Published on Brock University (http://www.brocku.ca)
Exploring the impact of the Nishnawbe Aski Teacher Education Program on First Nation communities
Julian Kitchen, PhD
Department of Teacher Education
Associate Professor, Brock University Faculty of Education
The objective of this one-year project is to understand how an emergent culturally responsive Aboriginal teacher education program impacts critical segments of First Nation communities: teachers, students, parents and schools. The research is guided by three questions: How has the Nishnawbe Aski BEd program informed the practices of teacher candidates as they attempt to apply new learning in their remote community schools; how do teacher candidates negotiate the tensions (personal, professional and community) inherent in teaching through Two Ways pedagogy that prepares students to navigate between Aboriginal and Euro-Canadian worlds; and how is the Nishnawbe Aski BEd program received by those within the sphere of relationships of these teacher candidates: students, colleagues, parents, and administrators?
The project recognizes that Aboriginal students need to be fluent in their own languages, cultures and ways of being to succeed academically and continue the journey to self-determination which includes developing the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in mainstream Canada. While most Ontario teacher education program fail to maintain or renew social and cultural knowledge, emergent teacher education programs are beginning to offer decolonized understandings of Indigenous language, culture, epistemologies and history. Teachers who emerge from these programs need to be studied so that Aboriginal teacher education can become a force of cultural renewal.
This longitudinal study of the experiences of six Nishnawbe Aski teacher candidates enrolled in an Aboriginal BEd program, run by Brock University in partnership with the Northern Nishnawbe Education Council (NNEC) builds on previous research on the experiences of teacher candidates and teacher educators in this program. The proposed research will contribute to a deeper understanding of the impact of innovative, culturally responsive and community-based programs on teachers and their sphere of relationships: students, colleagues, administrators, parents, and community.
View Associate Professor Julian Kitchen’s profile HERE.