Module 1 Weblog Entry – Anne Coustalin

BCTF Aboriginal Education Teaching Resources

http://www.bctf.ca/AboriginalEducation.aspx?id=13404

This site is an excellent resource for British Columbia educators wanting to integrate Aboriginal Ways of Knowing into their practice. It provides a comprehensive (but not exhaustive) list of links connecting teachers to relevant resources that provide essential background and perspective on: the treaty process; the historical timeline of European contact and colonization (pre-contact to 2015); Indian Residential Schools and their legacy; and creating an inclusive, racism free classroom community. Of particular note is the BCTF-created document Beyond Words: Creating Racism-Free Schools for Aboriginal Learners. This resource offers practical information that speaks directly to issues teachers may confront in the classroom, with a focus on racism, understanding the rules of culture and how they may present in the classroom, and creating an inclusive community.

 

Two-Eyed Seeing

Two-Eyed Seeing (Etuaptmumk in Mi’kmaw) is a concept introduced by Mi’kmaw Elder Albert Marshall in 2004. It is described as the guiding principles of how one should live on this Earth and is discussed by Elder Albert Marshall and Cheryl Bartlett. The concept was developed in response to the lack of representation of Indigenous students in the sciences and mathematics, particularly at the university level. It recognizes that there are different ways of looking at the world. The two ways that are particularly relevant in Canada are through the lens of Western science and through an Indigenous lens.  Two-eyed seeing refers to finding the strengths in both paradigms and mindfully bringing them together – drawing upon the deep understandings that each represents. When we employ two-eyed seeing, we very quickly realize that science alone is not going to save the natural world. Instead, a change of mindset must occur and the Indigenous way of seeing must simultaneously be employed so that people have a path to move forward on the planet together. The video describes the concept and provides the context of its introduction.

 

Two-Eyed Seeing – A Different Vision for Teaching Aboriginal Learners Science and Mathematics

This lecture, delivered by Dr. Michelle Hogue as part of the 2015 PUBlic Professor Series at the University of Lethbridge Alberta, further expands on the concept of two-eyed seeing and describes specific ways that it has been successfully applied to teach math and science to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal learners at the secondary and post-secondary level. Dr. Hogue describes her own teaching and research as being “focused on the space between Aboriginal ways of knowing and learning and the white western education system . . . the space I call the liminal space” (3:52). She describes this space as a space of possibility rather than a gap. The concept of learning through performing is discussed at length, as are a variety of other multi-layered education opportunities that move through different performance, experiential and theoretical stages.

 

First Peoples’ Cultural Council

http://www.fpcc.ca/Default.aspx

This site provides a wealth of resources to assist in the revitalizations of First Peoples’ heritage, language and culture. For each of those areas, the website lists a number of valuable resources including maps, toolkits, events, programs. Of particular note is the FirstVoices Indigenous language archiving and teaching resource “that allows Indigenous communities to document their language for future generations”. Part of this program is the FirstVoices language tutor (an online interactive First voices language learning program). There are also links to specific language tutor mobile apps in a number of Indigenous languages as well as Aboriginal fonts that may be downloaded to your computer.  While much of the content is geared towards Indigenous communities, there are also resources and information useful to classroom teachers.

 

Authentic First Peoples Resources (FNESC, FNSA. 2016)

http://www.fnesc.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/PUBLICATION-61502-updated-FNESC-Authentic-Resources-Guide-October-2016.pdf

This document provides background into the way resources dealing with Aboriginal content have, in the past, contained false information and inaccurate representations of the unique experiences and world views of Aboriginal peoples. It provides teachers with the rationale for using only authentic Aboriginal resources, as well as guidelines for recognizing for how to recognize those resources. As outlined on the site, authentic First Peoples texts are historical or contemporary texts that

  • Present authentic First Peoples voices (i.e., are created by First Peoples or through the substantial contributions of First Peoples)
  • Depict themes and issues that are important within First Peoples cultures (e.g., loss of identity and affirmation of identity, tradition, healing, role of family, importance of Elders, connection to the land, the nature and place of spirituality as an aspect of wisdom, the relationships between individual and community, the importance of oral tradition, the experience of colonization and decolonization)
  • Incorporate First Peoples story-telling techniques and features as applicable (e.g., circular structure, repetition, weaving in of spirituality, humour).

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