The relevance of authentic aboriginal curricula for aboriginal students

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Shaw, Sheila Joanne Jody
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 2000
The opportunity for First Nations students to learn about their traditional history and culture within Canadian schools is limited. In spite of the relevance and need to have this type of inquiry, it seems that the Canadian educational system is reluctant to incorporate authentic curricula into the students' academic repertoire. However, there are those who are committed to the belief that all Canadian students would benefit from having the opportunity to learn about First Nations from both a precontact and postcontact context. Despite this educational thrust, authentic curricula, curricula which is developed in consultation with Elders and other knowledgeable community members, remains missing from Canadian institutions of education. The reader will be presented with a brief overview of the historical legacy of Aboriginal education which, in itself, substantiates the need to provide today's students with a more sensitive and responsible view of Aboriginal history and culture. The research questions for this study were: does authentic Aboriginal curricula have a positive impact on the self-esteem of Aboriginal students and does the Aboriginal community support teaching authentic Aboriginal curricula in public schools. For this research a class of grade 8 students were taught their social studies using authentic Aboriginal curriculum. Pretests and posttests, student interviews and student and community surveys were all used in this research. In addition, my teaching journal and personal reflections have been incorporated into the inquiry of whether or not Aboriginal students benefit from being taught authentic curricula. This study had four major findings: that the self-esteem of Aboriginal students was positively affected through the use of authentic Aboriginal curricula, that the students successfully met the British Columbia Ministry of Education's learning outcomes through the use of authentic curricula, that this Aboriginal community does support the use of authentic curricula within this school and that the Aboriginal students felt that courses using authentic curricula should be supported within public education.
vii, 92 leaves ; 29 cm. --
Indigenous peoples -- Canada -- Study and teaching -- Curricula , Indigenous peoples -- British Columbia -- Education