Summer 2019 - EDUC 311 D100

Foundations in Aboriginal Education, Language, and Culture (3)

Class Number: 5187

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    SUR 3200, Surrey

  • Prerequisites:

    60 units.



An introduction to Aboriginal education in Canada and BC. There will be a critical examination of historical and contemporary issues in education and an exploration of culturally based Aboriginal education grounded in Aboriginal philosophies. Breadth-Humanities.


The purpose of this course is to better understand the richness and diversity of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples of Canada. This course will draw on the Truth and Reconciliation (2015) Calls to Action, where all of us as a class will be articulating our individual and collective responsibilities, intentions, and actions moving forward reconciliation in Canadian society. Therefore, the goals of this course will be three-fold: knowledge acquisition, self- reflection, and application to practice. Learning from the modeling of Indigenous pedagogies and world views, we will come to understand how we, as settlers or as Indigenous peoples, come to our own philosophies and practices around teaching (both within and outside the classroom), and as such, we will engage in self-reflection to better understand ourselves as prospective educators along with our values and beliefs about education and teaching. This will be done in alignment with Indigenous protocols of learning through the narratives of family and place and therefore this course will be focusing in on local Coast Salish education, language and cultural contexts in the place where we are living and learning.


Within this course we will investigate four broad themes from the perspective of ourselves as future /current educators. Through each of these themes we will think self-reflexively, comparatively and historically about dominant cultural assumptions and commitments and the relation to education:

  1. Who are “Aboriginal” peoples of Canada and how is this related to understanding Indigeneity, ourselves and Canadian society?
  2. How has Indigenous education been enacted historically and contemporarily in different contexts?
  3. What are Indigenous knowledge systems and pedagogies?
  4. How can we engage in an on-going inquiry process to deepen understandings of Indigenous content, perspectives, pedagogies, languages, and knowledge to influence our current/future professional practice?

THE 4Rs GUIDING VALUES OF LEARNING (Kirkness & Barnhardt, 1991)
  • Respecting the learning that will happen in this class, you are asked to show up on time and prepared for each class, consequently, class attendance and active engagement in class discussions is expected.
  • Responsibility for learning not just for each student, but our learning is enriched and supported through our class as a learning community, which includes your instructor and any guest speakers! *Incompletes will be given only under extraordinary circumstances that are beyond the student's control and may result in a lower grade.
  • Relevance for our learning is a shared responsibility we will co-construct some of the topics we will explore together within this class. It is also important students are aware that in coming to this class that we will be going outside (weather permitting) and conducting some classes in alternative venues. All these details will be finalized within our first week of class.
  • Relationships are critical to Indigenous pedagogies and ways of knowing and being. It is an expectation of this class that we will be respectful of others within the class, particularly our guest visitors, and ensure that we are taking care of each other’s wholistic learning.

  • To enhance students’ knowledge and understanding of how historical periods, policies and events influenced contemporary Indigenous peoples’ educational issues; this includes an introduction to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report.
  • To heighten students’ knowledge and awareness of Indigenous knowledge(s) and worldviews and how such knowledge may inform, for example, contemporary ecological issues.
  • To heighten students’ knowledge and awareness of some of the protocols of respect in learning in the context of and in approaching First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and communities for reconciliation.
  • To introduce students to some of Indigenous peoples’ cultural land and water-based educational resurgence movements happening along side and outside of the calls to action for reconciliation in Canada.
Mindfulness Listening:
  • To develop an awareness of how you listen, and have learned to listen in a certain way.
  • To learn about and practice a new way of listening called mindfulness listening for the benefit of reconciliation.
  • To examine and reflect on issues of racism, prejudice, discrimination, stereotyping and bias toward Indigenous peoples, and their implications for education as well as the relationship to understandings of the previous two objectives.
  • To develop an awareness of your personal approaches to reflective practice.
  • To share and contrast your reflective practices with colleagues through discussion, assessment, and case studies.
  • To reflect on areas of strengths and weaknesses in your own reflective practice.
Application to practice:
  • To analyze, critically reflect and synthesize course readings and experiences, and engage in classroom discourses about those readings, and experiences in relation to contemporary contexts.
  • To articulate your commitment to reconciliation/resurgence.


  • In class and CANVAS participation 20%
  • Individual Reflective Multimodal Learning Portfolio 40%
  • Group Reconciliation/Resurgence Project & Presentation 40%



A course reading list will be provided at the first week of class. We will be co-constructing some of the themes we explore together in this course. All course readings will be available on CANVAS (accessible for free online through the SFU Library) or provided in class.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.