All 5 in 1 Post!

In the following post, I would like to start by reviewing three chapters found in the SAGE handbook of curriculum and instruction which look at issues of Indigenous education as they refer to past and present educational reforms.  These articles represent the studies of various researchers that deal with the issues of universalization or globalization of education and curriculum and its effect and alienation of indigenous youth leading to increased drop-out rates and disengagement.  All three chapters can be found in The SAGE handbook of curriculum and instruction at  Note, you need to be connected to the VPN in order for the links to work.

Following these three articles, I will look specifically at a successful model of Indigenous schools referred to in Farrell’s article and, finally, I have included a link to a 2009 declaration of rights by Canada’s First Nation people, referring specifically to the section on education.

Resource One:

In Deyhle, Swisher Stevens and Galvan’s article, on “Indigenous resistance and renewal: From colonizing practices to self-determination”, focusses on the effects of colonization of Indigenous peoples and the importance of self-determination in their struggle to decolonize.  The chapter quotes the words of Colonel Pratt on the education of Natives as “the end to be gained….is the Indian to lose his identity” (p.331).  The authors describe the struggle of Indigenous people to regain the right to self-determination of Indigenous education through their own schools in which their values, culture, tradition and languages are taught and respected within their communities.  This is in direct contradiction to the current public system that they believe has continued to colonize their youth through assimilation and marginalization.  The authors suggest that local language, in conjunction with local knowledge, would improve students understanding and connection with their culture and propel them beyond what could be accomplished through the introduction of fragmented cultural knowledge within a decontextualized environment. Although a challenging endeavor, the reclaiming of authentic Indigenous knowledge among the youth has led to improvements in pride, tribal relations and communication, and learning.


Deyhle, D., Swisher, K., Stevens, T., & Galván, R. (2008). Indigenous resistance and renewal: From colonizing practices to self-determination. In F. Connelly, M. He, & J. Phillion (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of curriculum and instruction. (pp. 329-349). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: 10.4135/9781412976572.n16

Resource Two:

Increasingly, the world has become a global village in which time and place have accelerated and blurred.  Power struggles over dominant perspective have led to a westernization of pedagogy and curricular content across the globe.  Other cultures become marginalized by the vast flow of western ideas; and, whether consciously or unconsciously, curriculum across the globe becomes universalized.  Anderson-Levitt, in her article, asks a question that places the responsibility back in the hands of educators, “How have we come to teach what we teach and to teach as we do?” (p.349). Ultimately, this article provides insight into the Indigenous struggle for self-determination, and in truth, a reality that all students are facing in this cultural crisis.  This is a global concern that, as Deyhle et al. describe in the previous resource, creates disengagement and disconnection between the curriculum and the students.


Anderson-Levitt, K. (2008). Globalization and curriculum. In F. Connelly, M. He, & J. Phillion (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of curriculum and instruction. (pp. 349-369). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: 10.4135/9781412976572.n17

Resource Three:

Farrell in “Community education in developing countries: The quiet revolution in schooling”, notes that,

similar to the findings of Deyhle et al., a focus on local knowledge results in greater curricular learning.  Upon the analysis of over 200 alternative programs in community education, standardized curriculum scored the lowest in terms of learning, whereas, localized curriculum improved learning, self-confidence and self-esteem.  Successful examples that were given were Escuela Nueva in Columbia and Guatemala, The Community Schools Program in Egypt, and the Non-Formal Primary Program in Bangladesh.  Farrell points to the aspects of these models that appear to increase success including a varied and student-centered approach focussing on context, local relevance, and community involvement that enables student’s to identify with the curriculum.   This speaks to the idea that colonization and globalization may be counterproductive to engagement and learning.  Essentially, Anderson-Levitt’s article describes the current model as an undemocratic processes in which individual and cultural meaning are displaced by more dominant and powerful perspectives.  These three articles lead me to believe that the democratic self-determination and involvement in youth education by tribal communities has a far greater potential to succeed than the present educational model.


Farrell, J. (2008). Community education in developing countries: The quiet revolution in schooling. In F. Connelly, M. He, & J. Phillion (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of curriculum and instruction. (pp. 369-391). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: 10.4135/9781412976572.n18

Resource Four:

Rachel Kline, in “A Model for Improving Rural Schools: Escuela Nueva in Columbia and Guatemala”, describes the Escuela Nueva (EN) school reform model for rural and Indigenous students.  In the article she provides the context, components and potential for expansion to other contexts of the EN model. In particular, the Guatemala Project was directed towards the Mayan-speaking Indigenous people with the plan to improve rural education.  In these one-teacher rural schools, teachers implemented a program consisting of “active pedagogy, flexible promotion, student government and community involvement” (p 176).  One of the reasons that the author believes that this model was successful, where other reform initiatives failed, is because of the involvement of teachers and administrators.  In this reform model, educators developed the curriculum, workbooks, and teacher guides from the grassroots level.  Of particular concern was the static or “fixed” nature of the previous model derived in the Escuela Nueva project that was thought to contribute to its diminishing success. This was considered in the Guatemala project by enabling the curriculum to be flexible, relevant and current.  To further increase the effectiveness and relevance of the curriculum, Guatemalan educators also created bilingual materials. These models, along with others, may serve to demonstrate to educators and policy makers how they can better educate those that are marginalized by our society.


Kline, R. (2002).  A model for improving rural schools: Escuela Nueva in Colombia and Guatemala. Current Issues in Comparative Education (CICE), 2(2), 170-181. Retrieved from   

Resource Five:

In the Assembly of First Nations document, “First nation control of first nation education: It’s our vision, it’s our time”, the Assembly provides a blueprint for self-determination of the First Nation’s educational program across Canada.  In it, they request the right to control a diverse and holistic program of education in which their community members are taught local knowledge and curriculum that is based on their beliefs, values and traditions in their native language.

This desire to study their local knowledge, beliefs, values and traditions in their native language is significant.   As Deyhle et al. mentioned previously, it is through a people’s native language that their culture is given context, a “sort of filter” through which they can better connect to their world and understand their community (p. 338).


Assembly of First Nations. (December, 2009). First Nation control of First Nation education: It’s our vision, it’s our time. Retrieved from

 In conclusion, these articles, models, and calls for self-determination by the Indigenous Nations indicates the need for Indigenous education to be specific to local communities and consist of the involvement of the community and their cultural artifacts to pick up where books and teacher’s knowledge leaves off.  In Farrell’s and Kline’s articles, they provide real situations that indicate how to counter globalized education and further colonization, and create improved learning for Indigenous students.

Cheers, Steve MacKenzie


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