Aboriginal Inquiry: Lifting All Learners

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

6.5 Deconstructing colonial mindsets

Simultaneously, AESN inquiries show evidence of how teachers began exploring their own learning around the impact of the residential school system and the trust that has been lost with the public school system. Along with others, AESN members at Skaha Lake Middle School in the Okanagan Skaha District recognized the need to acknowledge the historical impacts of colonialism and First Nations perspectives as they explored changes to their approaches as to what contributes to student success. These members sought to examine their previously held mindsets around the achievement gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students and took steps to correct misconceptions by examining Aboriginal perspectives of both BC ’s and Canada’s history. Educators were confronting their own prejudices as they examined historical events with students. While there is not sufficient evidence to suggest that all non-Aboriginal teachers in the AESN are engaged in interrogating their own biases, the above cases represent a burgeoning awareness that will be discussed at greater length in other sections of this report.