Aboriginal Inquiry: Lifting All Learners

An Impact Assessment of the Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network (AESN)

4.7.2 Emergent evidence of nested, interconnected learning systems

In exploring how the AES Network operates in Arrow Lakes what becomes clear is how the Network is nested within and amongst parallel systems of support for teachers and district personnel involved in educating youth in this diverse region of the province. While their history of involvement in the Network is relatively short, it is also evident that the notion of culturally inclusive practice has been embraced and incorporated into the diverse, yet connected forms of inquiry these teachers are choosing to participate in. A large number of existing teachers are participating in either Network activity or initiatives supported by their Aboriginal Learning Principal and other district leaders; the numbers of teachers currently involved is estimated to be about 30%. The success of these teachers’ AESN projects, the evidence of increased student engagement as a result of their efforts to incorporate Aboriginal knowledge and perspectives in their approaches to curriculum, and how this work has broadly impacted their community is clearly motivating for these teachers, and this is creating interest among others who are not yet involved as deeply. The district has also made clear that it values these teachers’ efforts, by providing resources and professional support for them as they engage in this work. Taken together, these provide evidence that the Network will continue to operate successfully in this district. While we cannot assume that such practices will necessarily continue over the longer haul, the level of passion shared by these teachers and district leaders as well as the level of engagement among a range of teachers of non-Aboriginal ancestry, suggest it is a district that will be transformed into a more culturally inclusive space that will nurture and deepen understandings of Aboriginal peoples in their region and in BC and Canada, while enhancing the successes of their students.