Theoretical Resources

Wotherspoon, T. (2002). The Dynamics of Social Inclusion: Public Education and Aboriginal People in Canada. Toronto: The Laidlaw Foundation.

This text is on inclusive goals and is a simple resource that discusses the need of Social Inclusion in schools and classrooms in order to effectively integrate First Nations content. Wotherspoon argues that there needs to be a foundation of inclusive practices so that all students feel included and accepted. This is important because when everyone feels included and safe, addressing cultural content appropriately can build better understandings and bridge cultural gaps.
Within Wotherspoon’s discussion of Social Inclusion he brings to light challenges and issues of trust that First Nations students and their families have with eduction, and how teachers and schools can work to rebuild trust and provide a positive eduction for students. Readers are provided with information on First Nation’s past and present experiences with the education system and given practices that shows a value of all students. There are also examples of inclusive and exclusive classroom practices. “Silencing” for example is an exclusive teaching practice that can be done deliberately or unconsciously. Silencing can be done when materials and resources only provide a limited perspective(s), or groups of people and selected social issues are left out completely(Wotherspoon, 2002, p. 10). This is not always an intentional act, but to overcome this obstacle learning to critically evaluate resources can help by weeding out materials that are limited and oppressive.
This text challenges ideas of inclusion and allows teachers to think deeper about their own practices and environments to see how inclusion works in their schools. This book is a nice short read that can apply to any classroom and applies to building inclusion for all students in school not only First Nations students.

Link to the PDF File

“[S]ocial inclusion extends beyond bringing the ‘outsiders’ in, or notions of the periphery versus the centre. It is about closing physical, social and economic distances separating people, rather than only about eliminating boundaries or barriers between us and them”(Wotherspoon, 2002. p. ix).

Zurzolo, C. (2007). An Exploration of the Experiences of Non-Aboriginal Teachers Integrating Aboriginal Perspectives into the Manitoba Social Studies Curriculum. Ottawa: UMI Dissertation Services.

This is a thesis document from the University of Manitoba, but it works very well with the information presented by Wotherspoon. Teachers that read this learn why First Nations content needs to be integrated into education, challenges that can deter teachers from implementing First Nations content, and strategies and teaching approaches that include First Nations content. The obstacles or excuses for not teaching First Nations education are very similar to views heard in Saskatchewan: lack of available resources, lack of teacher experience and knowledge, just including “token” education is good enough, and fears of bringing up controversial or racist issues in classes. Two ideas of approaching integration of First Nations content are “transformative” and “decision-making and social action” approaches. The transformative approach discusses how assumptions about curriculum need to be changed and that students need opportunities to view concepts from multiple perspectives. The decision-making approach adds to the former by including opportunities for students to make decisions and take action after learning about all perspectives on an issue.(Zurzolo, 2007, p. 35)
This report allows teachers to learn about their own practices by learning about struggles and finding strategies to over come them, and to read other teachers’ accounts about integrating First Nations content and learn from there experiences. It challenges readers to be critical thinkers and reflect on how their teaching practices align with the reported findings and search for ways to grow and improve.

Link to the PDF File

The following pdf file is a thesis written by an educator at the University of Saskatchewan and this thesis discusses a project that addresses integration of Aboriginal content in school and a possibility for anti-racism pedagogy using Critical Race Theory as a critical framework.

Vanhouwe, Michelle I. (2007) White Teachers, Critical Race Theory and Aboriginal Education. University of Saskatchewan.

This project examines the popular belief that integration of Aboriginal content will ensure Aboriginal student success in schools in Saskatchewan. Given that a high percentage of the teaching population is white identified, it is important that the author, along with these teachers, understand the continuing significance of race and how it continues to matter in education despite the notion that Canada, as well as schools, are race neutral. The primary goal of this project is to provide a race analysis of education using Critical Race theory as a theoretical framework, problematizing the emphasis on Aboriginal culture in dominant educational discourse. Secondly, this project examines the potential of anti racist pedagogy (accompanied by a knowledge base in CRT) to provide professional development for white teachers to assist us in meeting the needs of not only Aboriginal students but non-Aboriginal students as well. (Vanhouwe, 2007, p. ii)

White Teachers, Critical Race Theory and Aboriginal Education.pdf

Not Just Adding Aboriginal contents to a Non-Aboriginal Curriculum

Witt, Norbert W. (2005). Not Just Adding Aboriginal Contents to a Non-Aboriginal Curriculum. The international Journal of Learning. Volume 12, Number 10.

By 2016, more than 40% of Saskatchewan's students will be of Aboriginal origin according to Statistics Canada. Educators will face the challenge to meet the educational needs of the rising Aboriginal population. The dual goal of rein-forcing Aboriginal identity and to provide training necessary to survive in the so-called modern world, introduced by the Assembly of First Nations in 1973, points towards a cultural basis. Emphasizing this cultural basis, this presentation shows an example of how Aboriginal education concepts can be incorporated in teacher training programs. Integration of Aboriginal education is discussed from an Aboriginal cultural basis with main stream theory and concepts explained into it rather than using the usual approach of fiting Aboriginal concepts into mainstream theory. (Norbert, 2005, p. 347)

Not Just Adding Aboriginal Contents to a Non-Aboriginal Curriculum .pdf

Remember that these are only some of the resources that we have come across. There are many other resources that you have access to, you just have to go and discover them for yourself.

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