Educational Resources

Search Resources:
Browse Resource Categories:

Issue #43
June, 2013

The Menzies Report: Early years English language acquisition and instructional approaches for Aboriginal students with home languages other than English: A systematic review of the Australian and international literature

Source: Silburn SR, Nutton GD, McKenzie JW and Landrigan M, 2011. The Centre for Child Development and Education, Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin, NT. Australia

Summary: Remote and very remote Australian Indigenous children form a higher proportion of the student cohort in the Northern Territory by comparison to neighbouring Queensland, Western Australia or South Australia. While these jurisdictions share many of the socio-demographic, geographic, linguistic and cultural contexts of the Northern Territory’s remote and Indigenous population they have generally lower rates of risk factors such as over-crowded housing.

Children in very remote NT communities have less exposure to spoken English outside of school than their inter-state counterparts due to the much lower proportions of adults who speak English at home or who have 10 or more years of school education (McKenzie, 2010). Improving Indigenous educational outcomes is a national priority and a key feature of the ‘Closing the Gap’ strategy endorsed by all Australian governments. This is supported by evidence that improving outcomes of early years learning is critical to subsequent trajectories of education, life-long learning and overcoming socio-economic disadvantage.

Early childhood and primary school English language acquisition is predictive of subsequent outcomes of English oracy, school attendance and participation. Children’s proficiency in their home language is also considered important to their identity, self esteem and cultural continuity. Most of the descriptive and theoretically based literature is premised on the necessity of healthy and appropriate early language and concept development in first language.

This review has focused on the national and international evidence most relevant to the contextual features of greatest challenge to an effective service delivery model in remote Indigenous settings.

Aboriginal Student Learning and Positive Learning Outcomes In Canadian Schools: Promising Practices – Saskatchewan Ministry of Education 2007: A literature review

Source: Canadian Council on Learning: University of Saskatchewan, Aboriginal Education Research Centre, Saskatoon, SK & First Nations and Adult Higher Education Consortium, Calgary, AB. Retrieved from and

Focus: Teachers and researchers

Summary: This literature review presents promising practices and recommendations in support of improved achievement and positive learning outcomes for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students in Canadian schools. The literature highlights barriers that are unique to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students. The programs and practices identified in the review vary from systemic changes throughout an entire territory to individual teacher practices in one school.

Aboriginal Mentorship Program OTF

Source: Ontario Trillium Foundation
Focus: Women and young women of all ages

Summary: PARO’s Aboriginal Mentoring Program

Anishnawbe wisdom has been around since time immemorial and the word mentoring may not have been used but the practise of mentoring has been around for a very long time. Anishnawbe Elders have used it within The Seven Grandfather Teachings. It has guided the youth, family, extended family, community, and nation.

The Mission is to enhance the success of all women to full fill their dreams and hopes in Northern Ontario by matching Mentors with Mentees in a relationship that will benefit the participants.

The Vision is to have Mentees and Mentors from every sector of Northern Ontario’s business community join and promote PARO’s Aboriginal Mentoring Program so that it will grow, improve, and continue itself for years to come.

Protecting our Sacred Water

Source: First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture Council

Summary: Language and cultural immersion has proven to be the most successful method for the transmission of language and culture from generation to generation. For this reason, language and culture immersion camps, where participants are surrounded by their traditional culture and language, are highly valued in B.C. First Nations communities.

The Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation (MARR) and New Relationship Trust (NRT) provide support and funding, allowing FPHLCC to distribute language and culture immersion camp grants to many B.C. First Nations communities. In addition, FPHLCC provides ongoing support to communities with program planning, development and reporting.

FPHLCC is working towards improving and making the language and culture immersion camp grant program more accessible for B.C. First Nations communities.

This handbook is intended to be a practical tool for elders, community members, teachers and anyone else involved in language and culture immersion camps. It includes tips for language teaching and learning, ideas for language immersion games and activities, as well as suggested language teaching methods.

What I learned in Class Today: Aboriginal Issues in the Classroom

Source: First Nations Studies Program, University of British Columbia
Focus: Senior students

Summary: Students frequently report troubling and sometimes traumatic discussions of Aboriginal issues in their classes. These situations often affect their ability to function in their coursework, and even their ability to return to class. What I Learned in Class Today: Aboriginal Issues in theClass Today is a research project designed to make these situations visible and to find ways to have more professional and productive classroom discussions.

The project looks at how the challenges around talking about race work as an educational barrier at the classroom level. A 20 min video, discussion modules and workshop resources are available for cross cultural classroom discussion.

Developed in the First Nations Studies Program at UBC, this project examines the experiences of students, instructors and administrators at the university to make these problems visible, better understand how difficulties arise, and to find ways to have more professional and productive classroom discussions.

Family and Community Engagement in Education

Source: City of Manukau Education Trust, Auckland

Summary: Engaging families and communities across the various education sectors requires good quality education and effective and meaningful ways of working in partnership. This paper will therefore firstly outline in brief some findings about family and community influences on children’s achievement, secondly identify some key principles for working in partnership with families/communities and thirdly, summarise features of some partnership programmes which engage families/communities in different ways in education in the Manukau area. It will conclude with some key questions for further discussion and future policy development.

Storytelling: The Art of Knowledge

Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization
Focus: Elementary/Secondary

Summary: The First Peoples of Canada recognize certain members of their communities for their ability as storytellers. The skillful art of storytelling is passed down from one generation to another by chosen, recognized or hereditary storytellers.

Some stories are shared at certain times of the year, in designated areas and on special occasions. As well, parents, family members and Elders share their knowledge with the younger generations in the course of their daily activities.

The stories we want to share with you here are from the Inuvialuit, the Algonquin, the Métis and Cree, the Nisga’a, the Abenaki and the Mi’kmaq. They are told through movement, song and dance, using symbols and imagination. They teach us about the origin of sacred objects and ceremonies, and our relationship to the animals, plants, rocks and each other.

This exhibit is a project of the interns in the Aboriginal Training Programme in Museum Practices of the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Earth Songs

Source: Ohwejagehka: Ha`degaenage, a nonprofit organization based on Six Nations of the Grand River in Ontario Canada
Focus: Elementary / Secondary students

Summary: Socials within all Iroquois communities are meant to be enjoyed by all in attendance, especially when everyone dances. Social songs vary in length, verses and tempo depending on the song selection of the singers. All dances are done in a counter clockwise direction.

A social is run by a “house keeper” or “pusher”. The job of the “house keepers” is to find lead singers and to know which songs that each lead singer knows. Their job also includes finding lead dancers for the upcoming dance. He then goes to the announcer with the information. All dances are introduced in the Iroquois language of the speaker. In some instances, instructions are provided to ensure that dances are carried out properly.

Ohwejagehka: Ha`degaenage, was developed as a collection of materials to help preserve and nurture the Iroquoian languages and songs.

Sign up to receive monthly PPW Educational Resource outreach: