March 25: Enrichment Day

5 Keys Points from the recent Enrichment Day

1. Establishing A Rapport With Aboriginal Learners Is Essential:

The key to establishing a strong rapport with Aboriginal learners is building trust. By providing CONSTANT feedback early in and throughout the semester, you are building confidence academically. Simple messages like ‘You are on track’ or ‘You are adjusting well to college’ go along way in creating trust and in motivating the student. This verbal feedback will create a personal connection with the student. Eventually, an Aboriginal learner will be comfortable enough to ask for help, to answer questions, and to participate in class discussions. Also, they will want to share their experiences with the rest of the class. With many Aboriginal students facing substantial culture shock from moving away from their community, relocating in order to go to school, and feeling isolated from their support system, an early connection in the classroom is particularly important in making a difference to the learner’s success.

2. More Evaluation Is Better:

By evaluating early and often in a course, faculty build up their ability to generate an open relationship vital to Aboriginal learners. When faculty members create this one-on-one situation, they not only gain additional opportunities to communicate learning expectations, but also they support the emotional and mental well-being of their Aboriginal students. By communicating expectations frequently, faculty can guide students to their learning expectations and help Aboriginal learners understand what is expected of them. Evaluation events may be a question or two from the textbook or something provided in the class, with the number of questions being less significant than the opportunity itself for providing individual feedback. Finally, this process gives faculty members the ability to direct students to get help should they find that students are struggling.

3. Curriculum That Is Relevant And Meaningful To The Aboriginal Student:

Since a major motivating force with our Aboriginal learners is a desire to return home in order to work for the benefit of their own community and people, faculty need to connect the course curriculum to an Aboriginal learner’s own community. When learners see the relevance between course curriculum and how that curriculum connects to their ability to give something back to their communities, Aboriginal learners become more fully engaged in their studies. They understand that they need that knowledge in order to support their people, their community, and their families, which can sustain them during the year.

4. Aboriginal Leaders Are Telling Their People That They Need An Education:

In facing today’s challenges and community development issues, First Nation leaders have identified education as vital for their people. Their message is that young people can serve their communities effectively by gaining the knowledge to fulfill vital roles in the community. By doing so, these young people will have a positive impact on community, family, and children, thereby making a strong contribution to the overall well-being of their community and their people.

5. Aboriginal Learners Make Decisions With The Heart:

Many Aboriginal learners make decisions with their hearts, where consequences of that decision are not carefully considered in relation to classroom expectations. Instead, decision-making criteria are founded in and central to the Aboriginal learner’s value system, which is grounded in family need, sense of responsibility to community, and a tradition of respecting and honouring culture (spring goose hunt) or those who pass away (funeral service). In making decisions in this way, the holistic well-being of individuals is maintained, giving Aboriginal learners the ability to persevere with their studies