Indigenous People and Education

Throughout an educator’s career, there will come many moments where they will have to research and gain knowledge about their students, their workplace and even their surrounding community. Teacher’s learning is also ongoing and should never be thought of as complete.

Indigenous knowledge is one thing that teachers and future educators should be aware of because of its influential and important place in today’s society.

Our guest speaker, Darren Thomas, came in and had many things to share about their culture.

One of the main things that come up was the idea that their basic ideologies stem from the roots of trust, friendship and respect. This is something that is very crucial in the world as well as the classroom specifically. It allows all students to feel welcomed and as part of the community.

An interesting aspect I found was when Darren discussed the idea of Ganikwiyo which means good mind and Ganohonyokh which means that you should always start on a place where you can all agree. This I would reflect on and try to incorporate into my teaching practises because it would help alot. I love the idea of coming in with a good mind that’s open to new suggestions and perspectives. The idea of  starting on a common ground is also very inspiring to me because it didn’t occur to be that even though we all have differences, at the end of the day, we do have commonalities and these should not be ignored. In fact these should be embraced to bring us closer together, whether it be in the world or our classrooms.

Something Darren Thomas pointed out was that when he would question his elders, they wouldn’t give him an answer, but rather they’d guide him and ask him to reflect. This reminds me of the idea of how teachers are there for guidance, the best way to teach a child is to let them discover on their own through experimentation.

He mentioned that growing up he was taught that everyone in the society are living for the health and wellbeing of eachother. In a classroom we should all be willing to support eachother to overcome our obstacles and break away from our fears. More importantly, we should bring out the best in eachother and help when we are at our worst.

We as educators should make space for new knowledge and allow room for differences. instead of multiculturalism, we should embrace the idea of interculturalism where we can learn about one another from eachother.

We can participate in equity and do what’s fair and just. Teachers can teach varying knowledge and different perspectives. Expose their students to differences and diversity and create safety nets for students to feel that they have someone to turn to.

A crucial thing is to make the classroom and the school reflective of the student population. Don’t pay attention to one student or culture over another, do it equally. Teacher’s have the power to change the future through these children as they really do shape citizenship and guide the children of tomorrow!


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