The role of self-reflective practices in an 'Aboriginal Education' course in teacher education
Doctor of Philosophy
SubjectCulturally responsive teaching
Indigenous education in teacher education programs
Indigenous education courses
MetadataShow full item record
This study explores teacher candidates’ and course instructors’ experiences and perspectives of a mandatory Aboriginal Education course at Lakehead University’s teacher education program. The study utilizes a mixed methods approach that combined a qualitative study that integrates tenets of arts-informed inquiry with a quantitative survey. The purpose of this study was to examine how self-reflective practices are used in helping teacher candidates increase awareness of their own beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions about Indigenous histories, cultures, and perspectives in a mandatory Aboriginal Education course. It also explores what five course instructors describe as effective instructional strategies or practices, and the impact of a mandatory course on teacher candidates’ knowledge of, interest in, and attitudes towards, Indigenous Education. Data were collected from multiple methods and procedures (i.e., 5-point Likert scale survey, open-ended questionnaire, one-on-one interviews, student assignments, and reflective journal), and multiple sources (i.e., teacher candidates, course instructors, and author’s participant as observer role). Findings are presented in three research articles prepared for academic journals. Following the research articles is a discussion of data not addressed in the articles. Article 1 discusses the purpose and impact of self-reflective practices from teacher candidates’ perspectives, including as a method for self-evaluation, a method for creating a personal connection to course theory, or a method for developing a culturally inclusive pedagogy. In Article 2, five course instructors describe instructional strategies and assignments that they perceived to be most effective for the mandatory Aboriginal Education course in Lakehead University’s teacher education program. Although each instructor had their own particular approach to the course, themes of story, land, art, and reflection emerged from their examples and are discussed. Article 3 explores teacher candidates’ knowledge of, interest in, and attitudes towards the mandatory Aboriginal Education course from teacher candidates’ and course instructors’ perspectives. While many teacher candidates indicate that they felt knowledgeable by the end of the course, course instructors caution that the knowledge and skills taught in the course are limited with more needed as teachers enter their professional career. The dissertation concludes with recommendations about reflective practices in an Indigenous Education course, the integration of Indigenous Education courses in initial teacher education and professional development, and future research possibilities that may extend the findings that emerged from the current study.