Participating Universities

UBC Okanagan

Simon Fraser University

Indigenous Teacher Education in British Columbia: Accomplishments, Plans and Prospects

Current work: (posted January 2018: Research is in progress at University of Victoria)

  • As of January 2018, the ABCDE Indigenous Teacher Education Working Group continues its work to encourage and enable the preparation, recruitment and retention of Indigenous teachers for BC classrooms. Working Group committee members consist of representatives of FNESC (First Nations Education Steering Committee), IAHLA (Indigenous Adult Higher Education Association), individual Faculties of Education, the B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education, and the ABCDE Executive Director, ex-officio
  • The Working Group members meet several times during an academic year at SFU Vancouver, or UBC Vancouver, or via conference calls. The organization of meetings is carried out by FNESC and ABCDE in consultation with other members of the Working Group. ABCDE and FNESC share chairing meetings and expenses.
  • Meetings begin by acknowledging the ancestral, traditional, unceded lands on which the group may be meeting.
  • At Working Group meetings, reports are received from those who attend meetings of the K-12 and Post Secondary Aboriginal Education Partners Group, from individual university programs, and from BC Government departments.
  • The Working Group decides and advises ABCDE on Action Plan items and next steps for increasing the number of Indigenous teachers in B.C. as well as enhancing teachers’ understandings of, and commitments to, Indigenous histories, learning styles, and values. Work with local elders and community members is a priority.
  • In June 2015, the Working Group launched a questionnaire to collect quantitative and qualitative data from the nine teacher education programs in B.C. The purpose of the questionnaire was to collect baseline data about the number of teacher education students across B.C with Indigenous ancestry, the procedures for advising and admitting students, and prospective Education students, the financial and group supports available in each location for Indigenous students, the hiring of Indigenous Faculty and Staff, and the quantity and quality of Indigenous information in programs and courses for teachers and school administrators offered by the Faculties of Education.
  • The responses were shared with the Faculties of Education. To further the work, an Action Plan was developed by the Working Group and was subsequently adopted by ABCDE in November 2015.
  • From the Action Plan, the Deans decided to focus on research to explore Faculty policies and practices respecting the recruitment and retention of Indigenous students for teacher education programs and the profession. That research, funded by ABCDE, is presently in progress (Jan 2018) and is overseen by the Indigenous Education Chair at the University of Victoria Faculty of Education, Dr. Jean-Paul Restoule. Two contractees have been engaged to conduct the research. A progress report will be provided at ABCDE’s February 2018 meeting.
  • In Fall 2016, ABCDE decided to fund a Symposium on Indigenous Education held sequentially with the 2017 Teacher Education Roundtable Conference hosted by UBC Vancouver. The all-day Symposium focused on the Recruitment and Retention of Indigenous students for teacher education programs and the profession. The Symposium hosted over 60 participants from Faculties, the BC Government and other education partner organizations, as well as guests from other provinces.

Work of the ABCDE-FNESC-IAHLA Working Group from 2006 to the present:

  • The Working Group, comprising representatives of our three organizations (ABCDE-FNESC and IAHLA), was formed and has met since release of the final report of the Task Force on Aboriginal Teacher Education presented to ABCDE in Fall, 2006. The report included recommendations for teacher educators and BC Education for the period 2006-2011. The Task Force was co-chaired by Dr. Jo-ann Archibald, formerly UBC’s Associate Dean (Indigenous Education) (retired), and by Dr. Lorna Williams, UVic Education Senior Faculty Member (retired).
  • Composition of the Working Group has changed over the years. Many ABCDE meetings have been convened on topics under the rubric “Indigenous Education” between 2004 and the present day. ABCDE continues its commitment to Indigenous Education in its many aspects.
  • Since 2008, ABCDE has appointed either a Dean, an Associate Dean, or a Senior faculty member, to serve as the ABCDE representative on the province’s K-12 Aboriginal Education Partners’ Group, and at the Post-Secondary Education Partners’ table. ABCDE representatives have been essential links between their partner organizations, the Deans of Education, their Faculties, Staff, and Students.

Post-TRC (Truth and Reconciliation) Commission Report:

Universities, Faculties of Education, Faculty, Staff and Students continue to express their support for reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous populations, and to do so by making Indigenous understanding, history, and education a high priority in programs and courses.



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