#1

The article I chose to read was called “Transformation and Aboriginal Literacy” by Peter Gamblin. There were several reasons why I chose to do my first reader response on this article, one main reason was that I felt that the Aboriginal views from the article resonated in the new Health Curriculum and there were many similarities. One of the main ideas of the article was that they wanted Aboriginal culture to have the opportunity to thrive. They want their views, values, and beliefs to last through generations and continue to be a framework for how one will live their life. One major trait that Aboriginal people value is creativity, which they believe extends into their thinking and their behaviour. This article also discussed the struggle that many Aboriginal people have faced in the past, and how that affects their life today. Another major idea of the piece was the interconnectedness of all things. Interconnectedness is a major aspect of Health Education and it is important to educate students on how each dimension of Health will influence the other. I believe the most important key idea of the article was that Aboriginal people have a holistic view on life and the world and that deserves to be cherished.

I enjoyed reading this article for many reasons. I loved reading from an Aboriginal standpoint. The article had a genuine and authentic feel, the article also used several words in Nishnaabemwin that made the article even more enjoyable and interesting. I was also interested in this article because I felt it is very similar to many of the beliefs and values in Health Education such as having a holistic view, taking into considerations all aspects of health, and allowing an individual to be themselves.

The article relates very well to other pieces that refer to teaching for diversity. As a teacher we want learning to be relevant, authentic and meaningful. This means we as teachers need to take the time to learn about our students and support their needs. However this will look different in each classroom and in each community. All communities will have different needs and will need support in many different ways. I believe that when this article discussed the importance of curriculum it also flowed very well with our contemporary view on curriculum. Curriculum should create students who want to learn and be engaged. This should involve inquiry and learning for themselves and not learning just to receive a numbered score. Inquiry should involve questions of deeper understanding and questions that may not be easy to answer such as discussing privilege and racism. As teachers we need to teach all students and we also need to be open minded, kind and confident. Inquiry should bring out the learner in every student.

I did however have some discomfort while reading this article. I felt the article also portrayed education and our society in a negative way. It discussed how Western society essentially viewed education as fast, analytic and without social and moral dimensions. I believe that education has changed greatly and now creates students who have a desire for learning. I believe our curriculums have changed in order to create students who make healthy decisions and are involved with their communities. I also had discomfort in this article when it discussed all the struggles Aboriginal people went through, and how they could become “not Indian” if they were “lucky”. I feel pain that they were assimilated and pain that their cultural identity was taken from them. I want students to embrace their heritage and become more familiar with their own diversity and also the diversity of others and by doing that allow diversity to be a part of their daily life.

Kumashiro allows me to question my beliefs and question why it is I feel the way I do. His readings allow me to take on a different role as a teacher. As a teacher I will be a learned practitioner, professional and researcher throughout my career and it will be important to be able to change my role and see a situation in a different light. As a teacher, I am able to teach for social justice and good in the world. During this article I felt as though I had become a “researcher” allowing myself to learn as well as reflect.

In conclusion, this article gave me the opportunity to learn about Aboriginal culture and education. This article has provided me with a starting point to learn about Aboriginal education and also what the needs of an Aboriginal student in my classroom may be. As a teacher, it is important for me to understand what education is for Aboriginal people, as it may differ from what I believe education to be. I truly to believe that education has evolved over time and this article did have a very traditional view on education. As our society and world grows and changes, it is only logical that how we teach our children will also evolve. I believe that through this article I have taken on the three roles of a teacher that Kumashiro discusses. Kusmashiro also teaches me that discomfort is natural because it allows you to grow as a person and as a educator.

Although this piece did answer questions I may have regarding Aboriginal Education, it also left me with more questions. My major question is how do we show Aboriginal people and their families that education has changed and that education is not fast and analytical like it might have been in the past? It is important for us to prove to these families that we can give their children a relevant education that also involves their own cultural identity but I still question how we will truly be able to prove that to families when many families may still be resistant to trust us as educators. I also question how Aboriginal people feel about Treaty Education in schools and if they believe it is a good representation of their heritage and their beliefs and values. I would be interested in continuing to learn about Aboriginal culture, beliefs, values and especially Treaty Education.

****Reflection & commentary****

Q Building trust/faith in education – How you can support parents and students of Aboriginal ancestry who may carry a certain amount of distrust for schooling.  How will you address this concern prior to field experience?  What resources will you seek?  How will you practice what you are learning?

I believe building a strong relationship with parents involves a great deal of trust and honesty. As an educator I want to ensure that parents understand I am committed to the success of their child and I am willing to put as much effort into their academic achievement and achievement in other areas of their life for them to reach their goals. I acknowledge that  Aboriginal people have experienced a great deal of pain from residential schools and I am committed to making a change in the current educational system. As an educator I want to create safe, inclusive classrooms where learning is authentic and relevant. I have enjoyed going through Treaty Education resources and I believe all of these resources will be fantastic in a classroom. A few websites I plan to use are Office of the Treaty Commissioner and Four Directions Teachings. Other resources I plan to use are elders and other programs such as First Nations University of Canada. This could encourage youth people to dream of a higher education and know they will find their place in the world.

I commit to including Aboriginal perspectives in my lessons and allowing for time to have discussions with students and ensure we have a shared end goal of a class or even a unit. I am excited to bring this perspective into the school and experiment with different lessons and ways of teaching.

-Janelle

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