The Aboriginal population is the fastest growing population in Canada, it is essential to not just accommodate any FNMI students in our classrooms, but to also help the classroom, school culture and community to be aware of rituals, ceremonies, traditions, and knowledge. This is what literacy is all about.
How can we create meaning when we don’t share and get everyone caring and participating in this knowledge?
Differentiation and Culturally Responsive Teaching
Differentiation via Culturally Responsive Teaching Practices can increase reading scores. Reading is closely linked with increased awareness and mutual understanding of our diversity. Educators don’t necessarily need to know each and every culture, but we should aim to understand that they exist, and aim to understand each student as a whole person, including the cultures that make each and every one of them special and unique. This is the only way to make literacy programming truly meaningful.
Differentiated Instruction practices, and using a wide variety of resources, including the students themselves, and other members of the community can help to infuse diversity into the classroom as well. If we are using resources that do not include diversity, this can also be an important discussion point, and opportunity to engage in further inquiry, and critical thinking.
Culturally Responsive Teaching Practices can be infused using a variety of Differentiate Teaching strategies, talking circles, Holistic Teaching practices, and through students own research and sharing within the classroom.
Reading Lessons can begin with ‘Talking Circles’, and incorporate other FNMI friendly strategies including:
The following books are excellent:
Teaching Strategies & other Practices:
- The use of ‘Talking Circles’ within the classroom to introduce Stephanie’s cultural perspectives. Additional benefits of Talking Circles can include turn taking, respect, creating a classroom community, sending positive messages relating to Character Education & Inclusiveness, and building Community, Culture, & Caring into the Education system.
- Engaging in Holistic Teaching in our Balanced Reading set up to help students to connect personal feelings, emotions, and experiences with the knowledge to create meaning.
- Integrating Medicine Wheel Teachings into the Curriculum First Nations, Metis & Inuit perspectives, and create a positive classroom community for behavior and learning, and helping students reflect on their own gifts & strengths, and to set personal and educational goals. The Medicine Wheel is a sacred symbol for Ojibwe cultures.
- Engaging in ‘Storytelling’ where students can create their own ‘Stories’ or legends about their special gifts. This will also engage the rest of the class and make connections.
Practices can also Include:
- Inviting her family in to tell stories, share
- Offer family to help fill out paperwork etc.;
- Going that extra mile to help make personal connections to teachers and staff
- Incorporating cultural teachings across the curriculum into content areas including science, art, music, language, history, geography, & social studies
- Helping to connect families to community network supports
- Teaching students to deconstruct bias in learning resources
- Inviting Aboriginal Elders, Storytellers, Authors & Artists into the classroom
- Using resources that represent an Authentic voice
- Technology may or may not be used within the home, so use this form of communication with caution. We must use it in ways that support our families and students, not alienate them.
There is also a FREE iPad app from @ogoki learning systems for the Ojibway language!
Additional References to Check out:
- Ontario First Nation, Metis, and Inuit Education Policy Framework. Aboriginal Education Office, Ministry of Education, 2007
- Aboriginal Perspectives: Guide to the Teacher’s Toolkit: Teaching resources and strategies for elementary and secondary classrooms, 2009.http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/aboriginal/Guide_Toolkit2009.pdf
- Toulouse, P.R. (2011) Achieving Aboriginal Student Success: A guide for K to 8 classrooms. Portage & Main Press, 2011
- Primary Teaching Strategies: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/aboriginal/secStrategies.html
- Secondary Teaching Strategies: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/aboriginal/elemStrategies.html
- Principles for Culturally Responsive Teaching: http://www.alliance.brown.edu/tdl/tl-strategies/crt-principles.shtml#perspectives
- Culturally Responsive Teaching Matters: http://www.equityallianceatasu.org/sites/default/files/Website_files/CulturallyResponsiveTeaching-Matters.pdf
“Royal Military College of Canada Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Year drum” by Victoriaedwards – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Royal_Military_College_of_Canada_Aboriginal_Leadership_Opportunity_Year_drum.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Royal_Military_College_of_Canada_Aboriginal_Leadership_Opportunity_Year_drum.jpg