Indigenous Culture-Based Education
Great achievements are attained when diverse abilities, interests, and strengths are understood and supported by cultural practices. Culture refers to practices, information, and meanings playing a central role in interpreting and characterizing diversity. Diversity ought to be valued as it is vital for the development of a strong sense of belonging and identity. Effective members of the community should also develop a sense of wellbeing. Consequently, they can be effective and confident communicators. More so, principles of equity and diversity should also recognize national and international professional practices within the learning process. The principles ought to cover a broad range of ideas actively addressing issues of cultural-based learning (Aikenhead, & Ogawa, 2007). The essay, therefore, will focus on indigenous culture-based education while discussing personal experiences. It will also discuss how the Anishinaabe people embrace culture learning and the methods utilized.
Indigenous Culture-based education
Indigenous people strive to fill an educational gap as they face challenges accessing indigenous knowledge and skills in curriculum plans. Indigenous educators are encouraged to promote healthy cross-cultural sharing practices. They ought to identify indigenous peoples’ needs that should be addressed to seize the explicit learning opportunities provided to their non-indigenous counterparts. The worldview indigenous people as a community connected to the environment. Indigenous learners also present the need to learn about the state of the planet (Davis, & Grose, 2008). As a result, land-based programs should be developed to serve the dual purpose of learning about indigenous culture and instill ecological consciousness. The learning and development framework ought to recognize communities include children and adults. The communities also embrace diverse cultures thus, playing a fundamental role in the children’s learning and development process (Dreise, 2004). The framework should, therefore, recognize and respect indigenous cultures. The unique places of indigenous people should also be addressed as a valued part of the indigenous cultural heritage and future.
As a child, I strived to develop a sense of identity and belonging as we moved around a lot due to my parents’ careers. My parents also encouraged me to be strong and confident to avoid being intimidated after settling in new environmental settings. Eventually, I developed into a confident communicator. I would express myself clearly and effectively. More so, I learned that expressing my feelings helped in avoiding bullying especially in school as new students are often targeted especially if their origin involves unique cultural practices. Being a mixed child, as my parents do not share a common origin, I would feel out of place. For example, I would not identify myself as either an American or Asian. As a result, I would attract other students’ attentions when introducing myself as I could express myself as an American yet I looked like an Asian. High self-esteem and confidence enabled me to answer their curious questions without feeling intimidated. Some students would discuss my background in a stereotyped manner. They, however, did not bother me as my parents had assured me that my background should not be used against me. More so, they often stated that my mixed racial background affirmed I was unique. I attended several countries in diverse continents. Consequently, I learned that ways of attaining an identity or being involve knowing and doing how to act according to the cultural practices of the community. Thus, my early learning experiences set me up for academic success and personal wellbeing in life. More so, the schools I attended included educators addressing issues of inequality to promote the value of diversity.
Educators and professionals should identify and respond to indigenous learners’ individual needs, interests, and abilities at different stages in life. This would help indigenous learners to reach their full potential. For example, the educators should address barriers hindering indigenous people from learning and developing in unique environments. The professionals should support and enhance equitable learning and development outcomes. Forming strong and respectful partnerships between indigenous people and educators is also vital as the families and communities can collaborate and provide the best support for indigenous culture-based education to be accessed (Aikenhead, & Ogawa, 2007). For example, children’s early years should be utilized to ensure they develop their first language. Consequently, they can develop a cultural identity enhancing a sense of belonging. The sense of place and connection to the environment is vital among children and adults. Educators providing indigenous people with culture-based education, therefore, should ensure the peoples’ attitudes toward diversity enhance their self-esteem and wellbeing by identifying and removing barriers to inclusion and equity.
How People Define and Learn Values, Beliefs, Practices, Experiences and Language
Values, knowledge, beliefs, practices, experiences, and language define people. They also determine how people learn. Early childhood professionals affirm that children’s personal experiences with family can shape their development process and influence how they relate with people. For example, children who experience pain and suffering inflicted by family and friends during the early development years can develop to be adults with low-esteem and distrusting (Hatcher, & Bartlett, 2009). As a result, children’s personal and cultural backgrounds and histories should not be used against them. Instead, they should be embraced and applied in shaping the children’s learning and development respectfully. Children and adults should also embrace their cultural heritage they can provide the best support, experiences, and opportunities. Supporting indigenous peoples’ evolving capacities to learn from birth is, therefore, vital. More so, indigenous peoples’ interests, values, and needs should be understood, respected, and valued (Aikenhead, & Ogawa, 2007).
Focused support and intervention is also crucial as it improves indigenous peoples’ personal, social, family, and cultural beliefs. Recognizing bilingual and multilingual people as assets is important. Consequently, children and adults can appreciate their first language and strive to learn another language including English. Cultural awareness involves identifying, respecting, and valuing the norms, beliefs, languages, and practices (Hatcher, & Bartlett, 2009). Eventually, people can learn ways of knowing and being. More so, adults can develop a sense of identity and belonging and assist children to develop a sense of place and connection. Ways of knowing and being encourage people to be active participants in influencing qualities of life presently and in the future generations sustainably.
Educators’ attitudes, practices, and beliefs are often examined and compared among schools and countries. The results highlight factors related to student outcomes. Effective learning and student outcomes involve close monitoring and efficient classroom management and clarity of presentation. Lessons should be well structured to pass information and encourage learners to provide feedback for positive impacts on student achievements. Students’ goals and motivations should also be taken into account for learning opportunities to recognize learner’s outcomes (Hatcher, & Bartlett, 2009). Thus, the dimensions of instructional quality should be clear as well as well managed and structured to activate individual’s cognitive abilities and skills. Consequently, the learners can embrace higher order thinking and demanding tasks. Professional competence also depends on educators’ knowledge and actual practices in gaining understanding of certain beliefs, values, and practices. As a result, culture-based educators should be examined to determine how they relate to characteristics of student and classrooms.
For example, beliefs and practices between male and female teachers can differ in attempts to gain gender control. The impact on students and classroom settings can be witnessed in the attitude of professional factors including career training and development and length of tenure. Consequently, peoples’ beliefs, practices, and participation in cultural-based activities can change (Hatcher, & Bartlett, 2009). As a result, good instruction depending on teachers’ backgrounds, attitudes, and beliefs is responsive in peoples’ experiences and values. Peoples’ social and language backgrounds, achievements and interactions can also be applied to provide structured instructions on cultural values and experiences. Intellectual abilities of the people, however, determine how the instructions are adapted among the individuals.
Indigenous Culture Learning
Indigenous culture learning means increasing awareness of his aboriginal histories and heritage. Indigenous culture learning ensures future generations recognize, understand, and appreciate the value and importance of preserving ethos of the community. For example, the Anishinaabe people embrace culture learning to gain knowledge about their environment. The people also rely on indigenous culture learning to identify appropriate ways of utilizing the available resources to maintain the distinct cultural identities of the community in an increasingly globalized world. Indigenous cultural learning does not necessarily rely on academics and educational situations as cultural communities are best equipped to provide the knowledge required (Aikenhead, & Ogawa, 2007).
On a personal level, indigenous culture learning involves visiting my grandparents to learn about my family history. For example, I once visited my paternal grandparents to assist in completing my family tree. They explained that their parents migrated from Asia to the United States. Their parents believed that the United States would provide the family with diverse social, economic, and political opportunities. They also believed that the children would access institutions providing quality education. As a result, they gathered long-term assets, sold them to acquire financial resources to migrate to the United States and help them settle. The financial resources were also used to sustain the family by paying housing bills and buying foods before their parents gained employment.
Eventually, the parents were employed and began to appreciate the immense opportunities in the country. My grandparents, however, insisted that their parents were keen to ensure they did not abandon their cultural heritage. As a result, the children were required to attend extra classes to learn their native language and improve their skills in writing and speaking the English language. My personal experience, therefore, can affirm that professionals do not provide indigenous culture learning. Instead, people equipped with indigenous knowledge on natural and social sciences should be allowed to take control in their communities and employ diverse methods meeting the local needs of learners.
Indigenous Cultural Learning
The Anishinaabe develop a personal connection to the environment and awareness of indigenous culture. Educators, therefore, are required to provide learners with skillful, knowledgeable, and motivational elements. The elements are vital as they facilitate transmission of environmental consciousness to the students. An inclusive learning space should also be established to teach to and about the indigenous culture to the Anishinaabe people. An intensive evaluation process such as a daily journal entry or questionnaire is vital. It indicates the learning experience of the Anishinaabe people and how the areas they enjoy learning from the land about indigenous culture. Connections made on multiple levels between the Anishinaabe and the environment within the learning group embrace teaching practices. The practices also embrace the indigenous culture of Anishinaabe people (Kinew, 1998). The educators are prepared to teach indigenous cultures. They, however, are encouraged to feel connected with the local Anishinaabe culture and the environment to acquire skills enabling them to teach in an engaging and respectful manner.
In pre-colonial times, the learning process for indigenous people was different from educational systems in Western communities. For example, there were no formal schools as learning was considered as a life-long process embodies and embedded in individuals and principles of sharing respectively. The physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual learning was rooted in personal experiences. Anishinaabe people work together in generating and transmitting existing and new knowledge. The people also use diverse methods of teaching and transmitting knowledge to young people as they embrace learning by doing, dreaming, and storytelling. Ceremonies during which they sing, dance, pray, and experiment while embracing apprenticeship are also utilized to teach and transmit knowledge. Thus, indigenous people share various fundamental beliefs. Conversely, the Anishinaabe culture is diverse ensuring the learning process addresses physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual dimensions (Kinew, 1998).
Learning by Doing
Learning by doing is based on the notion that experience is a fundamental principle. As a result, the Anishinaabe people’s spiritual realm controls the process of distributing knowledge. Anishinaabe rely on children, animals, and plants to teach. They also rely on spiritual entities to disseminate knowledge. For example, they believe that plants and animals tell them when and where they grow as well as where and how they multiply. The anchor soil enables plants to provide animals with food. Subsequently, the plants and animals grow in harmony. Spiritual entities also emphasize that the Anishinaabe people cannot survive without food despite being caring and embracing the spirit of sharing. They claim that Anishinaabe watch animals and plants to teach them to respect, care, and share the environment. Consequently, the environment teaches them to be compassionate and develop a connection with all living things (Simpson, 2011).
Learning by Storytelling
Storytelling as a teaching and learning process for Anishinaabe focuses on the importance of cultural understanding. As a result, they pay close attention to the elders’ ways of living as a resource to contribute, explain, illustrate, and supplement cultural processes. The stories are told to transfer knowledge and help children and outsiders understand, respect, and appreciate the cultural principles and values of the Anishinaabe people. Thus, stories are key components of passing knowledge. The Anishinaabe people also rely on storytelling to view the world and provide a lens to see the past and the context interpreted to predict the future (Simpson, 2011).
Learning through Dreams
The Anishinaabe believe that dreaming is a spiritual way of distributing knowledge. The community believes that physical and envisioned worlds are one or equally real. As a result, they emphasize that dreams enable them control their actions and experience the world. They share and interpret the dreams as they make decisions about their day-to-day activities through a process known as ‘ando pawachige n.’ The process means seeking, living, and understanding a dream and moving forward with it (Simpson, 2011).
Learning through Ceremonies
Ceremonies are utilized as sources of knowledge, support, and guidance that are passed down from ancestors. Depending on the community and culture, the Anishinaabe people determine the ceremonies and spiritual leaders acting as mediums from spiritual realms are practiced to communicate and pass knowledge. According to Leanne Simpson (2011), Maude Kegg was a storyteller among the Anishinaabe. Maude relied on ceremonies to show how spiritually derived knowledge ought to be integrated among the peoples’ consciousness prompting them to follow traditional ways. Maude would often claim that spiritual knowledge and powers are the foundations of familiarity to cultural contexts, contents, and practices. Indigenous knowledge that is spiritual in nature ensures the Anishinaabe people to rely on ceremonies involving traditional people. For example, Jiiksaan is a shaking test ceremony used by Anishinaabe people to receive knowledge from ancestors about the future. The sacredness of the ceremonies and spiritual entities, however, has hindered researchers from experiencing and writing about the ceremonies (Kinew, 1998).
In conclusion, indigenous culture learning should continue to be embraced as it teaches people to understand their traditional practices, values, and beliefs. Indigenous people also rely on culture learning to identify cultural artifacts and arts with knowledge about places, events, and ways of living. Therefore, traditional indigenous people and spiritual entities should be embraced as they have the skills to teach aspects of culture in terms of information and rules that should be mastered by members of the community. Consequently, people can acknowledge that culture is a body of knowledge as well as a framework enabling people to live and communicate shared meanings, beliefs, practices, and values with each other.
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Davis, J., & Grose, S. (2008). Which way? What happens when embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in schools meets the professional standards for teachers and an accountability matrix? Victoria Aboriginal Education Association Inc.
Dreise, M. (2004). Embedding Indigenous perspectives: Managing institutional change. (Unpublished working paper)
Hatcher, A., & Bartlett, C. (2009). Two-Eyed seeing in the classroom environment: Concepts, approaches, and challenges. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 9(3), 141–153.
Kinew, T. (1998). Let them Burn the Sky: Overcoming repression of the sacred use of Anishinaabe. Occasional Publication, Edmonton: University of Alberta, Canadian Circumpolar Institute.
Simpson, L. (2011). Stories, dreams, and ceremonies–Anishinaabe ways of learning. Canadian Reference Centre.