Inclusion of Indigenous Education: Examining Pre-service Teachers' Knowledge and Attitudes Towards the Integration of Indigenous Education

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Peters, Kaitlind
Indigenous Education , Pre-service Teachers , Teacher Development
Teacher apprehension towards integrating Indigenous perspectives into the general classroom curriculum is an issue that should become a priority in Ontario Faculties of Education. Teachers’ attitudes and perceptions towards Indigenous education can impact instructional judgments and pedagogical decisions, which influence the learning opportunities afforded to Indigenous and non-Indigenous students (Riley & Ungerleider, 2012; Pajares, 1992; Cantu, 2001). The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action Report outlines the necessity to improve the quality of teacher knowledge, understanding, delivery and integration of Indigenous content (2015). The purpose of this study is to explore pre-service teachers’ knowledge of Indigenous education and their attitudes towards including Indigenous perspectives in the general classroom, prior to and after completing a mandatory introduction to Aboriginal studies course. The purpose was informed by two research questions: 1) What baseline knowledge and attitudes toward Indigenous curriculum integration are pre-service teachers entering and leaving the Faculty of Education with? 2) Does coursework adequately prepare pre-service teachers to confidently integrate Indigenous content into the general classroom? A mixed-method study was conducted using a sequential explanatory design, examining 117 pre-service teachers from Queen’s University, Canada. Pre-course and post-course data was collected through surveys and in-depth individual interviews. Survey data analysis indicated differences from pre-course (time 1) to post-course (time 2). Additionally, eighteen individual interviews were conducted. Overall, pre-service teachers had positive attitudes towards integrating Indigenous perspectives into the general classroom but lacked content knowledge and believed that their weakness in preparation to integrate Indigenous Education into the general classroom was due to their teacher education program design. Findings of this study will be of interest to Faculties of Education, policy makers and teacher educators.
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