About Me

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I have been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Currently, I am a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My M.Ed. and Ph.D. had a focus on the educational and linguistic experiences of children who moved from other countries to Canada.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Working with First Nations Educators in Canada

I've had the opportunity to work with a number of First Nations groups across Canada regarding education in their communities. I was asked a number of years ago to provide some workshops within a special program Brock University had developed with the Chippewa of the Thames near London, Ontario. Last year, I spent some time in northern British Columbia and was able to meet with representatives of the Carrier First Nations. Through these opportunities, and others, I've been increasingly challenged to consider how I may support the work of First Nations educators in Canada.

Last week, a number of events reminded me of the importance of this support: interim report of the Truth and Reconciliation commission (click here for a CBC report), panel report on on-reserve education (click here for Globe and Mail report) and a Q and A with Jean Becker, the WLU Senior Advisor, Aboriginal Initiatives.

In talking with Jean, she made me aware of educational assistants who work in on-reserve schools. Often these are First Nations women who have limited educational training but who are committed to supporting the students in the school. Teachers in these schools are often non-aboriginal and might only remain at the school for a year or two or might leave mid-year if there is a problem with things like mould or access to water. When this happens, the Aboriginal EAs often take over. Jean encouraged me to think of how the Laurier Faculty of Education might work with these EAs in providing some educational training and certification. I've already raised this with our dean and will pursue this in the months ahead.

My attention is often focused on Haiti, but an authentic glocal perspective must consider the communities (and country) within which I live as well.

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