On teaching and settler colonialism: Emma MacKenzie Hunter, Integrating Aboriginal Education into the Elementary School Classroom: How Settler Teachers Meaningfully Include Aboriginal Content, Perspectives, and Pedagogy in their Teaching Practice, MA dissertation, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, 2015
Abstract: Research has shown that incorporating Aboriginal education into the classroom can increase Aboriginal students’ engagement, interest, and academic success and thereby work towards closing the academic achievement gap that exists between Aboriginal and Settler students in Canada (Cherubini & Hodson, 2008; Kehoe & Echols 1994; Ledoux 2006; Wotherspoon & Schissel 1998). This qualitative research project uses a literature review and semi-structured interviews to investigate how Toronto elementary school teachers can incorporate Aboriginal education into the elementary school classroom in a way that is respectful of the Aboriginal community and does not replicate past injustices against Aboriginal communities. Interviews with two Settler teachers showed that these educators are actively attempting to incorporate Aboriginal content into their teaching practice in a way that goes beyond the Ontario curriculum requirements and is largely consistent with the best practices outlines by Aboriginal scholars. It is my hope that the findings from this study can aid in the process of decolonizing the Canadian classroom by informing policy and curriculum development, teacher education programs and teacher practice.
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