Teaching for Indigenous Education Website- Summary by Mickey Borason
The resource I chose for our common bowl was the Teaching for Indigenous Education Website located at http://www.indigenouseducation.educ.ubc.ca/. It is a digital online resource that promotes the implementation and importance of Indigenous knowledge and pedagogies in our current school curriculum and encourages educators to enhance the classroom learning experience for not just our Aboriginal students, but for all learners.
The creation and development of this website is a collaborative effort of both scholars and graduate students from the Faculty of Education at UBC, as well as support from the Teaching Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF), the Professional Development and Community Engagement (PDCE) and Learning and Technology Services (LTS). All this upon the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Musqueam People.
The website categorizes its resources into eight main themes that are relevant to Indigenous education found within the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples: Relationships, Knowledge, History, Pedagogy, Curriculum, Community, Languages, and Transformation. Within each of these themes are the following five sub-themes that link the user a plethora of resources that focus on changing classroom practices to enhance Indigenous teachings: Key Learning Ideas, Enhancing Understanding, Classroom Connections, and Additional Resources. Each of these sub-themes grant teachers access to a host of various resources that include lesson plans, multimedia, artwork, and literature all aimed to guide educators to link theory into practice in regards to Indigenous education.
One great benefit of this website is its simplicity. The interface is relatively user-friendly and navigation is fairly easy. There are hotlinks to other websites and resources, as well as many video vignettes that can be accessed directly from the website. The website can be accessed anywhere an internet connection can be found, on desktop computers, laptop, tablets, even smartphones. This means teachers can teach via the website and connect to other audio/visual equipment found in the classroom.
The one difficulty I found was the inability to search for specific topics on the website. A teacher would have to browse through each topic and theme and look over all the resources found in the website to find resources that are relevant to their course. This can be somewhat difficult, for example, if a teacher is new to Indigenous education and might be overwhelmed by the large amount of content found in the website.
I found a link to the OurVoices.ca website (http://www.ourvoices.ca/index/help) which contains a series of ten lesson plans geared towards teaching students (K-8) about storytelling as a learning tool. The lessons were developed by Karen H. Myran, an Anishinaabe Ikwe teacher from Long Plain First Nation. As a special education teacher, storytelling is a style that is familiar and engaging for students with learning disabilities. While it provides structure, it also has flow and causes students to visualize what is being said to them, which aids in retention and understanding. These lessons can be adapted to whatever the needs of the classroom calls for. In my case, I have students with individual learning needs and require various levels of support. These lessons can be modified to fit each student’s educational needs but maintain the main theme that is being taught. And because the success of the lessons is not need to be determined by the completion of the unit, the students can learn at their own pace and complete the lessons they are able to.
One lesson I use currently in my classroom is during journal writing. My students write a journal entry every class on various thought provoking topics. Periodically, I would use the chain-writing method of storywriting, or the “travelling story”. The topic would be a beginning sentence and each student would try to write three more sentences to add to the initial sentence. They would then pass their paper to the student next to them and they would have to continue the story with three sentences of their own and then pass the paper again and so on. At the end of the exercise, there will be many different stories written stemming from the same beginning sentence. Each student would then read one story, create a title for it, and draw a poster that they believe best illustrates the story.
By Mickey Borason
- Teaching for Indigenous Education (n.d.). Pedagogy-Classroom Connections-Our Voices:
Storytelling Lessons (K-8). Retrieved from http://www.indigenouseducation.educ.ubc.ca/pedagogy/classroom-connections/
- Our Voices (n.d.). Storytelling Lessons (K-8). Retrieved from