Tag Archives: place-based education

Module 1 Weblog: Josh Campbell

Technology is NOT Culturally Neutral

I came across this page, perhaps obviously, in the exploration of our first discussion question.  While its conclusion is made clear in its title, and I didn’t whole-heartedly agree with the author’s thesis, the inclusion of Neil Postman’s thoughts, (““we rarely talk about television, only about what is on television—that is, about its content.”) caught my attention, and gave cause for thought.  

I find myself doing just as Postman suggests, in that I often look at the content of digital media and the internet, as opposed to the existence of it, when analyzing its use and effects on culture and education.

 

Oral to Digital Storytelling in the Haida-Gwaii

This page (and video) outlines one of the initiatives in School District #50, Haida Gwaii.  For this project, the teacher identified the following goals:

  • to explore the possibilities of the iPad as a tool for language development.
  • To become more comfortable with using various apps for story creation.
  • For students to understand that technology is a tool for learning and not just a device for entertainment.
  • To support Haida language development, cultural learning and social emotional learning.
    To Increase their engagement and connections to the Haida culture in an engaging and meaningful way.
  • To collaborate with the Elders to preserve and revitalize their language using 21st century learning tools.

To this end, SET-BC was able to support the classroom team with various technologies and training.

Disclosure:  While I work for SET-BC, this wasn’t my initiative, rather was headed by a colleague who put this resource together.

 

Place-Based Learning in Aboriginal Communities

This 10-minute YouTube video has Suzanne Stewart, a member of the Yellowknife Dene First Nation, and Associate Professor of Indigenous Healing in Counselling Psychology, OISE, discussing the concept, philosophy and practice of Place-Based Learning, specifically in Aboriginal Communities.

In her interview, Suzanne outlines that Place-Based Learning is not only about the geographical context of learning, but also the “socio, political, and cultural position of the student and their family.”

 

First Nations Technology Council

The First Nations Technology Council is a BC-Based, unfunded organization that seems to bridge government, industry, academia and First Nations communities.  It does to across four distinct areas: Digital Skills Development, Connectivity, Information Management, and Technical Support & Services.

Bringing connectivity to remote communities is a major issue in British Columbia, but failure to do so creates an chasm of economic potential.  Part of this council’s

This Technology Council, based out of British Columbia plans to educate community members about the importance of digital and connected technologies in hopes to ensure Indigenous collaboration and involvement in the growing technological sector. Their goals are structures around 4 themes: digital skills development, connectivity, information management, and technical services and support.

 

BC Ministry of Education: Aboriginal Education Teaching Tools and Resources

This website includes a number of valuable resources when it comes to bringing context and meaning to Aboriginal Education in BC.  

Of particular interest:

In the larger context, these resources are a part of the Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements put in place through the acknowledgement that, “Historically, British Columbia schools have not been successful in ensuring that Aboriginal students receive a quality education, one that allows these students to succeed in the larger provincial economy while maintaining ties to their culture.”

Module 4 Weblog – Anne Coustalin

For this final module, I chose to continue my investigation of the intersection of (Western) Place-based education and Indigenous learning from place. I also broadened my scope to explore some models outside of the public school system – specifically band and reserve schools.

Sterenberg, G. (2013). Learning Indigenous and Western mathematics from placeMathematics Education Research Journal25(1), 91-108.

In this paper, the author explores one student’s experiences with learning mathematics from place. The paper recounts a math unit exploring triangles that was taught to grade nine students in SOMEWHERE. In the unit, place was the inroad for intertwining Western and Indigenous math learning. The author provides a useful analysis of the distinction between hands-on, place-based learning and Indigenous learning from place.  The approach taken for the unit was not so much a blending of Indigenous and Western approaches, but rather an intertwining “to increase tensile strength”. As a result of participating in the unit, students reported increased confidence in math competency as well as increased connections to the land and feelings of belonging to their culture. I found this approach to be a compliment to the idea of “Two-Eyed Seeing”, “two-way Aboriginal schooling”, and “walking in both worlds”.

NSF Includes: Envisioning Impact  – Integrating Indigenous and Western Knowledge to Transform Learning and Discovery in the Geosciences

Here is a quote from the website:

[The program] uses the principles of collective impact (CI) to create new partnerships between tribal communities and STEM institutions that promote the participation and inclusion of Native American (NA) scientists in the geosciences.

Our proposed program partners the Rising Voices: Collaborative Science for Climate Solutions (Rising Voices) member tribal colleges and communities with Haskell Indian Nations University, NCAR, Biosphere 2 (B2), and UCAR’s SOARS internship and GLOBE citizen science programs. Together, we commit to greater integration of indigenous and “traditional western” knowledge into collectively-developed climate change research projects, enhancing our collective ability to address climate change, and contributing to climate resilience in all communities.

This program is a good example of attempts to draw from the strengths of both Western and Indigenous knowledges in finding solutions to ecological problems. The fact that it is funded by the National Science Foundation indicates that such collaborations are increasingly seen to be of value within Western science organizations.

Cosmic Serpent – Bridging Native and Western Science Learning in Informal Settings

This program, which is also funded by the (U.S.) National Science Foundation, is a four-year collaboration between the Indigenous Education Institute and the University of California-Berkeley targeting informal science education professionals. This project is designed to explore the commonalities between western science and native science in the context of informal science education.

The group has produced a beautiful and informative ebook based on their project outcomes, which is available to download free on their website.  Here is a quote from that book:

Cosmic Serpent set out to explore commonalities between Western and Native science, taking into account that Native cultures have, over millennia, developed ways of knowing that are highly adapted, interconnected, and enduring. Each knowledge system informs the practice of science and its role in society in a fundamental way, and the commonalities can provide a framework for developing mutually inclusive learning experiences in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

Successful Practices In First Nations Schools:  They Tyee special edition (September 2011)

This special issue is part of a series hosted by the Tyee Solutions Society. In it, reporter Katie Hyslop explores several different models for BC Aboriginal education. There is great breadth of scope here from examining the context (successes and challenges faced by Aboriginal youth in BC as well as legislation and rights concerning indigenous education, and funding for indigenous education) to specific working models of Indigenous education both within BC and internationally.

Exploring the topic of reserve/band schools

In exploring education models that chose to focus more intensely on Indigenous knowledges and ways of knowing, I came across several interesting newspaper articles on reserve/band schools in BC. These articles shone a light on various aspects of the schools, from how they operate to how they are funded and fit within the provincial system. Here are some of the more relevant articles I encountered.

  1. How Chief Atahm Elementary School Became a Success Story (The Tyee, September 6, 2011)
  2. First Nations School teaches “all that culture stuff” (Globe and Mail, October 13, 2012)
  3. Low graduation rates at reserve schools put aboriginals in jeopardy: report (Globe and Mail, January 24, 2-16)

 

Module 3 Weblog – Anne Coustalin

For this module’s Weblog, I focus on teachers and educators as I explore the following questions: How can we prepare ourselves to teach from a land-based approach? Where does land-based education fit with place-based learning?  What examples are there of students using land-based education to walk in both worlds?  I also continue my journey exploring two-eyed seeing and how it helps us understand integrative education.

 

CBC UnReserved interview with Tasha Spillet: Indigenous Learning on the Land instead of a classroom

In this interview, Tasha Spillet a Cree and Trinidadian Winnepeg educator describes the importance of land-based education for students but also for educators. Ms. Spillet is one of the instructors in the University of Saskatchewan’s land-based education cohort masters degree. She describes how land-based education shifted the way she views herself and the world and she speaks to the importance for educators of engaging in their own land-based education (instead of just reading articles about it). Another interesting feature of this interview was that Ms. Spillet spoke to land-based education in urban settings as benefiting indigenous youth, many of whom are disconnected from their cultural identity and need to be encouraged to also see their urban landscape as their land: “Underneath the concrete is still our land” (Spillet, 2017).

For more about this program, see this article: Land-Based Education: Taking Knowledge back to its roots

 

Land-based learning brings native and non-native cultures together

(Newspaper article)

“The First” Land-based learning camp (video)

This camp is hosted by the Living Sky School Division. It is purposefully intended to serve Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and restore or rebuild their connection to the land and to each other. Discussion about the initiative emphasizes teaching students to walk in both worlds.  “In these classes we have kids that come from both cultures . . . It is important for kids of native culture to realize the importance of keeping their own culture, but it’s just as important for western people to understand that it is a blessing to have First Nation culture alive”.  The speaker is Kim Pasche, a Swiss-born experiential archeologist and one of the instructors at the camp. He emphasizes to students that all of them (Indigenous and non-Indigenous came from hunter-gatherer society, but for some of them that society has been lost. Indigenous Elders and educators join non-Indigenous educators to explore the land from both perspectives simultaneously.

 

Indigenous Land-based Learning Programs

This site, created by a fellow UBC student for ETEC 521, highlights several different land-based learning initiatives offered in Canada (and one in the United States). While discussion of the programs on the site is limited, it does offer a brief analysis of the focus and approach of each camp and serves as a useful portal to investigate different land-based learning initiatives. It includes reference to Integrative Science camps in Nunavut that use Two-Eyed Seeing as their guiding philosophy.

 

Green Teacher: Education for Planet Earth  (Fall 2009 issue)

This issue is dedicated to exploring Two-Eyed Seeing: Integrative Science. It is a treasure trove of work on two-eyed seeing and offers many concrete examples of two-eyed seeing in the context of education. It also links to work on walking in both worlds.

From the editorial: “In this issue we present some of the learning activities that they and others have designed for teaching science in this way, thus enabling students to take the best from both world views, Indigenous and Western” (p. 2). The issue starts with an excellent article by Hatcher, Bartlett, Marshall and Marshall “Two-Eyed Seeing: A cross-cultural science journey” and also includes trans-disciplinary, cross-cultural science units on:  birds; traditional medicines; Traditional legends and astronomy; and Solstices and Equinoxes. This issue is highly recommended to anyone looking for a deeper understanding of Two-Eyed Seeing and concrete examples of what it looks like in the classroom.

 

Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society (December 2014 edition)

I came across this fantastic Special Issue on Indigenous Land-Based Education in my research. It has a number of great articles and in particular a valuable editorial essay entitled “Learning from the land: Indigenous land based pedagogy and decolonization” by Matthew Wildcat, Mandee McDonald, Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox and Glen Coulthard. I appreciated the connection drawn in this article and in the entire issue between land based education and decolonization. I also appreciated the ability to learn about the related experiences of several different Indigenous groups within that context.

SEA TO SKY SCHOOL DISTRICT’S CULTURAL JOURNEYS PROGRAM

http://www.squamishchief.com/lifestyles/squamish-comes-together-in-an-education-program-following-first-nation-teaching-1.9029385

In Squamish, at Stawamus Elementary, students experience a place-based educational program, similar to what Suzanne Stewart describes, called “Cultural Journeys” where “the Kindergarten to Grade 6 classes are guided by the principle that all learning is grounded in understanding the connected relationship of language, land and culture”. In this program “…Squamish Nation ways of knowing and appreciation for the land are weaved throughout the curriculum”.  Markedly, this program is not exclusive to native students, it is a choice program and many non-native students attend. Technology doesn’t come up in the description of the “Cultural Journeys” program, nor in the school video (see below), however it is mentioned with regards to the Grade 7-12 program “Learning Expeditions”. This begs the question of how technology in integrated and whether or not place-based learning is so primarily focused upon in the later years program.

Module 1 Entry 5

PLACE BASED LEARNING IN ABORIGINAL COMMUNITIES

In this 2011 interview with Suzanne Stewart from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, place-based learning in Aboriginal communities is discussed. Stewart explains how place-based learning has resulted in an increase in attendance and sense of identity for Aboriginal students in Ontario. She explains that due to the legacy of residential schools and colonial history, not much value has been placed on Western education, however, place-based learning is changing this. Notably, Stewart offers a definition for place-based learning that is not only referring to geographical place, but also to the social, political, and cultural position of all people involved in the community.

Module 1 Entry 4

Educating through Place and Story

“[A] pedagogy of place that shifts the emphasis from teaching about local culture

to teaching through the culture

as students learn about the immediate places they inhabit

and their connection to the larger world within

which they will make a life for themselves.”

~ Barnhardt (2005)

Barnhardt, R. (2005). Creating a place for indigenous knowledge in education: The alaska native knowledge network. Retrieved from: http://www.ankn.uaf.edu/curriculum/articles/raybarnhardt/pbe_ankn_chapter.html

While continuing with my original focus on story and storytelling, the following resources include insights into the practical implementation of place-based education, with a leading into culturally responsive educational ideas. Story and storytelling are threaded throughout these resources, but are not necessary the central idea.


How to Bring First Peoples into BC Classrooms

This a recent article posted on The Tyee website and relevant to all BC educators who are wrestling with the new curriculum implementations. This article is an interview with Jo Chrona, the curriculum coordinator for the First Nations Education Steering Committee. Throughout the interview, Chrona moves through several examples of how educators can embrace indigenous learning and ways of learning – transformational education.


Creating a Place for Indigenous Knowledge in Education: The Alaska Native Knowledge Network

Although this article is listed as additional reading in Module 3, I had sought it out earlier as I was interested in reading more practical ideas from Ray Barnhardt (2005) for incorporating indigenous ways of knowledge into education for both indigenous students and other learners. Barnhardt doesn’t disappoint as he goes into significant detail about the initiatives being undertaken by Alaska Native Knowledge Network. As well, he provides an in-depth description of indigenous educational values as presented in a document called Alaska Standards for Culturally Responsive Schools.  


Place-based Education: Connecting Classroom and Community

A short article by David Sobel (2012) describing examples of westernized schools and classrooms that have chosen to implement a place-based educational approach to teaching and learning. Sobel provides an excellent definition of place-based education near the end of this piece which describes a place-based education in a western educational setting. An interesting read to consider if interested in incorporating place-based values into a western educational classroom.


“Indigenous digital storytelling is created by or with indigenous peoples for indigenous communities.” (Iseke & Moore, 2011,p.21)

Community Based Indigenous Storytelling with Elders and Youth

This journal article provides an overview of four case studies describing indigenous community digital storytelling experiences. The case studies include the purposes and processes involved in the development of the community-based video making as well as a contemplation on the balance of honouring traditional storytelling processes.

Iseke, J. M. & Moore, S. (2011). Community based indigenous storytelling with elders and youth. American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 35, 19-38. Retrieved from http://www.ourelderstories.com/wp-content/uploads/pdf/CommunityBasedIndigenousDigitalStorytelling_2011.pdf

Smart Ideas: Q&A Jo-ann Archibald on Indigenous “story work”

An online interview with Jo-Ann Archibald as she shares about her focus on indigenous stories and storytelling, or what she likes to refer to as “story work”. Throughout the interview Archibald describes the importance of storytelling for indigenous peoples along with its ability to encourage inclusive education.

A review on Jo-Ann Archibald’s book, Indigenous Storywork: Educating the Heart, Mind, Body, and Spirit can be read hereAs well, an online excerpt of Archibald’s writings to intrigued the seeking educator: Indigenous Storywork.