Aboriginal Inquiry: Lifting All Learners

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

5.8.4 Aboriginal pedagogies: culturally inclusive practice

Teachers, Network leaders and members all describe the ways that the AESN has enhanced their ability to incorporate and promote culturally inclusive practices among all teachers in the district. It accomplishes this in several ways; first, the Network builds and supports the creation of professionally focused relationships both within the district and outside of it. It also provides a powerful venue through which Aboriginal/Indigenous educators can profile their approaches to working with Aboriginal students, Aboriginal communities, and share Aboriginal ways of knowing/teaching with their non-Aboriginal colleagues interested in incorporating culturally responsive teaching practices into their own work. One good example of how this work has engaged non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal teachers in shared resource development is the “Canoe Journey for Resilience” (Resource Appendix) developed by three AESN team members who are counselors at a Prince Rupert Middle School. This same resource also shows evidence of how “big idea” conceptual understandings offered by Network leaders (through its annual provincial conference) are being integrated into approaches to working with Aboriginal students. In the case of the “Canoe Journey” student planning document, the references to resiliency and self-regulation are most in evidence. This echoes the themes of self-regulation and social-emotional learning that have been a focus of the Network provincial seminar over the last 3-4 years.

As this review has illustrated, one powerful impact of the Network has been to lever, nurture and support deepened teacher learning in culturally responsive teaching practices. By recognizing and documenting the work of its members, it provides exemplars and models that teachers and leaders have used to create new pathways and strategies, suited to their local context, to emerge.