This seminar focuses on the potential and pedagogical possibilities of place/community/experience–based learning to act as a decolonizing force in teacher education. In this seminar, we will share the experience of an Indigenous educator who sought to work with a group of graduate students to understand how participation in place–based service learning could affect graduate students’ understanding of: a) local social and ecological issues (particularly those affecting local Indigenous groups), b) feelings of efficacy with respect to the work of social change, and c) motivation to be involved in such efforts. This research project fits within a larger strategy of the UBC–Community Learning Initiative (UBC–CLI) to encourage the engagement of students, faculty, staff, and community to work collaboratively on projects that seek to address complex community priorities in ways that also support student learning.

Speaker Biographies

Tracy Friedel’s research interests include First Nation and Métis experience in the realm of work and learning, decolonizing research at the intersection of health and education, Nehiyaw-Métis oral histories, and Indigenous-focused outdoor/land/place-based education. As part of this latter interest, she has engaged with community-based partners in the Lower Mainland of BC, and Haida Gwaii, to create meaningful academic service learning experiences for UBC graduate students.  In extending upon earlier research, she is the Principal Investigator of a community-based project focused on Indigenous youth leadership in the area of unintentional injury prevention.  Friedel is interested in pursuing inquiry via means of Indigenous methodologies, community-based participatory research, qualitative case studies, visual research methods, oral hi(stories), and critical race theory in qualitative research.

Mahtab Eskandari’s fields of interest are in curriculum and pedagogy.  She has been an educator as a Science, ESL, Arts and Anthropology teacher since 1998.  Eskandari started with the Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and Genetics in Iran; and traveling as an international rural educator, she found interest in Anthropology, Social studies and Environmental education in international indigenous communities. She enjoys working with teachers in practicum settings and communicating and interacting with different generations and cultures towards improving learning and teaching.  Over the years Eskandari has researched active and dynamic integration of technology (with a focus on animation and decolonizing network systems) and museum learning in teacher education as well as multicultural education.

Allyson’s background in Early Childhood Development, Aboriginal Health, and Aboriginal Education focused on bridging the gap between academic research and community driven needs. Her work at the UBC-CLI aims to better understand the impacts of Community Based Experiential Learning on the three key stakeholder groups with whom we work: community organizations, students, and faculty.

Kyle Nelson is the the Community Based Experiential Learning Officer at UBC. Kyle is a big believer in the University’s role in building community capacity, and is a key player in strengthening and sustaining community based experiential learning (CBEL) opportunities for UBC students.  Kyle jointly reports to UBC’s Community Learning Initiative (UBC-CLI) and the Faculty of Land and Food Systems. The UBC-CLI helps to integrate CBEL into academic disciplines and to ensure that meaningful community engagement opportunities are available outside the context of coursework as well.

Select Articles Available at UBC Library 

Friedel, T.L. (2011). Looking for learning in all the wrong places: Urban Native youths’ cultured response to Western-oriented place-based learning. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Special Issue – Youth Resistance Revisited24 (5), 531-546.  Link:

Friedel, T. L. (2008). (Not so) crude text and images: staging Native in ‘big oil’advertising. Visual Studies23(3), 238-254.  Link:

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