Engaging Aboriginal Students Online

Aboriginal students are struggling in both mainstream and online schools. In Canada, approximately 50% of Aboriginal Students complete their high school education, compared to their non-indigenous peers of whom about 80% graduate high school.

Many First Nation High School students have, in the past, had to leave home to obtain a secondary school diploma. A 2014 CBC News Report titled Internet high school gives First Nations students options covered the opening of Keewaytinook Internet High School which allowed First Nation students in Northern Ontario had to remain in their community while furthering their education past grade nine. Principal Darrin Porter explained that this allowed the youth to stay in their community where they were supported. Many students, and their families, would lean towards completing secondary education online rather then leaving home for a variety of reasons including students young age, parent and grandparent school experience and support of community and family.

·      What percent of Aboriginal students are choosing to take online courses so they can remain at home?

·      Are students who take online courses more successful then students who leave home to attend high school?

Russell Bishop’s research notes that Aboriginal Students are more successful when they have the opportunity to make connections with their teachers and classmates through the use of what Bishop refers to as a “culturally responsive pedagogy of relations”.   Supporting this is a 2014 Research Paper titled, Post-Secondary Distance Education in a Contemporary Colonial Context: Experiences of Students in a Rural First Nation in Canada, also notes that personal relationships between students and instructors also needs to be developed.

·      How can educators be culturally responsive and build relationships in online environment?

·      What would an online course using this pedagogy look like regardless of subject matter?

In conclusion, I would like to investigate why Indigenous Students are choosing Online Education and how educators can better support them through course development and pedagogy.

Brown, Louise. “Number of aboriginal Canadians finishing high school is up, report says.” Thestar.com, 30 Apr. 2014, www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/04/30/number_of_aboriginal_canadians_finishing_high_school_is_up_report_says.html.
“Internet High School Gives First Nations Students Options.” CBC News, 17 Sept. 2014, www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/internet-high-school-gives-first-nations-students-options-1.2768235.
“Keewaytinook Internet High School | STAY AT HOME BUT STAY IN SCHOOL!” Keewaytinook Internet High School | STAY AT HOME BUT STAY IN SCHOOL!, kihs.knet.ca/. Accessed 2 Oct. 2017.
“Professor Russell Bishop.” Te Kotahitanga, tekotahitanga.tki.org.nz/About/Our-People/Professor-Russell-Bishop.
Simon, Jesse, et al. “Post-Secondary Distance Education in a Contemporary Colonial Context: Experiences of Students in a Rural First Nation in Canada.” The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, Athabasca University, Feb. 2014, www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1357/2770.


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