Building bridges in indigenizing education: digital narratives as a means of shifting non-Indigenous teacher horizons towards relationality
Disconnect between Indigenous & Western worldviews
Digital technologies & Indigenous student voice
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This thesis was developed in response to the pressing need to find methods for non-Indigenous teachers to actively teach for Indigenous student resilience, and to center Indigenous students and their families in an education system which consistently marginalizes and silences them (Canadian Council on Learning 2009; Dion, 2009). Digital narratives are explored as a means to address this need. Through the use of teacher research and photovoice I answer two research questions: How can non-Indigenous teachers use multimedia expression to shift their horizons in order to better understand and support the resilient identities and academic potential of Indigenous youth? And, what can these youth teach these educators about Indigenous identity and self-determination in school and Canadian society? Analysis of a variety of data sources, which included in-service and pre-service teacher interviews, autoethnographic journals, and Indigenous students’ digital narratives (iMovies), revealed six thematic ways in which students’ digital narratives, and the process of creating them, shifted teachers towards a more relational stance with their students and centered student voice in the classroom. In theorizing the outcomes of this study I interpret these themes as bridges. These pathways facilitate dialogue and encourage relationship to be built between Indigenous students and non-Indigenous. These bridges include 1) intrinsically valuing technology as a teaching tool, 2) reciprocation and authentic relationship, 3) collaboration, 4) student self–representation, 5) student demonstration of knowledge, and, 6) record of student strengths. The findings of this thesis provide a rich example of how digital narratives can be used in the classroom to move towards an indigenized approach in education, support Indigenous students’ self-determination in schools and encourage relationality, a stance of acknowledging and moving towards better relations by recognizing a shard humanity and future (Donald, 2012), between settler-Canadian teachers and Indigenous students.
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