Amar Hans- First Peoples Principles of Learning and Residential Schools

Question: How to comfortably teach AbEd while I am learning it myself and how can I incorporate AbEd into my lessons?

I started to once again think about how I would be teaching AbEd comfortably as my Residential Schools unit was days away. While reflecting on this question, I realized that it all came down to myself. This question was one area I was struggling with last semester and when it was time to teach this unit, I honestly sat down and stared at this question for about 3 minutes. I thought to myself what I meant by comfortably and thoughts such as, “You do not need to know everything about AbEd to teach it comfortably” and “You have been teaching Canadian history for weeks now and no way you are an expert in this area” came to my mind. This began to ease my tension a little bit as I once again told myself that as long as I tried to the best of my abilities to learn the content before teaching my students, I should feel confident. By shifting my mind frame to this was a challenge, but once I calmed myself down, it all seemed as if I could do it.

After I moved passed this hurdle, I began to think about ways I could incorporate the First Peoples Principles of Learning:

Poster 1: During the first day of class, students they were asked, “What does each principle mean to you” and “relate your principle to a real life example.”

After our immigration unit, students were asked  when we touched upon a specific principle during the unit. I picked students at random to verbally state this in front of the class.

Poster 2: After the end of our Residential Schools unit, students chose 1 principle and they were asked, “Over the past 6 days, provide examples of when we touched upon your principle.”

  • Comparing the two posters, the students had a lot more to discuss during the second poster than compared to the first
  • I found it much more helpful if I was incorporating these principles on a regular basis than compared to once every two weeks because if they are being exposed to it regularly, they begin to ‘buy into’ what you are teaching them. What I mean by this is, they feel much more comfortable talking about this and understand the importance of it when I am referring to these principles on a regular basis. This was evident when comparing the two posters.

The first mind map depicts a students work on the first day of our Residential Schools (RS) unit when they were asked to describe the 5 W’s (who, what, etc.) and the significance of RS. The second mind map illustrates the same student, but her work after our RS unit. Majority of my student’s mind maps had little to no information when they were asked about RS on the first day. This demonstrates how little students in high school know about RS.


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