Students will benefit from more Indigenous education after a new B.C. teaching standard was introduced. (News Staff/The Northern View)

Students will benefit from more Indigenous education after a new B.C. teaching standard was introduced. (News Staff/The Northern View)

Educators told to teach more Indigenous lessons – what does that mean in practise?

New teaching standard requires teachers to ‘commit to truth, reconciliation and healing’

For the first time, a new B.C. teaching standard has been introduced requiring educators in the province to “commit to truth, reconciliation and healing” by incorporating traditional Indigenous perspectives into their teaching practice.

When it was announced on June 19 it grabbed headlines, but some in the community raised concerns of how already overloaded teachers and schools can meaningfully and accurately implement Indigenous perspectives into lessons.

ALSO READ: Do boys need more male teachers?

“We want to ensure students have the opportunity to learn Indigenous perspectives throughout all subjects in their school career,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “That’s why it’s imperative our teachers commit to the highest standards when it comes to respecting and valuing the role of Indigenous peoples.”

On a governance level, this fall the province will make sure all its laws and policies are in line with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and has already committed to complete the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Additionally, the new teaching standard compels educators to include Indigenous histories, cultures and world views into the classroom.

Some critics ask if teachers can play a meaningful role in accommodating or reconciling fractured views of the national historical narrative and experience. Is reconciliation, especially land and resource allocation, better suited for government?

When the announcement was made, Jim Iker (chair, British Columbia Teachers’ Council), Tyrone McNeil (president, First Nations Education Steering Committee) and Glen Hansman (president, BC Teachers’ Federation) spoke in passionate support of the changes.

ALSO READ: PHOTOS: ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱ tribal school celebrates Indigenous Day with Yellow Wolf Powwow

“It is crucial that B.C. teachers, regardless of where they work in B.C., have accurate and culturally responsive teaching resources, as well as support to meaningfully incorporate Indigenous content and worldviews into all work in K-12. That includes ongoing opportunities for anti-racism training and professional development about the inter-generational effects of residential schools and the Sixties Scoop,” said Hansman.

The standards extend to 72,000 teachers, who will need to include a “deeper understanding” of these perspectives into their schemes of work and units of teaching. Many schools already offer broad and inclusive lessons, and teachers graduating from B.C. education programs require three credits in First Nations learners’ perspectives to graduate. It would seem B.C. schools are already set up to accommodate the changes, especially as provincial schools currently offer 17 Indigenous languages to study, with six more on the way.

To better support new teachers meet the standard, a B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education spokesperson said, “Public-post secondary institutions are working to finalise the details of how they will integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into the curriculum,” noting this could, “include partnerships with Indigenous communities to co-construct and co-teach materials for teacher education programs.”

And what of the student curriculum itself – has academic rigour been maintained in the face of inclusive objectives?

In a detailed response, Sean Leslie, Communications Manager at the B.C. Ministry of Education gave many examples from across the curriculum that showed clear learning objectives and lesson ideas, from Kindergarten science all the way to high-school math.

ALSO READ: Island View Nursery under quarantine after single plant found with infected spores

“The Science Kindergarten Curriculum links to traditional ecological knowledge, which could be explored by inviting a guest from a local First Nation to take students berry picking, make jam, and give the jam away in a traditional gift-giving ceremony,” he said as one example. “The Mathematics Grade 9 Curriculum links to mathematical concepts illustrated in First Peoples traditional design, which could be explored by developing a diagram and a scale model of a traditional circle dwelling, applying knowledge of circles, polygons, and surface area.”

Education leaders have seemed receptive to the new standard, and hope more resources and updated training will help teachers build on the anti-racism, inclusion and reconciliation work already happening in schools. The province say, to that end, $3.1 million has been directed to Indigenous teacher training and, in the next academic year, one non-instructional day will be given to focus on Indigenous student achievement.

To learn more about the new curriculum visit curriculum.gov.bc.ca and to read more about standards for B.C. educators go to www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Education

Just Posted

Carey Newman resigned from the Greater Victoria School District’s Indigenous Ad Hoc Committee May 13, citing ‘a pattern of systemic racism.’ (Black Press Media file photo)
‘Pattern of systemic racism’: SD61 Indigenous committee member resigns, calls for change

More than 350 people had added their names in support by midday Friday

The Greater Victoria School District continues to face backlash over its wording and approach to Indigenous learners in its 2021-2022 budget talks. (Black Press Media file photo)
School district’s approach to Indigenous learners leaves Victoria teachers ‘disgusted’

Backlash grows over ‘pattern of colonial thinking permeating the leadership’

Commonwealth Place recreation centre was shut down before 8 a.m. on Friday following a power outage. (Saanich Parks, Recreation and Community Services/Twitter)
Saanich Commonwealth Place closed due to power outage, outdoor classes still running

Indoor classes, programs at pool and weight room halted

Royal Bay Secondary School students paint the crosswalk in front of their school in support of LGBTQ and marginalized members of the community (Royal Bay Secondary School photo)
Senior student leaves mark at Royal Bay Secondary School for LGBTQ+ students

Crosswalk at Colwood school painted in support of marginalized community members

An elderly man having a medical emergency in Mount Douglas Park on May 13 was rescued by firefighters and paramedics with the help of ATVs. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Rescue team uses ATVs to get man in medical distress out of Saanich park and to hospital

Cedarhill Road closed as firefighters, paramedics rescue man in Mount Douglas Park

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 11

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardener finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

A COVID-19 patient receives oxygen outside a hospital in Jammu, India, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP/Channi Anand)
B.C. donates $500K to Red Cross COVID-19 relief efforts in India

The money will provide oxygen cylinders and ambulances for patients in communities grappling with the virus

Superintendent Aaron Paradis, community services officer with the Surrey RCMP, during a media availability about a recent drug bust in Port Coquitlam. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Police seize 13 million ‘potentially fatal doses’ of pure fentanyl at B.C. drug lab

The evidence was seized at large, illicit drug manufacturing site in Port Coquitlam

Most Read