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Strategies for Success for Aboriginal Students

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Strategies for success for aboriginal students.

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Strategies for Success for Aboriginal Students

  1. 1. With other Abilities
  2. 2. • Joanne Brown - Coordinator, Aboriginal Services Team
  3. 3. As aside to begin need to realize that there are differing definitions of success The registrar at our institutions define success as the achievement of a certificate, diploma or degree For the Aboriginal student success might mean something entirely different • Being the first person in their family to attend post secondary • Returning home with some new skills • Surviving in a strange environment and returning to the community with new experiences
  4. 4. • These success need to be documented in some way and made clear to the student • When this happens there is always the option to return and to continue on their path
  5. 5. • In the west most of us grew up in a nuclear family – parents living with their biological children • The Aboriginal family is all of the persons united by ancestry, marriage or adoption, living together to survive
  6. 6. • Members rely on each other • The focus is on what we can do together • Supports Strength Unity
  7. 7. • There are common cultural threads running through many Aboriginal cultures • Life and worldview is a holistic image • Learning takes place across spheres of spiritual, physical, emotional and mental dimensions • Past, Present and Future may also be connected
  8. 8. • Cultural Awareness – being aware of and acknowledging the differences in both the visible and invisible aspects of culture • Cultural Sensitivity – behaviors such as choice of words and distance
  9. 9. • In the Aboriginal community members are recognized for who they are and their gifts to the community • The concept of “disability” is foreign to their way of thinking • Many students do not recognize that they have a “dis”ability as it is not something that their families and community have ever remarked upon or considered important
  10. 10. • Pro’s • Does not affect their self esteem • See themselves as equal members of any community • Con’s • May not be able to effectively self advocate • Not aware of or connecting to available services
  11. 11. Aboriginal The heart • Repetition • Symbols • Ceremony Western The mind • Logic • Sequence • Definitions
  12. 12. Aboriginal • Happens together Western • Individual • Required individual effort and work
  13. 13. • Holistic • Observational • Experiential • Based on community and community resources
  14. 14. • Absenteeism • Discomfort in school setting • Reserved personalities – may be expressing their cultural comfort with silence. (learn a lot through observation)
  15. 15. • Recognize Aboriginal ‘ways of learning’ • Avoid singling out Aboriginal students • Observe student attendance • Incorporate healthy and positive messages about cultural identity • If you combine traditions or teachings in your curriculum be clear where they came from. It is disrespectful to mix them into one mythical “pan-Aboriginal” cultural tradition
  16. 16. Aboriginal students participate and succeed in an inclusive, relevant and effective setting. 1. Leadership Development 2. Community Building 3. Mentoring 4. Student Success Strategies 5. Support
  17. 17. • Many Aboriginal students return to their own community and become leaders • Decision making is by consensus and not top down • Leadership looks different for every individual and every community
  18. 18. • The Cplul’kw’ten (Gathering House) at TRU fosters a learning community within the student body • In community members rely on each other and focus on what they can do together • Support the strength and unity of the community
  19. 19. • TRU has a mentorship program for Aboriginal students, many “mentees” become mentors • Steps for successful mentorship • Taking the time to understand their unique story and in the process sharing your story • Making a connection and the development of trust – takes time • Finding commonalities – doing things together • Being together to create hope (goal) • Modelling
  20. 20. Orientation to the University Community and the Kamloops community • Transition Planner – on campus (funding, courses, housing , daycare, back to basics • Life Skills Coach – really the wider community resources person Events to support an Aboriginal student • Sekusent – orientation • First Friends Feast • Wednesday – circle and lunch • Elders • Pow wow • Round Dance
  21. 21. • The concept here is to “walk with” the student not to help or assist • Not helping but supporting • Need to be mindful of our language Example: do a few questions together, not just show them how Teach by example Storytelling – ask for their stories

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