This chapter features two educators. First, Dr. Nicole Bell describes the 4-Direction Education model as well as a Medicine Wheel and its origin. Next, Dean Smith describes a Medicine Wheel as a reflection wheel and its origins. Both educators offer applications to integrate Indigenous education into the classroom using a Medicine Wheel.
To see and print the diagrams introduced in Chapter 2 and referred to in future chapters, click here.
Dr. Leisa Desmoulins introduces chapter 2, which includes presentations of a Four Directions Education Model, Medicine Wheels, and considerations for integrating Indigenous content into classrooms.
The Four Directions Model for Indigenous Education
Dr. Nicole Bell describes the Four Directions Education Model and a Medicine Wheel. She highlights the gifts of the four directions of the Medicine Wheel and how teachers can engage all four aspects of being for learning. Nicole connects the Four Directions Education Model to inquiry-based learning and concludes with connections to Ontario curricula. Leisa summarizes key ideas and where to find more information on this topic.
Integrating Indigenous Content into the Classroom
Dean Smith highlights his work as an Indigenous education Consultant for the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board [KPRDSB]. He describes a Medicine Wheel as a reflection tool that supports a holistic cycle of learning. He acknowledges Elder Melody Crowe who guides his work.
In-Service Sessions to Prepare Teachers to Infuse Indigenous Content into their Classroom
Dean Smith recounts the pilot work he did with Indigenous Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and educators from three local First Nations, and consultants from the KPRDSB. They developed a course called Understanding Contemporary First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Voices. He highlights two of the seven principles of Indigenous education that guide educators at the KPRDSB. The first is the principle nothing about us without us, and the second is that Indigenous education values Indigenous ways of knowing as well as historical relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Leisa concludes this section with information about how to access the resources described in this section.
Integrating Indigenous Education into the Classroom: Challenges and Opportunities
Dean Smith discusses the decolonizing approach that has guided the KPRDSB. He cites Mi’kmaq scholar Dr. Marie Battiste and her two-pronged call for educators that take up Indigenous education to: 1) critique the historical and ongoing injustices against Indigenous peoples as sovereign peoples, and 2) rebel against a lack of imagination by activating caring and doing. He offers opportunities to integrate Indigenous education into the classroom and create a safe place for all students to learn.
Relationship-Building with Indigenous Communities
Dean Smith describes relationship-building and developing lesson plans between the KPRDSB, three First Nation communities, and the local Indigenous Friendship Centre. He highlights the benefits of integrating Indigenous pedagogies of storytelling and listening for all students and the student-led inquiry approach used when visitors come into the classroom and share. The process is linked to the NCCIE lesson plans.
Ministry of Education Expectations
Dean shares a story about revising the NBE (i.e., First Nations, Métis, and Inuit studies) course within the Board. He describes the initial fear of educators within the Board and concerns that the new Indigenous content would not meet the curriculum expectations. He calls for a balanced curriculum that includes Indigenous voices in all grades.
Using a Medicine Wheel in the Classroom
Dean Smith explains how a Medicine Wheel is an invitation for teachers to be reflective in their practice. It is a meta-cognitive opportunity that encourages self-reflection in a guided way and highlights Indigenous pedagogies. Each direction of the Medicine Wheel creates opportunities to take in new information through spirit, heart, emotions, and mind. Leisa concludes this section asking viewers about the similarities and differences between Dean’s reflection wheel and Nicole’s 4-Directions Education Model.
Next Steps for Educators
Leisa Desmoulins provides an introduction, followed by Dean Smith who describes the aim of KPRDSB to build useful and organized resources for educators. He invites educators to engage in their resources.
References for Chapter 2
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