Working on Relationships: Exploring the Fundamental Issues Surrounding Aboriginal Education

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Power, Jennifer
Aboriginal Education
During my research to find real solutions for Aboriginal student success, I have come to understand that there is an overall, encompassing factor, which is fundamental in Aboriginal education, i.e. the importance of relationships. Through a process of qualitative study, I have reviewed literature and studied reports and case studies on successful Aboriginal schools, examined other models of education, and reviewed Aboriginal perspectives in education. Through this process, I explore the concept of relationships in regards to Indigenous education and how those relationships possess key components in finding solutions for Aboriginal student success. The relationships that I examine in this report are: Aboriginal peoples and Canada, the self, school, leadership, teachers, and parents and community. Embedded in each one of these relationships lies solutions for Aboriginal student success. Working on the relationship of Aboriginal Peoples and Canada starts with education. Education is key in promoting understanding and initiating change. Governance and Leadership is the success factor that was found most often by researchers in case studies of successful Aboriginal schools. The positive relationships between the physical, emotional/mental, intellectual and spiritual realms of the Self is a recommended concentration in Aboriginal education. Research shows that the relationships that exist within the School have a fundamental influence on the overall climate and the success of students within the school. The Teacher-student relationship is a central and most influential one in the school, one that could heed or hinder a child’s learning, therefore teacher education and recruitment programs should be examined in order to reflect on their role in the transformation of Aboriginal education. The relationship of Parents and Community in education should be considered as a key resource in Aboriginal education. It is a time for change in Aboriginal education as more and more Canadians are becoming aware of the mistakes of our past, being educated on the current concerns, and recognizing the importance of this issue. Considering that the Aboriginal population is the fastest growing demographic in Canada, it is clearly an area of concern that not only impacts the Canadian Aboriginal population but impacts the Canadian population as a whole.
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