All benefit when we learn from and with one another through Collaborative Inquiry
This is the second year that the Algoma District School Board has been part of the Ministry of Education First Nation Métis and Inuit (FNMI) Collaborative Inquiry. It began with the question: What would the impact of strengthening our First Nation, Métis and Inuit partnerships and hearing and acting on FNMI student voices have on student well-being and achievement?
A video was produced to showcase the learning journey to date and included participation from nine ADSB schools, eight First Nation Communities and the Métis Nation of Ontario. Students, teachers, school administrators, First Nation partners, parents and Aboriginal support workers shared their thoughts and experiences as they related to FNMI Collaborative Inquiry. Participants all spoke about how the Collaborative Inquiry has engaged students, supported student and teacher learning, and enhanced relationships between students, teachers, First Nation partners, First Nation communities and our Métis partners.
Teachers spoke of the wealth of resources that are shared through FNMI partners. Traditional teachings and sharing circles have been introduced at their schools through these partnerships and field trips to First Nation communities and healing lodges have greatly enhanced the learning experience for them and their students. Traditional Student Mentors (known as Aboriginal Student Support Workers in some schools) have helped to develop historical resources for use in schools. They also help introduce teachers and students to service providers in the community who can support teachers and students.
For our First Nation partners and parents, they are seeing teachers going out into the community to share and network with First Nation parents and communities. Attending community events has helped to enhance relationships and is “breaking down barriers” according to one FNMI partner.
Participants also shared how pleased they are with how Collaborative Inquiry allows the student voice to be heard. At several schools, instead of planning events for FNMI students they have begun planning events with students. FNMI students are at the planning table and are being heard in terms of what is important to them, what they feel may be lacking at their schools and what they need most in order to learn. For instance students have suggested a greater use of outdoor spaces at their schools, an increase in number of ceremonies and hunting and fishing trips to make better use of our natural resources.
Two students from White Pines were thanked for their involvement. Mikayla Huckerby who created the video and Halie Makinson who designed two posters that captured the work done in the Collaborative Inquiry process are pictured with White Pines Principal Joey Turco, their teacher Frank Calvano (centre), ADSB's Aboriginal Lead Carol Trudeau and Superintendent Kime Collver.