Post 1- Educational Practices

In my educational experiences, I spent a number of years working overseas at a Canadian International School. As we taught students about Canada, they would learn about First Nations Communities through activities such as reading North American Aboriginal myths, and creating beautiful art inspired by their cultural background. For students who had never been to Canada, this was essentially staged authenticity. There wasn’t enough understanding of the history of Indigenous students and the abuse they endured at residential schools where the goal was to strip away their cultural beliefs and values.

There has been a lot of educational literature and resources produced for mainstream classrooms with a romanticized perspective of Indigenous communities. As we become more cognizant of the importance of creating classroom communities that recognize and acknowledge different perspectives, as educators we can develop learning engagements that focus on primary sources and more authentic literature.

An example of this are a number of children’s books written recently by Christy Jordan- Fenton & Margaret Pokiak- Fenton and give a first hand account of Margaret’s experiences of going to a residential school, far from her Arctic home. Over 60 years later, she is finally able to tell her story about the abuse she had to endure and the difficulties she had readapting when she went home. These stories could be used in conjunction in learning about children’s rights and the importance of finding ways to use your voice to stand up for your beliefs.


Hare, J. (2011). Learning from Indigenous knowledge in education. In D. Long and O. P. Dickenson(Eds.), Visions of the heart, 3rd Edition (pp. 91-112). Toronto, ON: Oxford University Press.

Jordan- Fenton, Christy & Pokiak- Fenton,Margaret. (2013).When I was Eight. Toronto, Ontario: Annick Press.

Jordan- Fenton, Christy & Pokiak- Fenton,Margaret. (2014). Not My Girl. Toronto, Ontario: Annick Press.

Jordan- Fenton, Christy & Pokiak- Fenton,Margaret. (2010). Fatty Legs. Toronto, Ontario: Annick Press.