Research at the Conference
Indigenous PD Conference - April 20, 2017
Participants who are interested will participate in one of four breakout research sessions (a talking group, writing group, art group, or drama group). Each of the groups will have a guided activity, which will be used in an Insight Grant research project: ‘Kimaacihtoomin e-Anishinaabek kikinoo'amaakeyak: Inspiring teachers to include Aboriginal histories, knowledges and perspectives in their classrooms’, which builds on research that started in 2007-08 with the Deepening Knowledge Project This research has focused on bringing Indigenous worldviews and perspectives into the Initial Teacher Education program at OISE. Continuing this important work, the current project focuses on what strategies educators (both pre-service and in-service) bring to the classroom to implement Indigenous knowledges and practices. The goal of this research is to gain information in order to find ways that are effective in increasing the presence of Indigenous histories, perspectives, experiences and cultures into teaching practices across all grade levels in Ontario.
Research Group Summaries
Guided Writing Group
Participants of this research group will be involved in a guided writing activity. We will work individually through a guided remembering to reflect through writing to examine the multiple ways in which you use Indigenous perspectives in your classrooms, as well as the supports you utilize and barriers you encounter in this work. As a participant in this group, you will be asked a series of questions to reflect on your teaching practices and will create meaning through story telling in the written form. We hope that this process of storytelling will act as a self-reflective tool and will encourage you to explain what your ideal classroom would look like. Because writing can be an emotional process, we want to encourage participants to only share stories with us that they feel comfortable with. You have the right to not answer any question during the activity or withdraw your participation at any time.
Role Play Group
In this roleplay workshop participants will explore the some of the opportunities and obstacles that arise when attempting to bring Indigenous content into schools and classrooms. Participants may choose roles they have played or have met with previously while attempting to “teach in an Indigenous way.” The group will be given or asked to contribute their own scenarios in which the work of “infusion ” may be challenged. As these familiar scenarios unfold some of the positions and complicated underlying issues of those involved will surface. Group discussion will hopefully reveal successful ways of dealing with obstacles and moving forward toward the goals of inclusion and greater understanding of all those involved in this work.
Talking Circle Group
Participants in this research group will be involved in a sharing circle where we will discuss the barriers and supports to including Indigenous perspectives in our work as teachers. The purpose is to reflect upon the essence of how these resources and relationships enable us to provide Indigenous perspectives in our sites of practices, as well as discuss what hinders the process of doing so. Sharing circles have a protocol that will be explained to participants. All participants will have an opportunity to speak to the topic presented by the circle facilitator but may also choose to pass if they feel. We will move around the circle more than one time and as many times as our meeting time permits with knowledge building with each successive round. The circle will be recorded but once transcribed the audio files will be deleted and any material that can identify participants will be modified to protect anonymity. Of course we can not guarantee anonymity as other circle participants may recognize you but all participants will be requested to respect this anonymity at the outset of the circle process. We are holding this circle to learn more about the resources teachers draw upon to support themselves in the work of teaching Indigenous perspectives as well as how to help teachers overcome challenges to doing this work well. In addition to eliciting stories about how to help teachers which we hope to share more widely, we hope that the process of participating in the circle in itself provides teachers with support and ideas for moving forward in your practice. Miigwec!
Visual Art Mapping Group
Participants of this research group will be involved in using visual mapping methods. We will work in groups of 4-5 members to develop relational and resource maps that illustrate the available human, material, communal, intellectual, spiritual, and other resources available to the people in our lives, schools, places of work, and communities. The purpose is to reflect upon the essence of how these resources and relationships enable us to provide Indigenous perspectives in our sites of practices, as well as discuss what hinders the process of doing so. You will be provided with commonly used items to construct our visual maps, such as paper/ fabric scraps, magazines, and newspapers.
This mapping activity is meant to be used as a springboard for interview questions and so the aim of the visual maps is to provide a space for participants to tell their stories in relation to wider contexts. The activity will also provide opportunities for people to reflect about issues of identity, the shaping of their relationships, and influences on their lives, as well as to reflect upon how we might continue to take up Indigenous perspectives in classrooms.