Aboriginal Inquiry: Lifting All Learners

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

7.4.2 Case 2

Similarly, a project conceived between teachers at a Secondary school in the Thompson-Okanagan region wove local content into the prescribed math curriculum in order to better reflect students’ experiences and realities. An increase in the number of Aboriginal students at the school prompted the teachers to form an inquiry centered on improving Aboriginal student success in the more academic Principles of Math course – a pre-requisite for entry into some post-secondary programs. Incorporating local and Aboriginal content into the curriculum supplemented by visual images of local spaces provided by the school’s language teacher resulted in increased student engagement as they recognized themselves in the course material. An assessment tool developed to measure the impact on student learning revealed an improvement in student test scores over a two-year period. The actions taken by these teachers is indicative of another feature of inquiry approaches to learning: They were able to identify a gap in the ways in which students were responding to traditional presentations of curriculum and modified their materials and approaches to teaching in a culturally inclusive and responsive way in order to better meet their students learning needs. In addition to showcasing their work at the district and Network level, the teachers shared their findings and resources at a UBC symposium with 130 educators involved with Aboriginal math who were very interested in seeking more information about the inquiry, the work the teachers had done, and its results.