Goulet & Goulet (2014). Where We Are in Indigenous Education. (Teaching Each Other: Nehinuw Concepts and Indigenous Pedagogies.)

Goulet, L. M., & Goulet, K. N. (2014). Where We Are in Indigenous Education. In Teaching Each Other: Nehinuw Concepts and Indigenous Pedagogies (pp. 3–26). University of British Columbia Press.

“This book addresses effective instructional practice for teachers of Indigenous students in both theory and practice. Theoretically, one of the issues in Indigenous education is that educational theories are most often based on white, middle-class, Euro-centred views of teaching and learning. Many of these theories are useful, but they are limited and problematic when it comes to addressing Indigenous matters. In response to this issue, we present the Kaminstigominuhigoskak (Cumberland House) Nehinuw (Cree) theory of teaching and learning as an example of Indigenous educational thought.” (p 5)

“The teachers’ stories of professional knowledge in this book demonstrate how Indigenous student success is related to success as defined by different Elders. For instance, the late Elder Ken Goodwill from the Standing Buffalo Dakota First Nation said that the purpose of education is to help students recognize who they are, to see their gifts, talents, and strengths and recognize the responsibility that accompanies these gifts, so they can survive, thrive, and contribute as they navigate through both the broader world and Indigenous cultures.” (p 5)

[“Who Are We?” (p 5) …]

[“Overview of Indigenous Education” (p 10) …]

“For example, in her discussion of Anishinaabe pedagogy, Rebecca Chartrand (2012, 152, 157) sees it as having a humanistic focus that explores the interrelationships among all things, ‘taking into account feelings, attitudes, and values that can add affective components to conventional subject matter curriculum’ while specifically being defined ‘in living our [Anishinaabe] language, culture, and relationship to the land, space and being.’ … Decolonizing education places more emphasis on the power relationships within education and serves to deconstruct past colonial systems of education and recreate new ones, usually based on equity and Indigenous principles. On the other hand, _indigenizing education_ usually refers to the integration of Indigenous content, understandings, and processes into the formal education system.” (p 11)

[“Early Initiatives” (p 11) …]

[“Curriculum Development” (p 12) …]

“Indigenous cultures have often been viewed as static or vibrant only in some distant time in the past. At times, the decontextualized ‘craft’ approach to teaching culture has led to a trivialization of cultural knowledge (Stairs 1996). … Sheila Watt-Cloutier (2000), who decried the watering down of programming for Inuit children. In her research, she states that the purpose of any education is to prepare people for the opportunities and challenges facing them in their lifetime and argues that education must above all be empowering, thus preparing Indigenous students for ‘responsible self-direction’ (122).” (p 13)

[“Program Initiatives” (p 14) …]

[“Culturally Relevant Teaching” (p 16) …]

“In culturally relevant pedagogy, teachers use students’ prior cultural knowledge and compatible classroom and community language patterns and social norms, reflect diversity in assessment, view students as assets, and help students function in multicultural, multilingual situations without the loss of their original culture.” (p 16)

“Orr, Paul, and Paul (2002, 350) describe good teachers as ‘political agents, choosing to teach from a perspective that embodies cultural practical knowledge in relation to their students’ lives in the present, remembering their collective ancestral past, and imagining a different cultural future.'” (p 16)

“Language is important in culturally responsive teaching. Cora Weber-Pillwax (2001) explains that it is both the Indigenous language and how the language is used that conveys knowledge, ways of being, and relating to the world.” (p 17)

[“Challenges for Euro-Canadian Teachers” (p 19) …]

“… in their research of effective teachers of Inuit students, Robert Renaud, Brina Lewthwaite, and Barbara McMillan (2012) report that when teachers are prepared to change their teaching to respond to their students and legitimize the local culture and community in school learning, students become more engaged in learning.” (p 20)

[“Sociological Issues” (p 21) …]

[“Social Attitudes and Structures” (p 21) …]

“Sociological theorists such as John Ogbu (1991) argue that cultural differences between the home and school alone are not enough to explain minority students’ failure; one must consider the historical and structural context in which those differences are embedded.” (p 22)

[“Power Relations, Racism, and Colonization” (p 22) …]

“When improvements in Indigenous education focus primarily on cultural programming, taught within the framework of current schooling practices, the initiatives do not expose or challenge power relationships within our society. … [page break] … Ruth Paradise (1994) argues that the power relations of society are reflected in the everyday reality that is co-constructed between children and their teachers who live within historical, social, and political contexts.” (p 22-23)

“Eber Hampton (1995) states that since Indian peoples are and are seen to be a minority in their own land, a sense of land, territory, or place is crucial in Indigenous education. To Hampton, Indigenous peoples need a sense of belonging, a place where they can be themselves.” (p 23)

[“Poverty and Social Issues” (p 24) …]

“Very few classroom-based studies have addressed the effects of poverty brought about by colonization as an aspect of Indigenous education.” (p 24)

[“The Complexity of Indigenous Education” (p 24) …]

“Successful Indigenous teachers use the Indigenous language and their cultural knowledge to build classroom relationships that encourage children to express themselves in culturally responsive ways. Successful non-Indigenous teachers bring culture into the classroom in a way that shows respect and encourages children to value the current culture and learn about past traditions. Both view Indigenous cultures as rich, vibrant, and diverse.

“Effective teachers also deal with the results of colonization in their classroom. They attend to issues of poverty, address personal problems, and incorporate social issues into the curriculum. Historical, colonial, and authoritarian relationships are replaced with more equitable relationships in the classroom, in school decision making, and in the community.” (p 25)

“In addition, teachers can draw ideas from authors such as Kathleen Absolon (2011), Margaret Kovach (2009), and Shawn Wilson (2008) who have gathered stories of Indigenous researchers’ methods to articulate principles of Indigenous knowledge systems and ways of coming to know.” (p 25)

Selected References

  • Absolon, Kathleen E. (Minogiizhigokwe). 2011. Kaandossiwin: How we come to know. Winnipeg: Fernwood Publishers.
  • Chartrand, Rebecca. 2012. “Anishinaabe Pedagogy.” Canadian Journal of Native Education 35 (1): 144–62.
  • Hampton, Eber. 1995. “Towards a redefinition of Indian education.” In Battiste and Barman, First Nations education in Canada, 5–46.
  • Kovach, Margaret. 2009. Indigenous methodologies: Characteristics, conversations, and contexts. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
  • Ogbu, John. 1991. “Immigrant and involuntary minorities in comparative perspective.” In Minority status and schooling: A comparative study of immigrant and involuntary minorities, ed. M. Gibson and J. Ogbu, 3–33. New York: Garland.
  • Orr, Jeff, John Jerome Paul, and Sharon Paul. 2002. “Decolonizing Mi’kmaw education through cultural practical knowledge.” McGill Journal of Education 37 (3): 331–54.
  • Paradise, Ruth. 1994. “Spontaneous cultural compatibility: Mazahua students and their teacher constructing trusting relations.” Peabody Journal of Education 69 (2): 60–70. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01619569409538765.
  • Renaud, Robert D., Brina E. Lewthwaite, and Barbara McMillan. 2012. “‘She can bother me, because she cares’: Inuit students’ views about teaching and their learning.” Paper presented at the American Education Research Association Annual Meeting, Vancouver, British Columbia, April 16.
  • Stairs, Arlene. 1996. “Human development as cultural negotiation: Indigenous lessons on becoming a teacher.” Journal of Educational Thought 30 (3): 219–37.
  • Watt-Cloutier, Sheila. 2000. “Honouring our past, creating our future: Education in northern and remote communities.” In Aboriginal education: Fulfilling the promise, ed. M. Brant Castellano, L. Davis, and L. Lahache, 114–28. Vancouver: UBC Press.
  • Weber-Pillwax, Cora. 2001. “Orality in northern Cree Indigenous worlds.” Canadian Journal of Native Education 25 (2): 149–65.
  • Wilson, Shawn. 2008. Research is ceremony: Indigenous research methods. Winnipeg: Fernwood Publishing.
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