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Issue #64
March, 2015


Focus: Elementary and Secondary Students

Summary: brings together the most important production of new media content depicting social, economic and cultural realties of Quebec aboriginal communities.

This ECP nouveaux médias produced project enabled many artists and craftspeople, storytellers, elders, and people of all ages and from all Aboriginal nations involved in their communities to voice their reality and their expectations. provides access to all these life experiences based on principles of interactivity, discovery and exchange well suited to First Nations philosophy.

Positive Learning Environments for Indigenous children and youth

Source: Australian Government, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australian Institute of Family Studies

Summary: While more Indigenous students are completing Year 12 than in the past, there is still a significant gap between the educational achievements of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students in literacy and numeracy, Year 12 attainment and school attendance.

  • The gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students widens as remoteness increases.
  • Indigenous students are more at risk of disengaging from school than non-Indigenous students.
  • Schools can have a positive effect on student engagement and attendance, and there is some evidence that schools can reduce the effects of poor social backgrounds.
  • Some of the factors that can affect attendance and engagement include:
    • students’ previous negative experiences with school
    • poor teacher–student relationships
    • racism
    • poor self-perception of academic ability
    • poor transition from primary to secondary school
    • earlier lack of educational success.

For students to be fully engaged and reach their educational potential they need to be behaviourally, emotionally and cognitively engaged. Education has long been considered a critical factor to closing the gap in Indigenous disadvantage.

Instructional discourse of Inuit and non-Inuit teachers of Nunavik

Source: Alice Eriks-Brophy
Focus: Researchers and teachers

Summary: This study combines qualitative and quantitative methodological approaches in a microanalytic examination of discourse features found in the instructional interactions of six Inuit first language, two Inuit second language, and six non-Inuit second language teachers of Inuit children in northern Quebec. In particular, the study analyzes the discourse features that contribute to the formulation of differing forms of communicative competence required for successful performance in the classrooms of Inuit versus non-Inuit teachers as well as the potential effects of these differences on the classroom participation of Inuit students. The quantitative results are integrated with findings taken from participant observation and ethnographic interviews conducted with all teacher participants. The study attempts to separate those effects that might be due to second language pedagogy from those likely to be the result of underlying cultural differences. Variation in discourse organization due to teaching experience is also examined. The study is situated within a dialogical framework of discourse organization whereby participants socially construct meanings and interpretations of talk through communicative interaction. Results of the study have implications for theories of syncretism and adapted pedagogy in minority educational contexts, demonstrating how instructional interactions can be influenced by and adapted toward the learner, resulting in teaching practices that reflect an amalgamation of cultures.

Teaching in a First Nation School: An information handbook for teachers new to First Nations schools

Source:Prepared by Barbara Kavanagh, First Nations Schools Association
Focus: Teachers

Summary: This Handbook was created by the First Nations Schools Association (FNSA) to assist teachers who are considering or preparing to work in a First Nations school for the first time. It describes the many benefits as well as the unique challenges that teachers may experience while working in a First Nations school. In addition, the handbook highlights tips that have helped other teachers make a successful transition into a First Nations school setting.

This handbook also provides information to help teachers become familiar with issues related to First Nations education and First Nations schools specifically. The FNSA believes that teachers who choose to work in a First Nations school will benefit from understanding the history of the schools, the reasons why they were created, and their special circumstances. Ideally, that information will help teachers make an easier transition into the new teaching environment, and will also help them to better relate to students and parents.

Success factors for Indigenous entrepreneurs and community-based enterprises

Source: Australian Government, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australian Institute of Family Studies

Summary: This resource sheet reviews the available literature on the key factors that have underpinned successful Indigenous entrepreneurs and community-based enterprises. It also explores the different characteristics of Indigenous entrepreneurs and community-based enterprises. Where possible, it also looks at the outcomes of government programs that have aimed to help these different types of Indigenous businesses. For the purposes of this resource sheet, the term ‘Indigenous entrepreneurialism’ (or ‘entrepreneur’) has been used to refer to Indigenous-owned private and commercial businesses that are run for a profit. Likewise, the term ‘community-based enterprise’ has been used to refer to businesses that have a more communal purpose (they are also known as ‘community-managed’ and ‘social’ enterprises). The two terms used in this resource sheet are defined below and were selected for convenience and because they were commonly used in the literature.

Indigenous economic development is defined as the involvement by Indigenous people in employment, business, asset and wealth creation in the communities and regions where they live (HRSCATSIA 2008). One key aspect of improving Indigenous economic development is through Indigenous people operating their own private businesses or community-based enterprises (refer to the definition above). In the case of successful Indigenous entrepreneurs, self-employment and ownership of enterprises is believed to help individuals, families and communities improve self-sufficiency and decrease reliance on government welfare (Furneaux & Brown 2008; HRSCATSIA 2008).

This resource sheet is based on a literature review of approximately 30 sources. The review process used various search terms (for example, Indigenous economic development/Indigenous business; social enterprises, entrepreneurship) and research databases containing peer reviewed articles (AIFS Library catalogue; all of the EBSCO and Informit databases and collections) and general online resources from government or Indigenous community organizations.

Canada’s History: Walking on the Lands of our Ancestors

Source: Canada’s History
Focus: Grades 9-12 Social Studies / History

Summary: These activities can be adapted for any secondary grade level, 9-12. The subject area is Social Studies – local history.


Pre-contact First Nations culture and knowledge; the impacts of colonialism; experiencing traditional First Nations teaching techniques.


Students will:

  • Summarize what they have learned about local First Nations culture, knowledge, and history
  • Participate in activities that use traditional First Nations teaching techniques
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of traditional First Nations teaching techniques and compare to the contemporary education system
  • Describe connections they made between how the past connects to the present and future

It is important that these aspects of Canadian history are addressed in our Social Studies classes so that all students have an understanding of the lasting impacts of colonialism on First Nations people. Canada is a relatively young country, and students should be knowledgeable about the people and cultures that were here first.  Our contemporary education system is still modeled on European culture, but all students can benefit by learning about and experiencing traditional First Nations teaching practices. Teachers do not need to be First Nations to incorporate these teaching strategies into their classrooms. Members of local First Nations communities are valuable resources and contacts for teachers wanting to incorporate First Nations knowledge, culture and history into their classes. In order to understand contemporary Aboriginal issues, we must first examine how these issues are rooted in the past. Issues such as treaties, land claims, residential school compensation, healthcare, and education, just to name a few, are important to all Canadians, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal. A perfect place to learn about and bring greater awareness to these issues is in our classrooms.

MathCatchers K-8

Source: Regina Public Schools and Saskatchewan Learning
Focus: Elementary Students

Summary: MathCatchers provides mathematical learning objects to reach all students through a constructivist approach. Special attention has been given to students at risk by addressing issues of equity and learner diversity. The learning objects on this site are intended for use by all students and teachers celebrating a diversity of background experiences.

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