On March 19th 2016, I attended a PD event hosted by UR STARS where the focus was around incorporating Treaty Education into English Language Arts. Chauntel Baudu who is knowledgeable and practices Treaty Ed into her classes. Baudu puts a lot of empathizes on not doing treaty ed periodically, and not thinking of it as a check list but think of treaty ed as just teaching. The more you teach treaty ed the stronger you will get at it, the easier it will be. Being able to fully teach treaty ed comes down to the modeling of a classroom. Treaty ed is not only content based but about how we teach it. The first strategy Baudu provided was to use the background of indigenous methodologies;
- connect to everything around us
- benefit the community
- know that transformation will be one of the outcomes
- principles of relationality, responsibility, reciprocity, and respect
The bnjest way to teach treaty ed is to incorporate the world views, and traditional teachings of indigenous people. Treading together multiple values and strategies allows for anti-oppressive education to be translated into treaty ed. Some of the strategies could be teaching languages, naming of the issues, critical literacy skills, reflection, autobiography, learning historical truths and present day realities, all of these strategies can be used to help students develop an understanding of anti-oppressive education.
Baudu provided other ideas for teaching about social justice issues;
- name the issues before you discuss and teach about them, this will allow for a better understanding of your students
- teach students the terms that you are using, use the terms naturally and constantly. There is no point in having student memorize the terms if they do not know how to use them.
- provide counter-stories, what voices are found in the stories, what voices are not heard; bring in the voices that are not heard
- start small, change does not happen over night, start with a small action and expand it
- build relationships with those that don’t always agree with you-this will help both sides, the teacher will be able to understand why the students are having different opinions, and the student may be more willing to think about what you are saying.
- don’t sensor important information, use grade appropriate language.
Teaching social justice, in particular Treaty ed is challenging; however, ELA provides ample opportunity because their is no determined units, or themes that need to be followed. The structure of the ELA curriculum provides teachers with the opportunity to expand on social justices issues in a natural and meaningful way.