Those who know me and the work I do might have a good idea of how often I am asked by teachers how/where they can find good resources to include First Peoples content/perspectives into their teaching. Since BC has revised its curriculum to include an increased focus on First Peoples’ content and perspectives, and the First Peoples Principles of Learning, and increasing number of educators are looking for support in this area.
Over the last few years, partly because of the job I currently have, and partly because I want to help make it easier for teachers to help their learners develop their understanding of First Peoples’ cultures, knowledge, and perspectives, I have been quick to try to provide ideas for resources. However, I have come to understand, that the resource hunt is not the first path a teacher might want to take; the real challenge in helping learners in BC come to understand First Peoples’ perspectives and knowledge is not first and foremost about the resources. It is about the lack of knowledge/understanding that many educators have in general about First Peoples. This is a very real concern in Canada, and it is often at the root of the challenge.
It is not the only concern of course. There are many educators who do have some knowledge (or are learning) but who do not want to make a mistake in their teaching (with content or process). However, the same principle applies; the more we know and the deeper our understanding, the better equipped we are to help others learn.
So what’s my point? The work we need to as teachers right now in BC, is less about looking for resources, than it is about focussing on our own learning first. We need recognize that if we work on developing our own knowledge and understanding, we will be better equipped to being to infuse what (and how) we teach with First Peoples’ knowledge and perspectives.