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Issue #10
September, 2010

National Indian Education Study (NIES) – 2009

Source: Sponsored by the Office of Indian Education and conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education.

Summary of Findings:

Summary: NIES is designed to assist policymakers and educators in making informed decisions as they work to improve the educational experiences of all American Indian and Alaska Native students. The results from NIES have already been used in congressional testimony and serve as a benchmark for measuring the effectiveness of existing programs. The addition of data from NIES 2009 will strengthen the study and enhance its impact on decisions affecting the education of American Indian and Alaska Native students.

The study was conducted in two parts, which focused on the academic achievement and educational experiences of fourth and eighth grade students across the country. The national sample included students from both public and non-public schools that have both large and small American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN).

UNESCO, 2009, Learning and Knowing in Indigenous Societies Today

Source:This publication is a collaborative effort of: The Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS) Programme, Natural Sciences Sector, The Intangible Heritage Section, Culture Sector, and The Division of Cultural Policies and Intercultural Dialogue, Culture Sector

Summary: Education, as it is understood in a Western context, is highlighted by many as both a major cause of the decline of indigenous knowledge, and also as a potential remedy for its demise. This 124 page document discusses the loss of specialized knowledge of nature and how it is a grave concern for many indigenous communities throughout the world.

The document is organised into three sections. The first addresses the link between indigenous knowledge and indigenous language, and explores the opportunities this interconnection provides for understanding and countering declines in both. The second section examines how the loss of indigenous knowledge due to insensitive school programmes may be countered by integrating indigenous knowledge and languages into school curricula. The third section explores the need for the revitalisation of indigenous ways of learning, generally outside of a classroom environment, and how this may be practically viable in modern contexts.

Sound Foundations for the Road Ahead: Fall 2009 Progress Report on the Implementation of the Ontario First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework

Source: Ontario Ministry of Education

Summary: In January 2007, the government launched Ontario’s new Aboriginal Education Strategy to support learning and achievement for Aboriginal students and to raise awareness about First Nation, Métis, and Inuit peoples’ cultures, histories, and perspectives in the schools.

The Aboriginal Education Strategy was launched with the release of Ontario First Nation, Métis, and Inuit Education Policy Framework, 2007. The framework is the foundation for delivering quality education to all First Nation, Métis, and Inuit students who attend provincially funded elementary and secondary schools in Ontario.

This report provides an overview of the steps the ministry, school boards, schools, and community partners have taken to implement the strategies outlined in the framework and to support First Nation, Métis, and Inuit student success.

This report is not intended to be an evaluation or an assessment of individual boards. Rather, it offers an update on the progress made to date, and shares recommendations on ways in which all partners can work together effectively to reach every student, build capacity, and raise awareness.

Storytelling: Aboriginal Cultures and Traditions

Source: The Cultures and Traditions Storytelling website development team consisted of five aboriginal youth who produced this web site and gathered the stories. The team was supported by staff at the Nechi Training, Research and Health Promotions Institute. Technical support was provided by an Aboriginal web design company called Brainhum Corporation. The team was supervised by staff from the Aboriginal Youth Network project.
Focus: Secondary students and teachers

Summary: Storytelling has always been a vital part of the cultural identity of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. Stories were told to teach lessons, give warnings, and keep history alive.

The stories found in this collection were gratefully collected from the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples of this country. Collectively identified by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada as “Aboriginal,” each group self-identifies as separate peoples with unique heritages, languages, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.

Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements

Source: British Columbia Ministry of Education, Aboriginal Education Branch
Focus: K-12

Summary:An Educational Enhancement Agreement (EA) is a working agreement between a school district, all local Aboriginal communities, and the Ministry of Education designed to enhance the educational achievement of Aboriginal students. The EA establishes a collaborative partnership between Aboriginal communities and school districts that involves shared decision-making and specific goal setting to meet the educational needs of Aboriginal students.

EAs highlight the importance of academic performance and more importantly, stress the integral nature of Aboriginal traditional culture and languages to Aboriginal student development and success. Fundamental to EAs is the requirement that school districts provide strong programs on the culture of local Aboriginal peoples on whose traditional territories the districts are located.

Enhancement Agreements:

  • are intended to continually improve the quality of education achieved by all Aboriginal students;
  • support strong cooperative, collaborative relationships between Aboriginal communities and school districts;
  • provide Aboriginal communities and districts greater autonomy to find solutions that work for Aboriginal students, the schools and the communities;
  • and require a high level of respect and trust to function.

Reading to Learn: English Literacy

Source: Aboriginal Education, Board of Studies, New South Wales, Australia
Focus: Aboriginal students and teachers

Summary: Perhaps the greatest single challenge in Australia today, for Aboriginal students and their teachers, is literacy in English. Reading and writing in English are the fundamental skills that all students need to succeed in school. The abilities to read independently and to learn from reading across the curriculum are the foundations for engaging in school learning, as writing across the curriculum is the foundation for demonstrating what has been learnt. However numerous state and Commonwealth reports, and teachers’ experience in the classroom, indicate that too many Aboriginal students do not have the reading and writing skills they need for success.

The Board of Studies is committed to assisting teachers with strategies for the learning and teaching of literacy. The Reading toLearn project is a highly successful literacy program being used in Australia.

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