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Issue #67
June, 2015

Best Practices for Teaching Aboriginal Students and Best Practices of Non-Aboriginal Teachers (for teaching Aboriginal Students)

Source: Adapted from: Best Practices in Teaching Aboriginal Children: From an Aboriginal and Non- Aboriginal Perspective. Theresa Wilson
Focus: Teachers and Administrators

Summary: A tip sheet complied from conversations with First Nations Educators
Seeking out ways to turn classrooms into spaces of belonging may include paying close attention to:

  • Instructional approach
  • Subject matter
  • Critical questioning
  • Collaborative evaluative practices
  • Modeling respect
  • Combining high expectations, particularly of critical awareness and research skills, with a belief in the importance of relationships in establishing trust and respect.
  • Acknowledging that teachers are also learners.

Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and the Transformation of High School Education in Nunavut (High School education)

Source: ArcticNet Annual Research Compendium (2011-12), Fiona Walton (University of Prince Edward Island)
Focus: Researchers

Summary: The research establishes an approach to gathering longitudinal information on high school education and reveals practices that contribute to students’ ability to be successful. The research offers support for legislative and policy changes within high school education in Nunavut. Data gathered in 2011-2012 from a cross section of Nunavut youth with diverse educational backgrounds was used to create a bilingual documentary video in Inuktitut and English, Alluriarniaq – Stepping Forward: Youth Perspectives on High School Education in Nunavut (Walton et al., 2013), which offers valuable insights about how high school education has affected the lives of Nunavut youth. The involvement of Inuit high school students and recent graduates as well as Inuit participants in the UPEI Master of Education and PhD in Educational Studies, builds research and leadership capacity within Nunavut. In addition, the ten year historical and statistical profiles of the high schools in Pangnirtung, Clyde River, Rankin Inlet and Kugluktuk reveal patterns and challenges related to educational outcomes and indicators at the high school level across Nunavut, data that was unavailable prior to this Arctic-Net research (McGregor, 2011, 2012, 2013).

Gift of Language and Culture Website

Source: Lac La Ronge Indian Band (LLRIB) Curriculum Resource Unit (CRU)
Focus: Elementary students

Summary: The Gift of Language and Culture Website is an Aboriginal language site. The language site’s focal point is on Instructional Curriculum development for Nursery to Grade 9. There are many other features such as, Native stories, songs, and talking pictures. Native language Vocabulary Exercises are available in Flash for people of all ages to learn Cree dialect and even Dene. The site features Aboriginal language Resources for use in schools or at home. Several of these resources have been enhanced in Flash as Audible Resources for easy learning. A Photo Gallery displays several albums featuring nature, people, and various activities. Videos presenting northern people are available in YouTube format. A feature has been added to accommodate syllabic learners: Syllabic Matching Quizzes, where a learner drags and drops syllabic symbols to the appropriate text box.

Engaging Indigenous Parents in their children’s education

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

Summary: There is a considerable body of research documenting the poor student and school performance for Indigenous students (Hughes & Hughes 2012). Engaging families, especially parents, in the education of their young children at home and at school is increasingly viewed as an important way to support better learning outcomes for children (Berthelsen & Walker 2008; Emerson et al. 2012). This resource sheet reviews the available literature on ‘what works’ in supporting the involvement of Indigenous parents in their children’s education. In their review, Emerson et al. (2012:3) reported that ‘positive parental engagement in learning improves academic achievement, wellbeing and productivity’.

This resource sheet identifies some of the key practices that have underpinned programs or practices for schools and early learning environments that have successfully engaged Indigenous parents with their children’s education. The Closing the Gap Clearinghouse has three publications that examine related themes:

  • Early learning programs that promote children’s developmental and educational outcomes (Harrison et al. 2012)
  • Parenting in the early years: effectiveness of parenting support programs for Indigenous families (Mildon & Polimeni 2012)
  • Review of early childhood parenting, education and health intervention programs for Indigenous children and families in Australia (Bowes & Grace 2014)

Aboriginal Contributions to the War of 1812

Source: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC)
Focus: Secondary students

Summary: Throughout Canada’s history, Aboriginal peoples have helped shape this land into the country we know today. Before Canada became a country, Britain’s military alliances with First Nations were a key part of the defensive network of British North America. During the War of 1812, First Nations warriors and Métis fighters played important roles in the defense of these British territories against invading American forces. Thousands of First Nations warriors and Métis fighters fought beside British troops and Canadian settler militias during the war. These Aboriginal allies were often accompanied by officials from the Indian Department who spoke Aboriginal languages and who could help First Nations war chiefs and British military commanders speak to each other.

First Nations and Métis communities sided with the British during the war because they shared a common goal: to resist American expansion. More than 10,000 First Nations warriors from the Great Lakes region and the St. Lawrence Valley participated in nearly every major battle. For British military leaders such as Major-General Sir Isaac Brock, commander of Britain’s forces, First Nations warriors strengthened local garrisons and were seen as exceptional fighters.

In Canada, the war was fought on three main fronts: in the Western Great Lakes region, the Niagara region and the St. Lawrence region. In each region First Nations warriors helped repel the invading American forces. First Nations warriors from the Ojibwa and Dakota fought at the Battle of Michilimackinac. The Ojibwa, Odawa, Pottawatomi and Shawnee fought at the capture of Detroit. Six Nations warriors fought during the battles of Queenston Heights and Beaver Dams. The Algonquin, Mohawk, Huron and Abenaki fought at the Battle of Châteauguay. According to several British commanders, these important battles were won in large part because of the participation of their Aboriginal allies.

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