I Need to Know More…

The announcement of new standards for teachers, administrators, and central office educational leaders included very specific expectations around an understanding related to the history of First Nations, Metis and Inuit life in Canada.

For teachers it is the fifth standard and reads:

Applying Foundational Knowledge about First Nations, Métis and Inuit

5. A teacher develops and applies foundational knowledge about First Nations, Métis and Inuit for the benefit of all students. Achievement of this competency is demonstrated by indicators such as:
(a) understanding the historical, social, economic, and political implications of: • treaties and agreements with First Nations; • legislation and agreements negotiated with Métis; and • residential schools and their legacy;
(b) supporting student achievement by engaging in collaborative, whole school approaches to capacity building in First Nations, Métis and Inuit education;
(c) using the programs of study to provide opportunities for all students to develop a knowledge and understanding of, and respect for, the histories, cultures, languages, contributions, perspectives, experiences and contemporary contexts of First Nations, Métis and Inuit; and
(d) supporting the learning experiences of all students by using resources that accurately reflect and demonstrate the strength and diversity of First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

For educational leaders at the school level the standard reads: 

Supporting the Application of Foundational Knowledge about First Nations, Métis and Inuit

5. A leader supports the school community in acquiring and applying foundational knowledge about First Nations, Métis and Inuit for the benefit of all students. Achievement of this competency is demonstrated by indicators such as:
(a) understanding the historical, social, economic, and political implications of: • treaties and agreements with First Nations; • legislation and agreements negotiated with Métis; and • residential schools and their legacy;
(b) aligning resources and building the capacity of the school community to support First Nations, Métis and Inuit student achievement;
(c) enabling all school staff and students to gain a knowledge and understanding of, and respect for, the histories, cultures, languages, contributions, perspectives, experiences and contemporary contexts of First Nations, Métis and Inuit; and
(d) pursuing opportunities and engaging in practices to facilitate reconciliation within the school community.

For system leaders, specifically Superintendents and Deputy Superintendents the standard reads: 

Ensuring First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education for All Students

5. A superintendent establishes the structures and provides the resources necessary for the school community to acquire and apply foundational knowledge about First Nations, Métis and Inuit for the benefit of all students. Achievement of this competency is demonstrated by indicators such as:

(a) supporting staff in accessing the professional learning and capacity-building needed to meet the learning needs of First Nations, Métis, Inuit and all other students;
(b) engaging and collaborating with neighboring First Nations and Métis leaders, organizations and communities to optimize learning success and development of First Nations, Métis, Inuit and all other students;
(c) understanding historical, social, economic, and political implications of: • treaties and agreements with First Nations; • legislation and agreements negotiated with Métis; and • residential schools and their legacy;
(d) aligning school authority resources and building organizational capacity to support First Nations, Métis and Inuit student achievement; and
(e) pursuing opportunities and engaging in practices to facilitate reconciliation within the school community

The education community collectively and leaders in First Nation, Metis, and Inuit knowledge are working collectively to provide a wide range of resources to assist in the attainment of all three levels of standards.

Some of the resources available to support teachers, school and system leaders include:

The Alberta Teachers Association – The Professional Learning Pebbles Activities to build teachers fundamental knowledge  This 123 page document provides teachers with a range of activities, documents and links to support their own learning and the work in the classroom.   Another document put together by the ATA is Education is our Buffalo available in PDF form.

Empowering the Spirit Website by the ARPDC (Provincial Body that SAPDC is part of) provides a wide range of resources.

Learn Alberta has developed lessons available online as Talking Together: A discussion guide for Walking Together

YouTube provides several videos that can support learning and understandings.  One such example is the song by Cindy Paul: He Can Fancy Dance dedicated to residential school survivors.

The National Film Board is a significant resource of a wide and growing range of videos and teaching guides. One powerful example of the films available from the National Film Board is the movie, “We Were Children”.  You can watch the trailer here.

The NFB allows for the creation of an account accessing their “campus” of educational resources.  One series of films is their Indigenous Voices and Reconciliation Series

Currently (April 2018) you can go to a theatre near you and take in the feature film Indian Horse that provides a depiction of residential schools with a hockey setting:

Books:

Dr. Patti LaBoucane-Benson has written a graphic novel based upon her extensive research for her dissertation entitled: The Outside Circle: A Graphic Novel.  It is available in print and kindle version and provides a different look at the generational trauma and impact of residential schooling.

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I plan to add further resources in the days and weeks ahead in support of the collective work to meet and exceed the standards as we strive to better understand, teach and support all students, teachers and families.

 

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About Rick

32 years in education, the last 19 in administration, over 30 years coaching football. Father of 6, grandfather of 5 and counting on a few more ;-)
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