Myth Perceptions is a site that I came across that might help people understand First Nations culture better.  Many people (not necessarily those taking this course) but cultural misconceptions and stereotypes exist (regardless of the culture).  This site provides information to demystify those ideas.  It also presents issues that First Nations people face.

September 19, 2010   No Comments

Tradition and Literature

I came across the “Using First Nations Traditional Literature in the Classroom” site.   It is created by the Saskatoon Public Schools Online Resources Centre.  It provides educational resources to teachers.  There are outlined activities for oral tradition, examining folklore, and story-telling.  These are all important aspects to First Nations culture.  This site helps to keep those alive for students and teaches them about those traditions.  This can be useful to help educators incorporate tradition and culture into the classroom.

September 19, 2010   No Comments

What I Learned In Class Today

Aboriginal issues have become an important issue at UBC, and part of it is the work done by “What I Learned in Class Today: Aboriginal Issues in the Classroom,” which is a research project that explores difficult discussions of Aboriginal issues that take place in classrooms at UBC.  It can be said that through this project by two UBC students, Karrmen Crey and Amy Perreault, that UBC has focussed much more on the challenges of aboriginal students in university.  In 2009, it released its  Aboriginal Strategic Plan to better understand and support students of aboriginal ancestry on campus and also studies about this very important topic.   Developed in the First Nations Studies Program at UBC, this project examines the experiences of students, instructors, and administrators at the university to make these problems visible, better understand how difficulties arise, and to find ways to have more professional and productive classroom discussions.

Students frequently report troubling and sometimes traumatic discussions of cultural issues in class. These situations often affect their ability to function in their coursework, and even their ability to return to class.  Using technology as its main platform, the project looks at how the challenges around talking about race work as an educational barrier at the classroom level.  Not sufficiently addressed in educational institutions, and yet, desperately needing attention & to be discussed, video interviews of students, instructors, and reactions from viewers to the videos are carefully displayed on the website as a digital tool for study and research.   In doing so, the project works to improve the conversations around politically and culturally sensitive issues in a classroom by asking: how does cultural communication happen in a classroom, and how can it be improved?  This goes to show that technology isn’t just neutral — it can be used to create change.  For the better.

This project has generated quite a bit of public attention, including articles online at CBC and  I’m glad it has, for the better!

September 15, 2010   No Comments