Sunday, August 31, 2014

Aboriginal Education & Universal Design for Learning - Chapter 7 of U.D.L

   To help us work towards our school goal of purposefully implementing the Universal Design for Learning approach to our formal planning (sometimes referred to as "Backwards by Design", "Understanding by Design", or "Planning With The End in Mind), my principal has provided our staff with a copy of Dr. Jennifer Katz's book, Teaching to Diversity: The Three-Block Model of Universal Design for Learning. As I make my way through the book, I will be summarizing my learning as a means of organizing my thoughts and getting clarification on particular ideas.

Teaching to diversity, the universal design for learning, teaching to diversity book synopsis
Teaching to Diversity Cover. (Accessed 2014). Uploaded to Amazon; Portage& Main Press. 
Available online at:

- Non-aboriginal teachers often feel nervous and unqualified when
  it comes to teaching about aboriginal culture

Challenges to Social and Academic Inclusion
- History of Racism
     - Once Canada became a country, education was divided into two
        1 ) Status Indians had their education regulated by the federal gov.
        2 ) Non-status/Inuit/Metis were under the provincial gov.
     - After several years of inadequate programming, with little focus
       on academics or cultural integration, the Indian Control for
       Indian Education asked for:
       1 ) Local community control
       2 ) More First Nations teachers
       3 ) Creation of relevant curricula & resources for F.N students
       4 ) Instruction in F.N languages & culture
     - Suicide among F.N use is higher than those of other backgrounds
- Underfunding & Dehumanization
     - Funding is regularly lower for F.N communities than others
     - Many times issues jump between the federal and provincial
       governments and things fall through the cracks
- System Does Not Reflect Aboriginal Experience
     - Most on-reserve teachers are not from a First Nations background
     - Teachers should make education a priority for themselves and
       acknowledge their lack of background
- Lack of Awareness & Misunderstanding
     - Students coming from reserve schools often have large gaps due
        to lack of educational environments & are placed in exclusive
        learning spaces

Opportunities for Social & Academic Inclusion
- Elders recognized that every person could contribute to society in
  some way

Connecting Block Three: Systems & Structures
- All provinces & territories have policies in place in regards to
  Aboriginal perspective and education
- Teachers have to hold the bar high & challenge students to
  meet the high expectations we see them to be capable of
- Some Aboriginal teachers do not have a memory of a compassionate
  teacher to model themselves off of

Connecting Block Two: Instructional Practice
- All students need to learn about F.N culture
- Each province/territory has educational resources and supports to
  assist in this if you do not know where or how to start

Connecting Block One: Social & Emotional Learning
- Model respect with all students and families
- The Medicine Wheel
- The Seven Teachings

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