Reflection, discussion forums and creating a CoI (Community of Inquiry) are important tools in learning. As I reflect on a discussion forum that I had in my ISW (Instructor Skills Workshop) community, it became clear how I gained a deeper understanding of indigenization.
First I’ll give you a little background. During my ISW last week participant introduced a newspaper and jokingly asked why we don’t read the paper. A second participant discussed diversity. Coincidently the day was National Indigenous Peoples Day.
At lunch, I picked up the National Post newspaper in S Building and stopped at a section on diversity, both of which I would not have done if I hadn’t been in the ISW.
UFV is indigenizing curriculums. However, I wasn’t clear who had imposed this mandate and what outcomes were expected. I was also trying to better understand how I fit in to this program. There was some discussion in ISW but the answers raised more questions.
Coincidentally, there was a story in the paper that explained it all in very clear terms. How Canada’s Universities Can Redefine the Indigenous Experience at School. It stated that an essential ingredient to change is “one’s personal commitment to reconciliation.” This sentence was part of an explanation about a braided strand, each strand being weak in itself, but strong when braided. Had I not met an instructor of Indigenous studies who highly recommended the Whale Rider, this analogy would not have resonated so strongly with me.
Most importantly, I have a supporting and loving family that allows me the time and peace-of mind to reflect on this experience; I have an income allowing me to divert my focus away from finance; and, I have an employer who has given me the opportunity to be a part of this academic community. All these are essential ingredients to learning.
I now understand that no one is imposing the indigenization mandate on us and all actions should come from within. It’s up to me, it’s up to you, and it’s up to us to accept diversity, to move forward, and to progress into a more equal future for the diverse community of Canada and its peoples.
I have all my learning ducks in a row. Do you?