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Category: Relevant Research

Improving Transitions for Indigenous Learners through Collaborative Inquiry

Source: Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network (AESN)

Summary: The Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network (AESN) has been a catalyst for change in British Columbia schools since 2009. Based on the initiative of Dr. Trish Rosbourgh, then Director of Aboriginal Education in the Ministry of Education, this network was designed to be a strategy through which school districts could more effectively and productively engage in bringing their Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements to life (Rosborough, Halbert & Kaser, 2017). The purpose of the AESN is “to create an inquiry community where people learn and work together to ensure that every Indigenous learner crosses the stage with dignity, purpose and options, and together, we eliminate racism in schools”.

The goal of this particular research investigation would be to determine how an inquiry-based focus on student transitions — elementary to secondary, middle school to secondary school, secondary school to post-secondary school, secondary school to employment — would help us to better support Indigenous learners and equip them for purposeful and successful lives, while also demonstrating the catalytic effects of this network as a means of affecting professional change.

Calmer Classrooms: A Guide to Working with Traumatized Children

Source: Child Safety Commissioner, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Summary: This booklet assists Kindergarten, primary and secondary teachers, and other school personnel in understanding and working with children and young people whose lives have been affected by trauma. The majority of such children will have come from backgrounds of abuse and neglect, although some of them will have suffered as refugees, or experienced war or dislocation overseas. An even smaller number will have experienced illness, painful medical interventions, or one-off traumas such as disasters or accidents. Calmer Classrooms particularly addresses the needs of children who have been traumatized by abuse and neglect. These children may be involved in the child protection and family support systems. Some may not be able to remain in the care of their families and are living in foster care or other forms of state care.

Research Report No. 2 on Good Practice Using ESD ( Education for Sustainable Development)

Source: York University, Ontario, Canada

Summary: This second research initiative focused on collecting relevant examples of good practice that are based on ESD approaches, i. e. changing content and/or pedagogy.

In the examples of good practice, describing the rationale for the intervention, methodology, the specific role of ESD, and why it was deemed as successful, were essential components of the reports from researchers. It was planned to develop overall conclusions for future education policies and practices.

The Research Report focusing on the potential of quality education and ESD practices to contribute to the ‘COVID-19 recovery and Indigenous Peoples’ was shared with the Special Rapporteur for on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples for the report to the Human Rights Council at its 48th session in September 2021.

The Research Report including the Annex with 32 practices is available for download. Formal publication is to follow during 2021.

Infusing Indigenous Knowledge And Epistemologies: Learning From Teachers In Northern Aboriginal Head Start Classrooms

Source:  Stagg Peterson, S., Jang, S. Y., San Miguel, J., Styres, S., & Madsen, A. (2018). McGill Journal of Education / Revue Des Sciences De l’éducation De McGill, 53(1). Retrieved from

Summary:  Five Aboriginal Head Start early childhood educators from a northern Canadian community participated in interviews for the purpose of informing non-Indigenous teachers’ classroom teaching. Their observations and experiences highlight the importance of learning from and on the land alongside family members, and of family stability and showing acceptance of all children. Additionally, participants talked of the impact of residential schools on their families in terms of loss of their Indigenous language, and their attempts to learn and to teach the children in their classrooms the Indigenous languages and teachings. 

What matters in Indigenous education: Implementing a Vision Committed to Holism, Diversity and Engagement

Source: People for Education

Summary: Dr. Pamela Toulouse explores an Indigenous approach to quality learning environments and the Measuring What Matters competencies and skills. The paper draws out the research, concepts and themes from Measuring What Matters that align with Indigenous determinants of educational success. It expands on this work by offering perspectives and insights that are Indigenous and authentic in nature.


For researchers: Doing Indigenous research in a good way

Source: Memorial University, Newfoundland and Labrador

Summary: This FAQ is based on questions we, as Indigenous researchers, advisors and administrators, often hear or wish researchers knew more about. When using this guide, keep in mind that “Indigenous groups” and “Indigenous peoples” are terms that cover immense diversity and answers to these questions will be different for each nation, government, governing body and group. In short, this FAQ is not the definitive answer to these questions so much as a guide that can help researchers start the journey to answering them. These questions should always be answered by the specific places, groups and/or governing bodies you wish to work with. There is no universal answer.

Homelessness among Indigenous Peoples in Canada: The impacts of child welfare involvement and educational achievement

Source:  Science Direct: Children and Youth Services Review Volume 111, April 2020.

Summary: Existing evidence suggests that child welfare involvement has a deleterious impact on Indigenous peoples in Canada in terms of increasing their risk of becoming a visible or hidden homeless individual. Visible homelessness is generally understood as those individuals found sleeping in parks, cars, shelters, or on the streets and other locales such as in abandoned buildings or under bridges. Whereas the hidden homeless are those who find interim accommodations with friends, family members, and acquaintances. Although in saying this, many of the visible homelessness scenarios can also be considered hidden. Regardless, all situations of homelessness reflect uncertainty, lack of safety, and an increased vulnerability to abuse and exploitation. The pathways to homelessness are rooted in structural deficits in the society, which are multiplicative and intersectional in nature. They include housing affordability, oppression, conditions of physical and mental well-being, employment and employability, as well as family support and community connection. On the other hand, the greater the educational achievement experienced by Indigenous peoples the less the risk of being subjected to homelessness.

The premise of this paper is that Indigenous Peoples are multiplicatively oppressed and that these intersecting sites of oppression increase the risk of Indigenous P,eoples in Canada becoming homelessness.

Language, Culture, and Early Childhood: Indigenous Children’s Rights in a Time of Transformation

Source: Canadian Journal of Children’s Rights. Vol 3 No 1 (2016): Indigenous Children’s Rights

Margo Greenwood, Carleton University

Summary: Article 30 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) sets out the rights of Indigenous and minority children to learn about and practice their own culture, religion, and language in countries where these practices are not shared by the majority of the population. The provisions of Article 30 are particularly relevant in nations such as Canada that are built upon a history of colonization, where for generations Indigenous children have been dispossessed of their cultures, languages, territories, family and community ties—all of the foundational elements of healthy and whole Indigenous identities. The colonization of the life-worlds of Indigenous children represents, in short, a primary mechanism through which nations have attempted to eliminate and assimilate the Indigenous populations within their borders, with devastating multi-generational consequences for surviving Indigenous peoples.

Language-in-education policies and Indigenous language revitalization efforts in Canada: Considerations for non-dominant language education in the Global South

Source: McIvor, Onowa; Ball, Jessica. University of Victoria – UVic Space

Summary: Indigenous languages are struggling for breath in the Global North. In Canada, Indigenous language medium schools and early childhood programs remain independent and marginalized. Despite government commitments, there is little support for Indigenous language-in-education policy and initiatives. This article describes an inaugural, country-wide, federally-funded, Indigenous-led language revitalization research project, entitled NE?OL?EW (one mind-one people).

The project brings together nine Indigenous partners to build a country-wide network and momentum to pressure multi-levels of government to honour agreements enshrining the right of children to learn their Indigenous language. The project is documenting approaches to create new Indigenous language speakers, focusing on adult language learners able to keep the language vibrant and teach their language to children. The article reflects upon how this Northern emphasis on Indigenous language revitalization and country-wide networking initiative is relevant to mother tongue-based education and policy examples in the Global South. The article underscores the need for both community level initiatives (top-down) and government level policy and funding (bottom up) to support child and adult Indigenous language learning.

Incorporating Indigenous Cultures and Realities in STEM: A Primer

Source: The Conference Board of Canada

Summary: Document Highlights

When educators use a culturally responsive curriculum – one that bridges Indigenous ways of knowing with Western science – Indigenous students are more engaged and perform better.

In recent years, many organizations across Canada have established programs to help Indigenous learners get ahead in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. However, the effectiveness of these new initiatives is not well understood.

The inventory in Incorporating Indigenous Cultures and Realities in STEM lists more than a 100 different programs in Canada that specifically aim to help Indigenous learners succeed in STEM. These programs can be sorted into eight broad strategies for increasing Indigenous representation in STEM. Each strategy falls into one of three periods in the learner’s life course. Within each strategy, there are initiatives that attempt to address cultural difference.

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