Indigenous Voices in the Classroom (IVC)

NOTE: The courseware for this project will be launched in June 2020.

Indigenous Voices in the Classroom (IVC)

Bringing Canada’s Indigenous peoples into the LINC classroom

With the Indigenous Voices in the Classroom (IVC) project, TIES, in partnership with Centre for Newcomers (CFN), aims to address the historic prejudice and discrimination that has silenced Indigenous people in every region of Canada and alienated our indigenous and non-indigenous communities.

Building on the knowledge and experience shared by indigenous elders and community members from across southern Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia, TIES and CFN have created comprehensive lesson plans for CLB 4 learners in the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program. This curriculum was piloted in LINC classrooms at TIES and CFN in August 2019.

With the advent of residential schools, indigenous ways of being, knowing, speaking, and sharing were systematically erased in the classroom. While strides have been made in recent years to bring indigenous voices back to the table, indigenous Canadians still endure the silencing and the stigma that those racist views inflicted, and are not considered equal partners in Confederation.

This historic alienation has resulted in a lack of healthy vocabulary around indigenous people and traditions, and many non-indigenous teachers lack the confidence to address Canada’s historic atrocities in the classroom, often avoiding the issue completely. As such, when newcomers arrive in Canada, unless they are exposed to sensitive, culturally aware instructors who prioritize bringing indigenous voices into their classroom, they risk total ignorance of their new country’s original inhabitants for lack of opportunities to interact with those communities or learn about them. This risks their indoctrination into the well-worn prejudice that so many Canadians share.

By bringing indigenous voices and faces into the LINC classroom, indigenous stories and storytellers become tangible and real and shed the stigma of being the faceless “other.” By learning from real people and their stories, newcomers can build knowledge and insight into the successes and challenges that these communities face today. When these relationships are built, teachers and administrators are empowered to introduce indigenous history and culture to newcomer classrooms with more frequency, insight, and sensitivity. Newcomers are encouraged to build relationships with indigenous communities and can avoid the traditional societal prejudice affecting Canadian society today.

To reach these goals, project curriculum developers from TIES and CFN worked together with indigenous elders and community members from across southern Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. As these community members shared their stories and knowledge with the project, over 200 pages of CLB 4-appropriate lesson plans for LINC and ESL learners were developed. The curriculum will be available for download by all interested parties in June 2020.

Project Contacts:

Whitney Loewen, IVIC Project Manager
The Immigrant Education Society
Ph: 403-291-0002 ex. 321
E: whitneyloewen@immigrant-education.ca

Suzanne Clavelle, Lead Curriculum Developer
The Immigrant Education Society
E: suzanne.clavelle@gmail.com

Lesley Trussler, Co-Curriculum Developer
Centre for Newcomers
E: l.trussler@centrefornewcomers.ca

In partnership with:

Funding provided by:

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