The Dos and Don’ts of Daily Practice
Social Studies Summer Institute – Aboriginal Perspectives
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Amiskwaciy Academy – Edmonton, Alberta
Session participants will:
• hear about cultural infusion;
• reflect upon the importance of Aboriginal
perspectives in the Social Studies curriculum; and
• hear, talk and reflect upon the “dos and don’ts” of
infusing Aboriginal perspectives in the social studies
Cultural Infusion (of multiple perspectives) is:
• congruent with the Alberta programs of study
• comfortable with complexity, with “this AND that”
• an attitude, an awareness
• a permeation, rather than an add-on or drop-in piece
~ Our Words, Our Ways (2005:54)
At your tables, please take a moment to
reflect openly upon the importance of First
Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) perspectives
in the Social Studies program.
As a group, please prepare to share ONE
reason why this work requires our attention as
Social Studies and
Aboriginal Perspectives and Experiences
For historical and constitutional reasons, an
understanding of Canada requires an
•of Aboriginal perspectives
•of Aboriginal experiences
•that Aboriginal students have particular needs
~ Social Studies (K-12) (2005:4)
The Dos and Don’ts of Aboriginal
Perspectives in the Social Studies Classroom
1. Don’t avoid controversy.
“If it matters, it produces controversy”. (Jay Greene)
Teaching Controversial Issues (Four-Step Classroom Strategy)
Teaching Controversial Issues (Teacher Guide)
Take a Stand (Student Activity)
2. Don’t deny the existence of a
The hidden curriculum refers to “the
collection of unstated and/or normalized
assumptions and attitudes [of teachers]
that influence the school environment.”
“It is what teachers think, what teachers
believe, and what teachers do at the
level of the classroom that ultimately
shapes the kind of learning that young
people get.” (Andy Hargreaves &
On a blank piece of paper, answer the following question:
What are my personal beliefs about having to teach Aboriginal
perspectives in my classroom?
Dig a little deeper…
Self-test your unconscious levels of prejudice.
Teacher Perspectives Inventory
3. Don’t teach about Aboriginal peoples.
Teaching for understanding Aboriginal issues will
assist students in arriving at a deeper and
articulated understanding of Canadian and global
What I Learned in Class Today: Aboriginal Issues in the
Assembly of First Nations http://www.afn.ca/
Métis Nation http://www.metisnation.ca/
National Inuit Organization http://www.itk.ca/
• Remember that Aboriginal history is Canadian history.
• Educate yourself on FNMI issues prior to teaching them.
• Speak of Aboriginal peoples as a living, breathing community.
• Connect the past to the present.
• Homogenize Aboriginal peoples in Canada.
• Single out the Aboriginal students.
• Assume that every Aboriginal person knows everything that there
is to know about every FNMI Nation.
• Use books and other resources that show Aboriginal people as
savages, primitive, craftspeople, or simple tribal people.
• Rely on arts and crafts activities (culturalism) that trivialize
Aboriginal dress, dance and ceremony.
• Ignore the value of your local Aboriginal community.
1. Teaching in Mind: How Teacher Thinking Shapes Education (Judith Lloyd Yero)
2. Education is our Buffalo (ATA)
3. Our Words, Our Ways (Alberta Education)
4. The Truth about Stories (Thomas King)
5. The Dispossessed (Geoffrey York)
6. Teaching for Understanding First Nations Issues (Jeff Orr) in Challenges and Prospects
for Canadian Social Studies (Alan Sears & Ian Wright Eds.) (Out of Print – check local
library or SS Consultant)
7. A guide to Aboriginal Organizations in Alberta