Building Culturally Inclusive Schools Through Imaginative Education

Principal Investigator(s) /Chercheur principal (Chercheurs principaux):

Mark Fettes, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC


Co-Investigator(s) /Co-chercheurs :

Kieran Egan, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Geoff. Madoc-Jones, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Ethel Gardner, Lakehead University, Thundery Bay, Ontario


Funding /Subvention :

SSHRC Standard Research Grant (Amount: $199,640)


Duration /Durée :

2004-2008 (Status /Statut : Ongoing-December)


Contact Information /Personne contact :


Education Building 8543 SFU, Burnaby, BC


Background /Contexte :

The LUCID (Learning for Understanding through Culturally Inclusive Imaginative Development) Project is a research partnership between the following: the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University (SFU), the Haida, Stó:lō, and Ts'msyen First Nations, as well as B.C. School Districts 33, 50 and 52. The project examines the potential for imaginative education to improve educational outcomes in BC public school districts where there are high numbers of Aboriginal students. Imaginative Education bridges the gap between academic curriculum and culture by creating a learning environment that allows for all children to reach their full potential. Previous culturally inclusive curriculums have underestimated the vital role of teachers and of culturally embedded ways of thinking. These challenges are addressed directly by LUCID with a collaborative structure. LUCID recognizes the importance of including teachers in the process while providing a unique theoretical approach.


Project Objectives /Objectifs du projet :

(1) Imaginative education seeks to establish a deep emotional connection between the child and the curriculum. (2) Determine whether imaginative education, in conjunction with other forms of support already in place, can produce significant gains for Aboriginal learners.


Research Plan /Plan de recherche:

Multi-week curriculum units will be taught by all the teachers involved, and a high level of engagement is expected. Culturally inclusive imaginative education will shape approximately half of the curricular experience of children in these teachers’ classes. The Project will develop a draft teacher’s guide that will be revised over the course of the second year on the basis of classroom experience.Significant improvements in teacher mastery, classroom engagement and academic achievement are expected. The revised teacher’s guide will be submitted for publication by a major educational press, and 3-4 journal articles will be in preparation based on significant findings. Critical ethnographies of the three sites will be written that summarize the findings work will be underway on a book-length description of the Project. There should be clear evidence of the formation of professional communities on the basis of culturally inclusive imaginative education. At this stage it is hoped that 8-10 journal articles, a thematic journal issue, and 2 books will have been produced, and 15-18 graduate students and approximately 100 teachers will have been involved in the research process.


Significance /Importance:

Addressing how schools can improve the academic success and life opportunities of Aboriginal children via an innovative educational theory that will stress the following: The relationship between curriculum, teaching, and learning, effective schooling for first nation’s children as well as sustainable educational change.