Using inquiry to learn more about our various cultural backgrounds.
My school is K-12 in Boston Bar, B.C.. We are sitting on the traditional Nlaka’pamux Territory. Last June I had asked my students if they knew the name of the Territory they lived on and “who” they were. They could not answer me.
The past year I tried my best to incorporate Nlaka’pamux Traditions and Culture into my classroom. I also want to strengthen ALL my students knowledge of themselves and where they live.
Our inquiry question was: “will recognizing individual differences and incorporating cultural and linguistic teachings help children feel more connected to the school and therefore become more successful?”
I went to First Nations Education Steering Committee meetings, spoke with elders and our First Nation Support worker regularly. I developed lessons based on the Seven Teachings (basic virtues), created rubrics and an organizational system based on the medicine wheel, involved community members, respectfully inquired about my learners ancestry through their guardians, hired First Nations artisans (memory bags & crafts) and delved into teaching the painful history of Residential Schools. I try to incorporate tradition into my daily pedagogy.
The outcomes included student engagement. Support from the community and the school district has been amazing. They all have encouraged me to expand my inquiry. Next year I will bring all these lessons and ideas to the entire school as well as I will be travelling to other schools to share what I have been doing.
My inquiry was successful as I feel and my students feel more connected to me, each other, the school, their community and the land. Next year I hope to bring my experiences and share my lessons with the entire school.