Module Four

Phillips Indian Educators: Outside the Box/Within the Circle

Best Practices of Indigenous Education

As an American non-profit organization Phillips Indian Educators seek to “dramatically improve education for Indian students by ensuring that all educators or Indian students are knowledgeable enough to competently incorporate indigenous best practices into their teaching”. The ad-hoc group is currently composed of Native educators and administrators, working together to face the challenges faced by Native children and young adults in charter and public schools. The website provides a set of best practices of Indigenous Pedagogy and provides resources based on four holistic values in Indigenous learning: knowledge, respect, sharing and wisdom.

November 16, 2011   No Comments

Experiential Learning in an Indigenous Context: Integration of place, experience and criticality in educational practice

By Kevin O’Connor

This is a 123 page report on using experiential learning to enhance indigenous learning. The Executive Summary states that many of the programs outlined in the report “successfully utilize experiential and placed-based initiatives to address the lack of success and disengagement amongst Indigenous students by promoting a holistic form of education that values the importance of place and its cultural knowledge” (O’Connor, 2010, p.4). The author states that “ The primary objective of this research is to discover which elements of experiential and place-based education lead to greater engagement of Indigenous students and improved educational outcomes” (p. 4).

November 16, 2011   No Comments

First Nations Holistic Lifelong Learning  

This is an amazing resource that introduces the First Nations Holistic Lifelong Learning Model in the form of a ‘pedagogical tree’ where each part of the tree portrays a different dimension of personal development: spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental, “through which learning is experienced holistically.” According to the website “lifelong learning for First Nations peoples is grounded in experiences that embrace both indigenous and Western knowledge traditions, as depicted in the tree’s root system, Sources and Domains of Knowledge. Just as the tree draws nourishment through its roots, the First Nations person learns from and through the natural world, language, traditions and ceremonies, and the world of people (self, family, ancestors, clan, community, nation and other nations). Any uneven root growth can destabilize the learning system. The root system also depicts the intertwining presence of indigenous and Western knowledge, which forms the tree trunk’s core, where learning develops” (“Describing the Model”, para. 2).

November 16, 2011   No Comments

First Nations Pedagogy Blog

This blog is a compilation of resources pertaining to indigenous activism, education, governance, health, history and knowledge. It contains a set of featured articles and videos relating to pedagogy and action movements. The original author, is named June and is a Metis, from Anishinabe and European bloodlines. She was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, close to where her ancestors settled. Surprisingly, June is/was a PhD Candidate in Curriculum and Pedagogy Studies at the University of British Columbia with a focus on educational technology. Her website features a number of articles on course design for indigenous learning, adult education and learning, and curriculum development.

November 16, 2011   No Comments

Aboriginal Canada Portal

This site is part of the Government of Canada website and it includes resources for teachers, specifically educational resources, lesson plans and activities. Some educational resources worth noting include: aboriginal arithmetic, aboriginal literatures in Canada, aboriginal youth justice, first nations films, and native dance and drums. On the lesson plans and activities side, the website provides some of the following types of resources: aboriginal societies in Canada, contemporary Inuit sculpture, culture and its meaning, First Nations contributions, language and culture, Inuit of the Canadian Arctic, and pathway to wellness handbook.

November 16, 2011   No Comments

Module Three

Learning Indigenous Science from Place

Research Study Examining Indigenous-Based Science Perspectives in Saskatchewan First Nations and Metis Community Contexts

This 158 page report is based on a 2007 project, in which a group of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal scholars, teachers and administrators investigated the potential inclusion of First Nations and Metis perspectives in the Saskatchewan school science curriculum. The purpose of the project was to find different ways to improve the achievement levels of Aboriginal students. “The research model provided a process and avenue through which community members could collectively clarify problems and formulate new visions for the future, implement and test meaningful solutions and thereby generate new knowledge” (p. 6). The researchers focused on “Aboriginal Peoples who have been previously marginalized from opportunities to envision, develop, and operate policies, programs, and services” as the primary sources of knowledge (p. 6).

November 6, 2011   No Comments

The Learning Garden: Place-based Learning for Holistic First Nations’ Community Health

Mirella L. Stroink, Connie H. Nelson, and Brian McLaren, Lakehead University

This case study is featured on the Canadian Council on Learning and it specifically addresses the idea of contextual learning and community health for First Nations communities. “This report presents the development and findings of the Learning Garden program, which was developed and run in partnership with Ginoogaming and Aroland First Nations in Northwestern Ontario. The Learning Garden program was developed with the purpose of increasing physical, emotional, and social indicators of health, while taking an initial step toward community resilience in the area of food by increasing local food knowledge” (p. 6).

November 6, 2011   No Comments

New Learning: Transformational designs for Pedagogy and Assessment

“Literacies presents a contemporary approach to literacy learning and teaching, developing and extending ‘Multiliteracies’ theory and practice.” This online book presents 15 chapters of information on different aspects of literacies, one of which is dedicated to Literacies on a Human Scale, more specifically Eight Aboriginal Ways of Learning. This chapter includes information on story sharing, learning maps, symbols and images, and so forth. More information on this topic has been recorded using a wiki at:

November 6, 2011   No Comments

Indigenous Teaching at Australian Universities

“We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the traditional owners of this land, and pay our respects to the Elders past and present”

The Australian Learning & Teaching Council, has dedicated a part of their work to Indigenous teaching at Australian Universities. This website features a set of “research-based exemplars for good practice” on Indigenous teaching, based on research interviews with 26 Indigenous and non-Indigenous university teachers across New South Wales and Victoria, as well as materials from recent forums on indigenous learning and teaching.  Topics include:

1. What is Indigenous Teaching?

2. What does ‘Indigenous Studies’ include?

3. Who are the teachers?

4. Who are the students?

5. 15 approaches to indigenous teaching

November 6, 2011   No Comments

Aboriginal Learning Knowledge Center

The Aboriginal Learning Knowledge Center is one of the five knowledge centers of the Canadian Council on Learning and  “was created to provide a collaborative national forum that would support the development of effective solutions for the challenges faced by First Nations, Métis and Inuit learners” (Canadian Council on Learning, 2011). The Center consists of more than 80 organizations and individuals from across Canada, dedicated towards finding solutions for the improvement of Aboriginal learning in Canada. Their website features a number of featured publications addressing Aboriginal learning, gender issues, the role of elders, Metis post-secondary education systems, and indigenous knowledge.

November 6, 2011   No Comments