Resources for this Issue
Early Childhood Development
Source: Issue 4 Educational Pathways of Indigenous Learners 11-12-2013 Melissa Tremblay, Rebecca Gokiert, Rebecca Georgis, Karen Edwards, Berna Skrypnek, University of Alberta
Focus: Parents, teachers, caregivers
Summary: Gaining an understanding of how best to support the development of Aboriginal children is important in promoting positive social, emotional, educational, and health outcomes. The purpose of the current study was to identify the most important elements of healthy development for Aboriginal children, with a particular focus on social-emotional development. Focus groups were conducted with 37 Aboriginal Canadians, including parents, service providers, adolescents, and young adults. Five inter-connected themes emerged: cultural wellness, emotional wellness, mental wellness, social wellness, and strong identity, with strong identity described as central and foundational to the other themes. This study strengthens the assertion that Aboriginal children require an additional set of social-emotional skills to successfully navigate different cultural contexts during development. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
Exemplary Classroom Practice: Elementary
Source: Canada’s History, Dan Soberg, 2004 Recipient of the Governor General's History Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Focus: Grade 4 Social Studies, Language Arts, Creative Writing, Visual Arts
Summary: First Nations history, environment, salmon run, eco-system of rain forest Students will:
- write in a variety of forms after a field trip, guest speaker or unit conclusion
- learn poetry styles including Haiku, Cinquain, Diamente, couplets
- write descriptively which has an experiential base summarizing events, feelings, observations
- write a biography after interviewing the oldest member of your family, a neighbor or friend
- conduct research for a project, followed by an oral presentation to class
- write and send thank you letters to guest speakers
Exemplary Classroom Practice: Secondary
Source: First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC)
Focus: Grade 10
Summary: These learning resources are designed to help Grade 10 students attain an understanding of the history of the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people over Canada’s history. They are for the instruction of youth from all cultural backgrounds, not just Aboriginal students.
While the instructional activities are presented in a structured format, they are intended to be flexible in their use. They allow for the application of both a First Peoples Pedagogy and the changing BC Curriculum.
The activities are designed to be adaptable and flexible. Teachers can follow the sequence of lessons, they can use particular lessons or sections as stand-alone activities, or they can adapt the activities to meet their own curriculum planning requirements and the learning needs of their students.
Source: National Gallery of Canada
Focus: Secondary students
Summary: This lesson plan provides an introduction to the contemporary Inuit art prints and drawings in the National Gallery of Canada's collection. The works chosen are from five important print shops located in the four major regions of Arctic Canada.
This lesson presents 10 Inuit artists whose work reflects traditions that are thousands of years old and bears witness to a culture that is alive and well, and in full transition.
Source: Dr. Nathan Matthew, Thompson Rivers University BC
Focus: Educators and senior students
Summary: An understanding and appreciation of the history of the education of Aboriginal peoples in Canada is fundamental to the success of Aboriginal students attending post-secondary today. The diversity of Aboriginal peoples requires an awareness of the connection between the past and the present.
A Learning Bridge for Aboriginal Adults (ALBAA) is in Phase II of its research at Thompson Rivers University. The goal of the ALBAA project is to identify and develop strategies and support systems that will result in increased student success and retention among Aboriginal adults transitioning into post-secondary education institutions from community-based Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs. One of the initiatives of the ALBAA Project is to provide hands-on tools for faculty to increase their understanding of the needs of Aboriginal learners. After consulting with numerous individuals with Aboriginal education backgrounds, the product of these combined efforts is this handbook
Summary: N'we Jinan is a nonprofit organization that brings a mobile recording studio into schools and community centres across North America. The program is aimed to create an environment where youth can express themselves musically and creatively under the guidance of a professional music producer.
Participants learn about sound recording, music production, songwriting, voice and performance. Within the studios’ residency, original songs are created containing messages that focus on cultural identity, language, struggle, love and self acceptance. The tour also gives participating youth an opportunity to create a music video to support the songs they’ve created. This process allows youth to emerge even more out of their shells and gives space for collaborating, teamwork, encouragement, confidence building and community empowerment.
Mission: To create original musical and visual works that encourage collective community voice & to cultivate identity through youth educational programs that give young people a chance to be heard through a sharing platform built for social impact and justice.
Source: Miriam Jorgensen and Lewis Mandell, Jump$tart and the Native Financial Education Coalition (NFEC)
Focus: Secondary Students
Summary: Tests of high school seniors conducted by the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy (Jump$tart) in the USA indicate that Native American youth are less prepared to make informed financial choices than most of their peers. Comparing the five Jump$tart surveys that have been conducted since 1997, it is clear that while Native students are not always at the back of the pack, their financial literacy scores are consistently among the worst in the overall population of high school seniors. In 2006, Native American students’ average financial literacy score was only 84 percent of the overall national average; nearly 87 percent of Native students received a “failing” score, compared to 62 percent of all students.
Measured as a percent of all students’ scores, Native Americans have relatively large disadvantages in the income and in money management domains, where they score, respectively, 78.4 percent and 83.6 percent as high as the national average.
Statistically significant correlations suggest several factors that may influence student performance.
- Parental education: Native students’ financial knowledge tends to be higher when their parents have higher levels of education.
- Ambitious plans and expectations: Native students’ scores are higher when their plans for or expectations about their futures are ambitious. In particular, Native students’ scores are higher when they plan to attend a 4-year college or university, when they expect to earn at least $40,000 or more annually, and when they anticipate entering a professional career.
Today’s youth are literally the economic engines of tomorrow. But they are less able to fulfill their potential if they cannot use resources wisely. This is especially true in Native communities—whether those communities are struggling to extract themselves from dependency or learning to manage and preserve new wealth—because financial resources themselves have been scarce in Native America, and there is a greater need to use those resources for both community and individual wealth building.
Jump$tart and the members of the Native Financial Education Coalition (NFEC) are working to close the gap between Native youth and their peers by advocating for improved financial education opportunities in Native communities… to offer culturally appropriate financial education curricula.
Source: Resource sheet no. 22 produced for the Closing the Gap Clearinghouse Vicki-Ann Ware, September 2013
- There is a range of risk factors that may make young people of any ethnicity more likely to engage in antisocial behaviours. These factors include the young person’s own attitudes; relationships within the family; and growing up in communities where there is widespread violence, alcohol and other substance abuse, poverty, poor health and poor-quality housing. Indigenous young people face the additional challenges of dispossession, discontinuity of culture and intergenerational trauma.
- A strong connection to culture—coupled with high self-esteem, a strong sense of autonomy, and with living in cohesive, functioning families and communities—can be protective factors that result in Indigenous young people choosing productive life pathways.
- Mentoring is a relationship intervention strategy that can assist in building some of these protective factors. A growing body of research demonstrates that mentoring can have powerful and lasting positive effects in improving behavioural, academic and vocational outcomes for at-risk youth and, to a more limited extent, in reducing contact with juvenile justice systems.
- In an Indigenous context, mentoring is a particularly promising initiative because it fits well with Indigenous teaching and learning styles and can help to build strong collective ties within a community.
- Mentoring programs can involve adult or peer mentors and can be implemented in a range of ways, such as one-on-one or in groups.
- Although positive results can be achieved with single-intervention mentoring for at risk youth, integrating mentoring into broader programs produces a greater level of positive change.
- The way the mentoring program is run and the nature of the relationship between mentor and mentee are crucial in determining the outcomes of youth mentoring programs.