When implementing Indigenous Education in the curriculum, it is important to identify and address two needs:
- How do we approach the education of Indigenous students using a culturally appropriate method?
- How do we educate the general student population about Indigenous peoples in BC and Canada?
While we do have a few families who identify as having Indigenous ancestry, the majority of Pathways Academy students do not have Indigenous backgrounds. For this reason, we address two themes of education that are applicable for all learners in the system. These themes have been identified in the MOE document Aboriginal Worldviews and perspectives in the Classroom: Moving Forward.
- Strengths-Based, Learner-Centered Practice. Traditional Indigenous 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 each 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 Indigenous ways of knowing (education methods).
- Overcoming Racism. While Canadians are generally viewed as welcoming of people from diverse backgrounds and cultures, that does not always apply to those of Indigenous ancestry. Racism needs to be acknowledged and addressed proactively. At Pathways Academy we work to overcome racism through our educational program and interaction with students. In our educational content, we strive to correct factually faulty generalizations and stereotypes regarding Canadian history and the Indigenous peoples.
To aid in the implementation of Indigenous Education our teacher in-service training focuses on the points of action and themes raised in the MOE document Aboriginal Worldviews and perspectives in the Classroom: Moving Forward. Teachers implement Indigenous ways of knowing as outlined in the First Peoples Principles of Learning as a central part of each student's course plan. In addition, teachers embed Indigenous content in all courses as outlined in the Ministry of Education's current BC curriculum. We also encourage teachers to share best practices and examples of implementation in our school.
The Pathways Academy administration team is committed to becoming more informed and aware of how we can provide culturally appropriate education for those families and students who identify as having Indigenous ancestry. If you identify as an Indigenous family and would like support in this area, please reach out to us or feel free to discuss this with your teacher.