Sherman’s Research – The End of the Beginning

This marks the last weblog for ETEC 521. The selection this time includes missing pieces to the final project. However, the end is only the beginning of my journey in my venture into stories and their importance to indigenous peoples, as well as their strength that can be harnessed in future curricula development. This topic is broad and I am certain that my research would not even be close to complete within the bounds of 2000 words. For the time being though, I will look at this as an appetizer to my on going hunger for learning as an educator.

Exploration #16 – Invoking the Spirits of Our Ancestors

Klasky, P.M. (2010) Invoking the Spirits of Our Ancestors: the place and power of song in the protection of land and cultures. Retrieved from

This article discusses the power of songs in the context of protecting land and culture, and decolonization. The article reviewed songs that were performed to government to express the importance of land and cultures. Each of these songs was explained, and many analogies to nature were used in these songs to convey very real and very strong emotions. These songs were recorded to provide younger generations with a gift of guidance passed down from their ancestors.

Personal Connection:

The indigenous songs and stories are not often shared with students in mainstream education, so it is difficult for many to appreciate a culture that is rarely shared. I think this is also the case for a lot of indigenous youth who has moved away from reserves and lives in mainstream society; understanding of their own heritage would be rather difficult for them. From this article, I learned that with technology, record of these songs that holds a lot of knowledge can be shared with the younger generation with less of a risk of loss due to the passing of an indigenous singer. Beyond sharing these songs with students with indigenous backgrounds, I think, if appropriate, sharing of these songs with children with non-indigenous backgrounds would be a wonderful alternative learning. I was especially drawn by the first song of Newe Huvia as I think it is a great teaching of respect and ecology to all living things that shares the same niche with us – it is simply more emotionally engaging than a textbook of theories.

Exploration #17 – Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Alaska Native Ways of Knowing

Barnhardt, R., and Kawagley, A.O. (2005). Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Alaska Native Ways of Knowing. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 36(1), 8 – 23.

This article compares the Indigenous Knowledge Systems to Western Science. When placed in a Venn diagram, the two knowledge systems share quite a bit of common ground. The differences often complement one another to form more holistic learning that fits 21st century demands in education. The article mentioned a little bit about residential schools, but focus mostly on potential to change our current education system to better serve our diverse learners.

Personal Connection:

I am the type of person who do not enjoy conflicts, and I still hold tight to my naïve ideal that seemingly opposite views and values can work together to make a grand picture to better portrait our understanding of our world. Of course, this is not always as easy as snapping Lego pieces together for joining Western and Indigenous ways of learning. There are invisible issues that exert resistance to the merger of two worlds. However, laying out the plan as this article has would usually help kick start the change. This article help bridge the gap of my research in terms of incorporating indigenous wisdoms into today’s education.

Exploration #18 – Exposing Legacy of the Indian Residential School System

Gray, R.R.R. (2011). Visualizing pedagogy and power with urban native youth: Exposing the legacy of the indian residential school system. Canadian Journal of Native Education, 34(1), 9-27,103. Retrieved from

This article discusses the Indian Residential School System in Canada. The multigenerational impact of residential school spans many facets of life: social, cultural, economic, political, spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, and linguistic. The article attempts to bring more public visibility to the impact felt by today’s youth from the legacy of residential schools.

Personal Connection:

Throughout my exploration, I have not yet looked into how storytelling (and other indigenous ways of knowing) was interrupted by colonization. I think this is an important to examine the impact of residential school, when I look into making changes to our curriculum today to be more holistic. I find that knowing about residential school and its impact also brings out the reason as to why it is important to modify our way of teaching as well.

Exploration #19 – The Best of Both Worlds: A Critical Pedagogy of Place

Gruenewald, D.A. (2003). The Best of Both Worlds: A Critical Pedagogy of Place. Educational Researcher, 32(4). 3 – 12. Retrieved from 3700002

This article attempts to combine “place-based education” and “critical pedagogy” into a more rounded pedagogy that encourage reflection on educational practices in relationship to the place we live in and the impact it has towards future generations. That is, to incorporate social and ecological consciousness into education, in contrast with the standardized mainstream that focuses on facts that are difficult for student to relate directly to their lives and the place they inhabit.

Personal Connection:

I am currently taking ETEC 565A along with ETEC 521 this term. The discussion of teaching of ethics came up in our forum, and I do not think any of us recall any teaching of that existing in our current mainstream curricular. And for the minimal that does exist, they are often taught out of context, which students tend to disregard and push away. I think “critical place-based education’ would be more fitting to teach social and ecological consciousness than the disconnected lessons that we have. Perhaps this is another great thing about stories and how they help us make sense of this world.

Exploration #20 – Reflection on Intergenerational Trauma: Healing as a Critical Intervention

Quinn, A. (2007). Reflection on intergenerational trauma: Healing as a critical intervention. First Peoples Child & Family Review, 3(4). 72 – 82. Retrieved from

This article reviews the intergenerational trauma that was brought about by residential schools in Canada. Statistics reveal that provincial and territorial care for aboriginal children is not effective in dealing with the intergenerational trauma, and that getting to the source by healing the traumatic experience is needed to break the trauma cycle.

Personal Connection:

This is a slight deviation from my exploration on storytelling, as I want to know what we are doing and why we need to take action on changing our curriculum to be more inclusive of indigenous students. I was interested to know what sort of resources and help we are currently providing indigenous children in dealing with the residential school legacy. After reading this article and connecting with other readings I have done, I believe that incorporation of indigenous ways of learning in our curriculum is a great way to bring about healing. A lot of the time mainstream curriculum lacks engagement with the emotional side of learning by focusing solely on scientific facts and carved-in-stone history. This offers very little to people in trauma. This, did not provide me with a solution, but it certainly gave me a reason to want to make changes to my own practice.

November 27, 2012   No Comments

Sherman’s Research – Chapter 3

The term is flying by like a soaring hawk! Module 3 exploration on decolonization and indigenous property rights has helped me understand better the power of storytelling. In this module, the Fraser River Journey video resonated with my research. Digital storytelling through videos is a very effective way to convey learning that is more intangible, such as characteristics of courage that was talked about and exhibited in the video. This is, by far, much more convincing than hundreds of pages worth of text-based communication alone.

Exploration #11 – Sacred Healing Stories Told at the End of Life

Tuck, I., Johnson, S.C., Kuznetsoya, M.I., McCrocklin, C., Baxter, M., Bennington, L.K. (2012).Sacred Healing Stories Told at the End of Life. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 30(2), 69 – 80.

This article explored the use of storytelling and its healing properties to patients suffering from cancer. The study indicates presence, active listening, contact or noncontact touch in  storytelling have a potential positive effect on the wellbeing of suffering patients, through building stronger emotional support through connectedness with their shared experiences.

Personal Connections: 

I think this article connects with what I have learned from this module with regards to stories being a great medium to convey emotions. This is an important part of life that I have found to be missing from education. Textbooks often do exceptionally well on delivering logical, sequential content, but completely lack the flexibility to individual exploration and interpretation with integration of the more human side of learning, which involved inner connection with the subject. The finding from this article, although not strong enough to say stories definitely has a healing effect, I do not think that it would be a disadvantage for us to include more in what we do.Personal Connections

Exploration #12 – Vancouver Society of Storytelling

The Vancouver Society of Storytelling is a member of the National Storytelling association. They support the art of storytelling through hosting workshops and monthly events. Due to the nature of the population in British Columbia, the Vancouver Society of Storytelling is also support storytelling in order to maintain cultural diversity. They provide toolkits to educators and students to help them engage in the art of storytelling.

Personal Connections:

I have not yet examined a storytelling society in my research that is local, so finding this website was definitely an exciting experience! As with the previous storytelling society explored, this one goes hand in hand with education. The fact that storytelling society is generally associated with the field of education, shows the important role stories play in teaching and learning. Interestingly, when I look back to my childhood, stories were often the lessons I remember most, aside from any sort of hands-on experience. In accordance, I have little memory of the years of school that I had from grade 1 to grade 4, where stories were not often use in the classroom. However, I do remember all the home teaching and moral of the stories told by my mother and my spiritual leader. As an instructor, I wonder how we could bring this traditional and holistic form of learning (back) into our classroom. I am curious to find out more about the toolkit the Vancouver Society of Storytelling has to offer.

Exploration #13 – Power of Stories

Terrence, L. G. (2006). Power of stories. The Journal for Quality and Participation, 29(1), 4-8.

Terrence outlined the power of stories in a corporate environment. The article promotes the use of storytelling would benefit both managers and their teams. Nine key functions of stories were outlined, they include:

  • Stories empower a speaker.
  • Stories create an environment.
  • Stories bind and bond individuals.
  • Stories engage our minds in active listening.
  • Stories negotiate differences.
  • Stories encode information.
  • Stories are tools for thinking.
  • Stories serve as weapons.
  • Stories bring about healing.

The nine functions not only brings with it benefit to the team, but it could also be used to help heal a team that has gone under stress and pain from conflict. Stories allow sharing of experiences, which is an important factor in team building.

Personal Connections:

As an instructor in a corporation, I always wonder if there is a motivation for leaders to see the importance of the stories I tell in my classroom. Often, storytelling is seen as something one would do if time permits. However, this article summarizes the effectiveness of storytelling even outside of the education department. I still remember when I was selecting the topic of research for this course. I was having quite a bit of conflicted feelings not being able to bring direct value to my team as I did not see storytelling as a corporately appropriate topic. Yet, this article contains a good deal of reasons to include storytelling from a management point of view that has changed my view of my research.

Exploration #14 – Scheherazade’s Secret: The Power of Stories and the Desire to Learn

Willis, P. (2011). Scheherazade’s Secret: The Power of Stories and the Desire to Learn. Australian Journal of Adult Learning, 51, 110 – 122.

This paper presents how stories can help engage the minds and heart of a learner, rather than how stories can transfer information. The author outlined the four modalities of learning which can be supported by stories: ‘embodied sensations and feelings’, ‘imaginal’, ‘conceptual analysis and critique’, and ‘reflective action’. Willis argues that stories is a holistic view of approaching human pedagogy, as it does not force learning upon learner, instead, it provokes self reflection and brings about self-initiated actions.

Personal Connections:

I really enjoy reading this paper as the paper was written in a storytelling manner, which shows me directly engaging power of storytelling. Although I already view storytelling as a great way to deliver learning, I have not actually reviewed how stories can support human pedagogy directly. The way Willis presents his view connected with my view of education as a constructive process rather than a single-direction instructive process. The paper gives me much inspiration with regards to how I could structure my own research paper for this term.

Exploration #15 – Collaboration in Animation: Working Together to Empower Indigenous Youth

Davenport, M.G., & Gunn, K. (2009). Collaboration in Animation: Working Together to Empower Indigenous Youth. Art Education62(5), 6-12.

This article documents the experience Davenport and Gunn shared while they taught animation to indigenous youth in Mexico. The workshop hosted was a part of an effort in encouraging indigenous youth to value their tradition and culture, while developing skills that could help them voice their culture to the rest of the world. Davenport and Gunn expressed that they have changed their perspective as the program progressed. They mentioned that one of the most important skill in making this workshop work is actively listening to one another and be flexible to changes.

Personal Connections:

My exploration through this article was purely out of curiosity of how non-indigenous teachers could help indigenous students in voicing themselves to the world, as the production of Fraser River Journey video has intrigued me in wanting to find out how this collaboration works. I enjoyed reading through the two authors’ journey in Mexico, however, I wish there were some voices of the children included in this study. I guess this will form the more mainstream perspective of my research and I will continue to hunt for indigenous perspective in my next chapter of research!

November 4, 2012   No Comments

Sherman’s Research – Chapter 2

As I venture further into my storytelling while expanding my view as I progressed through Module 2, I started thinking rather the resources I have so far originated from real indigenous sources or a mishmash that is put together by ‘wannabes’. In my previous research, I mentioned that I wonder if technology could help keep these stories that survived for centuries alive for even longer, but now I wonder as I research if technology would also be the killer of these centuries-old teachings due to the mass amount of mixed messages and the culture of wanting information at lightning speed, ignoring the importance of depth and the necessity of time-sensitive revealing of concepts and ideas.


Exploration #6 – Toward an Ecology of Stories: Indigenous Perspectives on Resilience
Kirmayer, L.J., Dandeneau, S., Marshall, E., Phillips, M.K., and Williamson, K.J. (2012). Toward an Ecology of Stories. The Social Ecology of Resilience, 399 – 414. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4614-0586-3_31

This article discusses the way indigenous people survive colonization through their ‘historical rootedness’ to formulate a theory of the resilience in the effort of supporting development of a program that. Storytelling or narrative was discussed in this chapter as a mean of maintaining cultural and individual resilience in indigenous people, which was described to assert authority and common value shared by members of the tribe.

Personal Connection:

This article slightly defer from my focus on stories. However, I think resilience is an important puzzle piece in bridging my understanding as to why storytelling is a powerful teaching tool. The ideas of asserting authority and affirming value are quite new to me in terms of value that storytelling offers. As I read this article, I wonder continuously how this fits into my research and learning in the end.


Exploration #7 – When Aboriginal and Métis Teachers use Storytelling as an Instructional Practice

This article is a research on how seven teachers incorporate storytelling into their instructional practice. It was found that the incorporation of traditional storytelling not only reflects indigenous way of learning, but it was also found that students become more active in participating in their own learning and a stronger community learner is built; through storytelling, the teacher can incorporate experience and ideas that students brought with them into the classroom more readily into the curriculum. As a result, the lessons are more relevant to the learners and, thus, participation level increased.

Personal Connection:

This is an important part of my research on storytelling. At the beginning of my research journey, I wondered how storytelling impacted learning. My naïve thinking originally relates storytelling to a more fun and imaginative way of representing information in a digestible form from a third person point of view. However, this article broadened my view to show that there is multiple layers of benefit to storytelling, many of which even a classroom for ‘mainstream’ student would likely benefit from – THIS is what I am curious about as a teacher, mentor, sister, daughter and a future mother…


Exploration #8 – Indigenous Knowledges and the Story of the Bean

Brayboy, B.M.J., and Maughan, E. (2009). Indigenous Knowledges and the Story of the Bean. Harvard Educational Review, 79(1). 1 – 21.

This portion of my exploration features a clash between the mainstream educational system and the indigenous system of knowledge. Students in an indigenous teacher preparation program question the mainstream system of knowledge. One of the indigenous student teacher reworked a science lesson to demonstrate the value and holistic of indigenous view of knowledge.

Personal Connection:

I know that storytelling is powerful, but the reason why I wanted to explore this more is because I know I like this form of teaching yet do not know how to express to other teachers as to why this might be a good incorporation for lessons (or at least my reasons are more one sided as mentioned in my previous exploration). This, along with exploration #3, provides me with reasons from a different perspective. Storytelling is not only to provide examples to a theory explained, but also a mean of creating a community that grows. Stories are not static, but dynamic with addition of stories from students, and the storyteller is not always the teacher but the classroom as a whole. This to me is completely new. Reading these article in a more of a storytelling form also feels very different from reading other academic research that are more influenced by Western knowledge views.


Exploration #9 – Indigenous Voices

Joseph, K. (2009). Indigenous Voices. World Literature Today83(5), 4.

This is a letter to the editor of World Literature Today by a Maori writer. This short letter expresses the importance of representation of indigenous voices in modern literature today to people of indigenous background and also to the understanding of indigenous culture by outsiders. The author of this letter also mentioned Patricia Grace as an Maori writer, which would be worth further exploring in my research.

Personal Connection:

This is likely not an article packed with information that I will incorporate into my final research composition at the end of this term. However, I am including this part of my research exploration because this is a letter that voices the importance of sharing indigenous stories in modern literature to both indigenous people and those of us who are not of indigenous origins. I find that the emotion presented is profound to reminding me of the importance of storytelling.


Exploration #10 – Indigenous Literacy Foundation

This is the official site for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation of Australia. This site focuses on work that is being carried out right now by the foundation to provide books and literacy resources for indigenous people in remote communities. Rather than imposing participation, the foundation invites people from these remote communities to share their stories. Stories from these communities are then shared on this site.

Personal Connection:

This is not a site on indigenous storytelling. However, the way that this website is structured perks my interest. The way that the foundation words things in terms of sharing success stories and inviting participating and potentially participating communities to share experiences seems to be a softer approach to achieving literacy in general. It is also interesting to read stories from the community. However, as I am going through this site, I also wonder if the stories presented here are influenced and shaped by more mainstream views. A further analysis and exploration would need to be done to examine this source thoroughly.


October 15, 2012   No Comments

The Story of Sherman’s Initial Research

I am not a very adventurous person, as I have always been taught in my family to think ten-times before taking actions. It is a way of ensuring quality of work, but at times, I feel that I should be a bit more impulsive to catch my opportunity while it is there. Perhaps I would try that in the next module of research.


I am not sure if this is appropriate but other than researches, I want to document some of my own reflections as I progress. This way, I will be able to follow my own story when I reach the final paper at the end of this term.


I wavered on my research interest because I feel loyalty towards writing another research paper focusing on my corporation, as my education is currently supported by my company right now. However, I feel the need this time to deviate from a corporate focused research and explore topic that I have a lot of passion for – the Power of Stories. Hopefully I will learn a lot and be able to bring back new experiences and knowledge to my team in the end. Since I was uncertain of my topic for a long while, my list of exploration is a bit shorter than I hope.


Exploration #1 – PBS Circle of Stories


The Circle of Stories contains various audio clips, artful collage, music and photographs which unveil Native American storytelling. There is a substantial list of resources on indigenous culture of America on this site. Currently, there are four storytellers sharing their stories on this site – Rosella Archdale, Hoskie Benally, Corbin Harney and Tchin. Each of them shares their biography and information about their tribes to their site visitors. The story audio clips and ability for visitors to connect with storytellers build a very warming and connecting experience for visitors.


Personal Connection:

This connection may be very useful later in my exploration when I seek for a deeper understanding. However, questions are not forming yet in my mind at this moment.


Exploration #2 – California Indian Storytelling Association


The California Indian Storytelling Association provides a storytelling forum for American indigenous people. The site is not focusing on any specific tribe. They support all tribes in California as well as members of other tribes who have relocated to California. According to the website, this association hosts an annual storytelling event that promotes and honor storytelling. The purpose and goal of the association communicates the importance of storytelling in indigenous culture.


Personal Connection:

Since my brother was born in California, this association grabbed my attention because of its location. Although he was born in California, we have never had the chance to explore the indigenous culture there. In a way, this is a mean of connecting to my brother’s birthplace. In regards to my final research, I think the purpose and goal communicated on this website capture the value of storytelling clearly, which includes honouring elders, passing on the storytelling tradition, respecting family and community…

Exploration #3 – Online Ghibli: Princess Mononoke


Online Ghibli: Princess Mononoke provides a review and a synopsis of the famous production of Studio Ghibli. This story shares the journey of a young man from the Ainu tribe seeking reason for destruction of the spiritual forest as human progress slowly eat away resources of nature.


Personal Connection:

Online Ghibli is not a place I would go to for academic research, but I have decided to include this as a part of my research weblog of websites. This is because while I was researching on storytelling, I came across the Ainu tribe and I recall hearing that in Princess Mononoke, which is one of my favourite productions from Studio Ghibli as it tells a tale of environment preservation through mystical beast and an enchanted storyline. From this review and synopsis I have found a modernized representation of storytelling that has the ability to create deep, life-long memory.


Exploration #4 – Human Rhythm and Divine Rhythm in Ainu Epics


Mace, F. (1998). Human rhythm and divine rhythm in Ainu epics. Diogenes46(1), 31.


This article explores epics passed down generations in the Ainu tribe. Many of the Ainu communities has disappeared due to assimilation into the Japanese society as modernization expands and engulfed traditions. Like that faced by many other indigenous cultures around the world, assimilation began with compulsory schooling for people of the Ainu tribe. Since schools are taught entirely in Japanese, many of the Ainu descendants today do not recognize their ancestral language. Sadly, not all stories of the Ainu tribe are preserved and hence part of their culture has become extinct.


Personal Connection:

After reading about the connection between Princess Mononoke and the Ainu tribe, I decided that I wanted to learn more about the tribe itself, so I explore in the UBC library catalogue to see if I could find anything. This article was interesting and I learned that stories is not always told in prose, which I have grown accustom to. Ainu epics seem to take on a more poetic form. This is perhaps why the story survives orally for generations. It is sad though to know that assimilation has detached a lot of descendent of the Ainu tribe from their ancestral language to the point that some of the stories are long lost. At this point I wonder if modern media would be able to keep stories that survive to date alive for centuries to come, and what type of powerful lessons can we draw from them.


Exploration #5 – Animating Indigenous Knowledges in Science Education


Metallic, J., & Seiler, G. (2009). Animating indigenous knowledges in science education. Canadian Journal of Native Education,32(1), 115-128,130. Retrieved from


Animating Indigenous Knowledges in Science Education explores how indigenous knowledge can be used to inform science education and science curricula and pedagogy. The article is written in a way that includes conversation amongst the researchers, which, in its own way, demonstrates a more personalized and humanistic way of presenting an academic paper. This article does not promote a preference for indigenous science or western science, but a continuum where the two types of science bridges and form a more holistic classroom that could benefit students of all backgrounds.


Personal Connection:

Having been in a student and a tutor with a heavy preference of science for many years, I have come to realize that what I once thought was a neutral and logical subject contains “Western” bias. It is not as all encompassing as I once thought that it was. Science often dismiss the spirituality and more human side of life, and since I have learned of this bias, I wonder how indigenous storytelling can be incorporated into a science classroom. I have a similar question about this in regards to a corporate classroom as well. Although this article is not entirely about storytelling, but it  demonstrated that the practice of animating indigenous knowledge can be beneficial to both indigenous and non-indigenous students in the classroom by making the subject more humanistic, which is what I want to accomplish from learning about the power of storytelling.



September 24, 2012   No Comments

Power of Stories

The most memorable lessons I had the pleasure of being a part of were linked to powerful stories. As an immigrant from an Eastern country, stories my Western friends, mentors and teachers shared with me helped me understand life in Canada in a very personalized way. These experiences inspired me to weave stories into my own practices. As an instructor, I often receive feedbacks on how stories helped my students gain understanding of a theory in a practical way.

Far beyond my personal experience, stories have been used as a vehicle of learning for thousands of years. In indigenous culture, stories are often used to communicate values, ideas and knowledge. They are an important and inseparable part of indigenous education. As stories tend to promote active discussion and individual reflections, they tend to be etched deeply into the minds of learners. After all, many indigenous stories have survived centuries without prints (Mace, 1998). Hence I will focus my exploration on the power of stories in indigenous culture would help us gain a worldly educational view through countless generations of wisdom and create classrooms that respectfully accommodate individual differences.

Mace, F. (1998). Human rhythm and divine rhythm in Ainu epics. Diogenes46(1), 31.


September 23, 2012   No Comments