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Issue #75
February, 2016

CMEC – Ministers of Education Acknowledge Landmark Report on Indian Residential Schools

Provincial and territorial ministers of education are pleased to acknowledge the recent release of the final report of Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRCC) on the history of residential schools in Canada.

Ministers note that the current CMEC Aboriginal Education Plan aligns closely with Recommendation 63 of the TRCC report by supporting the professional development of Aboriginal students interested in pursuing teaching as a career; developing teaching resources that highlight the legacy of Indian Residential Schools for use in Bachelor of Education and teacher-education programs across Canada; promoting understanding about the history and legacy of Indian Residential Schools in K–12 education systems across the country; and sharing promising practices in Aboriginal education.

This work is already under way or planned at the pan-Canadian level and in individual jurisdictions, in collaboration with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities, according to their unique histories and specific needs.

Literature Review on Factors Affecting the Transition of Students from School to Work

Source: Council of Ministers of Education (CMEC). David Bruce and Amanda Marlin Rural and Small Towns Programme Mount Allison University. Updated by Helen Raham
Focus: Teachers and Administrators

Summary: While Aboriginal peoples represent Canada’s fastest-growing population, their education and employment outcomes lag significantly behind the rest of the population.

This literature review examines the challenges faced by Aboriginal youth in completing their education and the factors that impede or foster their successful transition from school to work.

The purpose of this review is to identify existing evidence in the literature relevant to the success of Aboriginal youth in completing their education and transitioning to the labour market. The following questions guided the research:

  1. What are the educational and employment outcomes for Aboriginal youth in Canada in comparison with non-Aboriginal young people?
  2. What are the career aspirations of Aboriginal youth, and how do these compare with those of non-Aboriginal youth?
  3. What barriers do Aboriginal young people face in completing their education and transitioning to the labour market?
  4. What is known about their education-to-employment pathways and the supports that can enhance their success?
  5. How successful are Aboriginal youth in attaching to the labour market, and what are their em-ployment experiences?
  6. What can be learned from the international literature on these themes?
  7. What are the implications of these findings for Canadian policy and research?

This review considers the available secondary evidence related to these issues. It does not provide analysis of primary data or review programs and policies, but it does review literature that discusses these items.

Empowering the Spirit: Numeracy

Source: Alberta Regional Professional Development Consortia, with Alberta Education
Focus: Secondary Students

Summary: Numeracy is having the confidence and habits of mind to use mathematics to meet the general demands of everyday life. Being a numerate person means using mathematics to make sense of something new and know what mathematics can and cannot do.

Numeracy provides First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students the opportunity to discover connections on their own and apply strategies to solve real life problems. Throughout history, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples have used real life traditional learning contexts to connect to their world.

In the Empowering the Spirit video series, students explore numeracy through Traditional Games, an elementary math class on probability and a high school physics class examining the structure of a tee pee and rocket nozzle.

Kinàmàgawin: Aboriginal Issues in the Classroom

Source: Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario
Focus: Secondary and Post-secondary Teachers

Summary: Kinàmàgawin: Aboriginal Issues in the Classroom is a documentary film that examines the difficulties experienced when discussing Aboriginal issues in post-secondary classrooms at Carleton University. Twenty-one Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students, instructors, faculty, and staff across various disciplines reflect upon their most memorable classroom moments when Indigenous issues were discussed.

The accompanying resource guide includes:

  • Common reactions to the project/film Strategies for responding
  • Description and analysis of each theme within the film
  • Discussion questions
  • Model for workshops

Leading Together Indigenous Youth in Community Partnerships

Source: J.W. McConnell Family Foundation

Summary: A collection of stories highlighting promising approaches in partnerships between non-profit organizations and indigenous youth. Written by rising and established indigenous and non-indigenous journalists, each story profiles a different partnership, with a focus on what worked, what didn’t, and lessons learned. Three of these stories (Dechinta, Exeko and AbTeC) are also featured here in video format

Full Circle – OSSTF

Source: Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF)
Focus: Secondary Students

Summary: Full Circle: First Nations, Métis and Inuit Ways of Knowing is the fifth in a series of Common Threads classroom resources produced by and for Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) members. Each project in the series tackles an important social issue that is cross-curricular in nature and compels students to examine their beliefs, choices and actions. This project addresses a current shortage of curricular materials that focus on First Nations, Métis and Inuit people, history and culture. Although many of these lessons can be used by teachers of Native Studies and Native Languages, they were developed for use by teachers of history, civics, social sciences, careers, English and science. All provincial curriculum documents include a statement about the importance of using learning resources that are inclusive of and sensitive to diverse cultures, including Aboriginal people. These lessons will assist educators with achieving this goal.

The contributors to this resource self-identify as First Nations, Métis or Inuit, or have extensive experience working with Aboriginal students. They have created a resource that is authentic in its approach to sensitive, value-laden topics, and honours traditional “ways of knowing” by taking a holistic approach to each topic. The diversity among First Nations, Métis and Inuit people means that some teachings and symbols are not universally recognized by all Aboriginal people and the writers acknowledge this fact. Where possible, specific names and titles have been used to describe groups of people, however, the word “Aboriginal” has been used as a collective term to include First Nations, Métis and Inuit people as the original inhabitants of North America and their descendants.

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