2.2.3 The BC approach to culturally responsive pedagogy
As noted earlier in this literature review, the Ministry of Education promotes what it calls the “Principles of Aboriginal Learning”. Initially developed in partnership with an advisory group of Aboriginal scholars and educators who worked with the First Nations Education Steering Committee in 2008, these principles were designed to highlight how an Aboriginal pedagogy can reflect the context of British Columbia’s own First Peoples.
- Learning ultimately supports the well being of the self, the family, the community, the land, the spirits and the ancestors.
- Learning is holistic, reflexive, experiential and relational – focusing on connectedness, or reciprocal relationships, and a sense of place.
- Learning involves recognizing the consequences of one’s actions.
- Learning involves generational roles and responsibilities.
- Learning recognizes the role of Indigenous knowledge.
- Learning is embedded in memory, history and story.
- Learning involves patience and time.
- Learning requires exploration of one’s identity.
- Learning involves recognizing that some knowledge is sacred and only shared with permission and/or in certain situations (BC Ministry of Education, 2010, p. 11).
In reading this list of principles, it is apparent that they draw from the scholarship of Aboriginal pedagogy and anti-oppressive education. It also puts into relatively plain language the ways in which learning for all students is supported and enhanced through their application to educational settings, to policy and curriculum design. The principles have become an important benchmark that schools, districts and the Ministry now use to measure their efforts in Aboriginal education.
In the final section of this literature review, we highlight the field of teacher learning and professional development. Because of how the Network creates spaces for teacher learning, it is important to examine what we know are the features of ‘promising practices’ in promoting growth in teacher professional practices: How do field professionals learn best? This knowledge can then be used to assess the impact of the Network on the nature of teacher learning.