May 10, 2017
Over 75 people joined to discuss Aboriginal Student Recruitment and Retention in Teacher Education at a symposium hosted by the Association of British Columbia Deans of Education (ABCDE) and the Aboriginal Working Group.
This one-day symposium engaged teacher education staff, student coordinators, faculty, instructors, administrators, recruiters, and educational government in group dialogues focusing on access and recruitment policies that support Aboriginal student recruitment and retention. Indigenous pre-service teachers and early career educators shared their paths to and experiences in post-secondary education. Attendees shared innovative practices and curriculum to engage with Indigenous perspectives, content, and approaches.
Dr. Jo-ann Archibald provided the keynote address, sharing critical reflections and future directions. She included findings from the Accord on Indigenous Education, which she co-authored, and was published by the Association of Canadian Deans of Education 2010.
The accord serves as guide in program review and transformation, working collaboratively to prioritize the educational purposes and values of indigenous communities and people, with the vision that all Indigenous identities, cultures, languages, values, ways of knowing, and knowledge systems will flourish.
The keynote was followed by:
- Group Dialogue: Exploring Themes of Promotion/Retention, Supporting/Retaining, Partnerships/Leadership
- Aboriginal Teacher Educator Panel: What Contributes to Success?
Four in-service and pre-service teachers — Kye Smith, Dave Robinson, Danielle Arnack and Marie Sandy — shared their experiences.
- Lunch Group Discussion
During the lunch discussion, session attendees noted:
“The student stories were essential for understanding. This morning we heard the keynote facts and figures — but hearing from the students, their perspectives — connects us with them and creates a context for understanding. The combination of facts and stories brings the topic alive.”
“Hearing from the students was a great reminder of different perspectives they bring and the barriers they face, and the resilience it takes to get through.”
Program Highlighting and Group Dialogue:
During the afternoon sessions, attendees discussed the following topics and strategies for incorporating within their workplaces.
- Creating culturally safe and respectful learning environments
- Infusing Indigenous ways of knowing into teacher education
- Building and sustaining community/organization partnerships that support recruitment, retention, and career development
- Sharing Out and Moving Ahead
A full synopsis and final report will be shared with all attendees.