Walking Together: First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Perspectives in Curriculum
- This resource focuses on the important role that storytelling plays in literacy development amongst Aboriginal youth. The article also points out that language development, background knowledge, and phonemic awareness (p. 2) are only a small part of literacy development for youth. The article reminds me of the importance that social and cultural development play in early education, as outlined by Vygotsky, yet in this article there is an emphasis on using resources that also align with the spiritual realities of Aboriginal learners. To ignore this is to ignore the “process of becoming aware of the entwined interconnected relationships of all life and one’s role in creation” (p. 4). After reading this article, I’m interested in exploring storytelling programs that have been implemented in Canada, their effectiveness, and how a spiritual aspect has been incorporated into programming.
2009 The State of Aboriginal Learning in Canada: A Holistic Approach to Measuring Success
- I found this handout particularly interesting because it questions how we know what successful implementation of Aboriginal education looks and feels like. Throughout this ETEC course, I often wonder how many studies have actually been done on the success of programming that is targeted toward Aboriginal learners. While this is a preliminary report and definitely won’t give us all the answers, it was very helpful to view this guide as a holistic resource; I could begin to see how all of the interrelated parts (e.g., place-based learning, connectedness to others, etc.) work as a cohesive whole. I think that it provides a foundation in which we can begin to address the strengths and challenge of current programming in Canada, as well as address the important gaps in knowledge and understanding of how to support Indigenous learning.
A Handbook for Educators of Aboriginal Students
- This is another longer resource, but I think it’s one that I will refer to time and time again because it provides practical strategies for educators who are teaching Indigenous students. As well, one section (beginning on page 40) addresses different kinds of Aboriginal people, reminding educators that there are in fact many different kinds of learners, and identifying as “Aboriginal” does not mean that all Aboriginal students will learn in the same way. In this section, the authors address the critical roles of cultural awareness, cultural identity, cultural competence, and cultural sensitivity. I recommend looking at page 44 of this document to view strategies on how to implement these critical values in the classroom!
Redefining How Success is Measured in First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Learning
- Here is another resource that focuses on Aboriginal learning outcomes, this time with an emphasis on redefining outcomes for learning. In other articles I have viewed, the emphasis was on changing how to measure success, but I like the emphasis on redefining–it seems there needs to be more work that simply changing what has been done in the past. Instead of simply “adding on” components of Aboriginal learning, we must redefine what incorporating Indigenous learning and teaching actually looks like. This article offered another eye-opener for me because it pointed out how some of the “current” research that has been done on Indigenous learners’ success in the classroom can be misleading and not consider contextual factors, such as political or economical circumstances. It also pointed out how current data collection and other barriers for representing data may be skewing students’ representation of learning (p. 15). There are many knowledge and data gaps that need to be filled in order to collect telling data, but it was also a good reminder to keep a critical eye on any data that I come across, and not to accept anything at face value.
Mobile(izing) Educational Research: Historical Literacy, M-Learning, and Technopolitics
- For the final project, I am really interested in m-learning, so I was pleased when I stumbled upon a resource that McGill put out about the intricacies of mobile learning for Indigenous populations. This article zones in on why mobile learning, different from other e-Learning platforms, could be “uniquely placed to support learning that is personalized, authentic, and situated” (n.p.). The emphasis on situated learning in the context of Aboriginal education seems to be one of the most significant features of mobile learning, I think because it can potentially situate personal and historical stories and experiences through one medium. Finally, the authors of this article argue that while m-Learning may not be a site for decolonization to necessarily occur, it can act as a springboard for deeper conversation. It “depends on how each user integrates the mobile app in their classroom space. We believe that the creative use of these devices in our classroom spaces has the rich possibility for facilitating complicated, personalized and situated conversations.” There is always careful consideration from the authors that the technology itself cannot mobilize decolonization or act as a site of deconstruction–that must be mobilized from outside.