Teaching Quality Standard

It is difficult to realize how close we have come to the erasure of Indigenous peoples in the lands called the United States and Canada. This is changing as Indigenous peoples are leading the struggles to protect Mother Earth.

There is also focus on Indigenous peoples as the remains of thousands of native children on the grounds of institutions of forced assimilation are found. The point of forced assimilation was the erasure of the children’s Indigenous identities and ways of living. The ultimate erasure was the death of a child.

The first step in healing is education. Education of all students. Education for ourselves. This comes at a time when powerful forces are determined to maintain this erasure of Indigenous peoples’ history and culture.

It is crucial for non-native people to learn this history, to know how this country developed, so we can all begin to heal. We can’t do that as long as we remain within the boundaries of whitewashed colonial stories. This is important context for dealing with rapidly evolving environmental chaos. Because a return to Indigenous practices and relationships with Mother Earth and all our relations is, I believe, the way to adapt to continuing, deepening collapse.

An earlier blog post was about anti-racism education in Iowa. https://landbackfriends.com/2021/09/15/unban-anti-racism-education-in-iowa/
The Great Plains Action Society youth organizers and experts across Iowa weigh in on white supremacy and the ban on Critical Race Theory. The bans on Critical Race Theory across the country are one of many examples of efforts to whitewash the truth.

The following story was just published:

PIERRE, S.D. — Facing bipartisan pressure and calls for her resignation by the South Dakota Education Equity Coalition, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem told the state Department of Education to postpone controversial changes to its social studies standards for up to one year to allow for more public input.

Tribes from across South Dakota voiced their ire last month after officials from Noem’s South Dakota Department of Education scrubbed more than a dozen Indigenous-centered learning objectives from the department’s new social studies standards before releasing the document to the public.

The American Indian leaders, educators and community members called the removal of the objectives “Native erasure.”

“Our children were stolen from us in past generation, forcefully assimilated or secretly buried in boarding schools under the ‘kill the Indian and save the Man’ ideologies, and it would seem that the task to erase them has not ended under Governor Kristi Noem’s administration and leadership,” Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier said in August.

Under Pressure, S.D. Gov. Noem Delays Social Studies Standards That Erase Native History by Levi Rickert, Native News Online, Sept 22, 2021

Following are two sections of the Alberta Teaching Standard that relate to First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.

Quality teaching occurs when the teacher’s ongoing analysis of the context, and the teacher’s decisions about which pedagogical knowledge and abilities to apply, result in optimum learning for all students.

The professional practice of all Alberta teachers is guided by the Teaching Quality Standard (TQS). This standard is the basis for certification of all Alberta teachers and holds them accountable to the profession and to the Minister of Education.

Establishing Inclusive Learning Environments

A teacher establishes, promotes and sustains inclusive learning environments where diversity is embraced and every student is welcomed, cared for, respected and safe.

Achievement of this competency is demonstrated by indicators such as:

a. fostering equality and respect with regard to rights as provided for in the Alberta Human Rights Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
b. using appropriate universal and targeted strategies and supports to address students’ strengths, learning challenges and areas for growth;
c. communicating a philosophy of education affirming that every student can learn and be successful;
d. being aware of and facilitating responses to the emotional and mental health needs of students;
e. recognizing and responding to specific learning needs of individual or small groups of students and, when needed, collaborating with service providers and other specialists to design and provide targeted and specialized supports to enable achievement of the learning outcomes;
f. employing classroom management strategies that promote positive, engaging learning environments;
g. incorporating students’ personal and cultural strengths into teaching and learning; and
h. providing opportunities for student leadership

Applying Foundational Knowledge about First Nations, Métis and Inuit

A teacher demonstrates an understanding of and adherence to the legal frameworks and policies that provide the foundations for the Alberta education system.

Achievement of this competency is demonstrated by indicators such as:

a. understanding the historical, social, economic and political implications of:
• treaties and agreements with First Nations;
• legislation and agreements negotiated with Métis; and
• residential schools and their legacy;
b. supporting student achievement by engaging in collaborative, whole school approaches to capacity building in First Nations, Métis and Inuit education;
c. using the programs of study to provide opportunities for all students to develop a knowledge and understanding of, and respect for, the histories, cultures, languages, contributions, perspectives, experiences and contemporary contexts of First Nations, Métis and Inuit; and
d. supporting the learning experiences of all students by using resources that accurately reflect and demonstrate the strength and diversity of First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

Alberta Teaching Standard

For its part, NABSHC—an organization that has been at the helm of increasing public awareness on boarding schools since its founding nearly a decade ago—in 2020 released its first ever Truth and Healing Curriculum. The curriculum, available for free online, is made up of four lessons on Indian Boarding Schools focusing on history, impacts, stories, and healing.

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