Aboriginal Inquiry: Lifting All Learners

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

6.3 Summary of the case

Members of the Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network (AESN ) have strived to make Aboriginal students visible by helping them develop their voice and by following the precept of the two provincial leaders, Drs. Judy Halbert and Linda Kaser, that “each student will cross the graduation stage with dignity, purpose and options” (2013). By focusing on that strong moral purpose, members of the Network have developed many unique, contextually based approaches to improve the learning opportunities for Aboriginal students.

By participating in AESN inquiry activities, the educators described here have committed to improving their own learning by focusing on the learning needs of Aboriginal students. In the first years, educators focused inquiries around academic development, inclusion of Aboriginal content in curriculum, and creating culturally relevant learning experiences.

While the focus was on enhancing Aboriginal student performance, the case studies make clear that educators recognized the need to develop their own learning before they would be able to understand their Aboriginal students’ learning needs. A common theme was that their own engagement as teachers was necessary if they were to be successful in working with Aboriginal learners. This learning appears to follow a stepped process.