Implementing Aboriginal Education in the curriculum it is important to note that there are two needs to be addressed:
- How do we approach the education of Aboriginal students in a culturally appropriate method?
- How do we educate the general population of students about Aboriginal peoples in BC and Canada?
While we do have a few families who identify as having Aboriginal ancestry, the majority of Pathways Academy students are non-Aboriginal in origin. For this reason, we will address two themes of education that are applicable for all learners in the system first. These themes have been identified in the MOE document Aboriginal Worldviews and perspectives in the Classroom: Moving Forward.
- Strengths-Based, Learner-Centered Practice. Traditional Aboriginal Education was an informal system that focused on the learner. The educators began by getting to know their students and designing instruction to connect to the student's interests and strengths. We see the value in moving away from a one size fits all education, and Pathways Academy has always strived to customize learning to the student's interests and abilities. Individualized programming will continue and be encouraged as we promote strengths-based, learner-centered practices found in Aboriginal Education methods.
- Overcoming Racism. While Canadians are generally looked at as welcoming of people from diverse backgrounds and cultures, that does not always apply to those of First Nations ancestry. Racism needs to be acknowledged and addressed proactively. At Pathways Academy we will work to overcome racism through our educational program and interaction with students. In our educational content, we will strive to correct factually faulty generalizations and stereotypes regarding Canadian history and the Aboriginal peoples.
To aid in the implementation of Aboriginal Education our teacher in-service training focused on the points of action raised in the MOE document Aboriginal Worldviews and perspectives in the Classroom: Moving Forward. Each theme was highlighted during a training session in the 2018/19 school year. Teachers are encouraged to implement Aboriginal Education strategies with their students/families. We also encourage teachers to share best practices and examples of implementation in our school.
Pathways Administration Team will work on becoming more informed and aware of how we can provide culturally appropriate education for those families and students who identify as having Aboriginal ancestry. If you identify as an Aboriginal family and would like support in this area, please speak with your teacher.