Inquiry Question: What does Truth and Reconciliation mean to me and what does this look like in my classroom?

Initially I  found it challenging to take on the weight of Truth and Reconciliation, however I also recognized this was the right thing to do. Due to this I invested a large amount of time and reflection to first understand the historical and contemporary legacies of colonization and secondly how I could implement both the First Peoples Principles of Learning and Aboriginal content into my classroom. During the time of understanding I came to really appreciate the culture and values of the First People and in a sense felt the call for Truth and Reconciliation “in my bones”. Due to my research, reflection, and personal connection I then felt ready to implement items from The FP Principles of Learning and Aboriginal content. Overall I feel my implementation was successful and plan to continue and expand throughout my career. I feel further implemenation is not only necessary as I am mandated by my profession, but as stated previously the right thing to do and beneficial for all learners.

The following are some expamples and resources I used to encorporate FP Principles of Learning and Aboriginal content:


As an English teacher I was able to incorporate various pieces of authentic Aboriginal literature. The following are some short stories and poems used in English 12 and Pre-IB Humanities 9:

Short Stories:

“Audrey’s Story” – by Susan Dion

“Growing up Native”- by Carol Geddes

“Mistahimaskwa’s Story”-retold by Susan Dion

“Shawnadithit’s Story”- retold by Susan Dion

“The Bear Mother and Her Husband” – retold by Bill Reid & Robert Bringhurst


“History Lesson”-by Jeannette C. Armstrong

“I am proud to be Mushuau Innu” -by  Kristin Piwas

“I Lost my Talk” – by Rita Joe

“Indian Women”- by Jeannette C. Armstrong

“Walking Both Sides of an Invisible Border” -by  Alootook Ipellie

The following is a link to more Aboriginal poetry: http://www.sfu.ca/lovemotherearth/02poetry/tea_and_bannock.pdf



For my Sr. Girls & Gr. 10 Girls PE classes I thought it would be neat opportunity to bring in First Nation’s dancers to teach a dance and the history behind the dance. Therefore I reached out to the First Nations district principle in Langley and he gave me the following contact:


Unfortunately our timing did not work out, but I would love to use this company at a further time as they came very highly recommended. They have a variety of options for grades k-12. I encourage you to check them out!


first-peoples-principles-of-learning[1] IMG_1438


I used “Learning involves patience and time” as the basis for instructing, building, activities, and assessment within both my PE classes. I often stated this principle to the girls to show them I did not expect mastery and therefore they should not expect that of themselves and each other. I encouraged them to focus on the process and their own progress, celebrating what they are capable of doing and areas they have improved upon. I encouraged effort and a cohesive learning environment. Both classes really responded to the embodiment of this principle. As a teacher it was so wonderful and rewarding to be a part of. I will continue to use this principle in PE and as much as I can in my academic classes.

The following are two clips from a journal prompt about learning involving patience and time:

Student A: “I see learning takes patience and time in PE by seeing how everyone in my class has things that they are good and things we need to practice on. Mrs. Etsell always says that in class and she always has time and patience for our learning as well”

Student B: “I am not very athletic, and PE can be really difficult sometimes when I don’t have the ability others do, but I always try to push myself a little and prove to myself that I’m capable of those things, and when I succeed, it’s always a really rewarding experience…ps. Thank you, Mrs. Etsell for being so supportive and understanding with us this year”





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