#CdnELTchat Summary: Ways to Bring Aboriginal Perspectives into the Classroom

#CdnELTchat summary for February 11, 2020. By Bonnie Nicholas

Ways to bring Aboriginal Perspectives into the Classroom

On February 11, #CdnELTchat community gathered on Twitter to talk about Ways to bring Aboriginal Perspectives into the Classroom. Sharon Jarvis (@romans1v17) was the guest moderator and shared her perspective as a Metis educator. In her words: “Sharon is a Métis from Mânatow Sakahikanihk (Spirit Lake in Nehiyaw- Lac St. Anne) who has been an educator for over 15 years. She has a MEd from UBC with three concentrations. Her work mainly focuses on an Indigenous framework that emerged while completing her graduating paper: wâhkôhtowin (all my relations), otipemisiwak (selves governing) and ekichinantak (respectfulness) (2017; 2018; 2019).”

These are the questions we discussed:

Q1: As non-indigenous people working in #ELT, how can we bring an authentic Indigenous perspective into our classes, without appropriation or presuming to speak for Indigenous people? 

Q2: Are there specific themes or topics that could be introduced at each level in settlement language classes? 

Q3: What resources are available for instructors in ELT? 

Q4: What are the First People’s Principles of Learning, and how can we use these in our teaching?

Q5: How important is it that international students and those studying in #EAP programs learn about Indigenous history in Canada?

The tweets from this conversation are collected here using Wakelet, Ways to bring Aboriginal Perspectives into the Classroom. Here are some key takeaways from the chat:

  • Know on whose land we reside: nativeland.ca
  • Consider incorporating First Peoples Principles of Learning in our teaching.
  • Choose reputable resources; be aware of representation and misrepresentation. 
  • Remember that bringing Aboriginal perspectives into our classrooms is about social justice and reconciliation.
  • Some specific topics recommended by Sharon include “loss of identity and affirmation of identity, tradition, healing, role of family, importance of Elders, connection to the land, the nature and place of spirituality as an aspect of wisdom, the relationships between individual and community, the importance of oral tradition, the experience of colonization and decolonization.”

Thanks to Sharon and our participants for sharing so many useful resources. These have been collected these in a Google Doc, Resources for Indigenous Education in ELT; there are resources for exploring many of the specific topics listed above.

#CdnELTchat is a collaborative effort that we hope will lead to more reflective practice for all of us involved in ELT. If you have any ideas for topics or have comments about #CdnELTchat, please send @StanzaSL, @BonnieJNicholas, @Jennifermchow, or @ELTAugusta a tweet. We are also looking for guest moderators who are interested in leading a future #CdnELTchat. Send us a message with a topic of interest.

Our Padlet, Questions and Topics for #CdnELTchat, is always open for sharing questions, ideas, and resources. We create our promo images using Canva and collect the tweets using Wakelet

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