This week’s readings focused on how to approach Indigenous pedagogy and knowledge in
future classroom. Educators should not over-generalize the capabilities of indigenous students
based solely on their perceived cultural differences or cultural knowledge (Battiste, 2013).
They should endeavour to incorporate multiple ways of learning into the classroom. They
should also ensure that the voices of indigenous students and indigenous communities are
legitimized within the education system (Battiste, 2013). Learning can be promoted through
various indigenous knowledge outlets including songs, ceremonies, symbols, and artworks
(Battiste, 2013). Learning can also be promoted by considering the lifelong learning ways of
indigenous individuals. Wholly respecting the different learning styles of indigenous
individuals based on their physical, intellectual, spiritual and emotional needs helps in
achieving this (Battiste, 2013).
According to Anoee et al., (2015), for students to be engaged in school they should feel
accepted, acknowledged and respected. Educators must strive to understand their students. To
achieve this there should be good relationships between educators and students. A good and
strong relationship with students is the basis for better student learning. Positive and healthy
relationships with students cannot be achieved through one method of teaching but by use of a
variety of styles of participation and information exchanges. Adapting teaching methods to
different cultural styles so as to meet the needs of students from different cultural
backgrounds is as well important (Batiste, 2013).
Tunnganarniq is the core principle of groundedness. It states that, for educators to be a firm
foundation for students, they should be approachable, hospitable, humble, kind, generous,
honest and respectful as a person and as an educator (Anoee et al., 2017). The importance of
smiling has been reinforced by the inuuqatigiit curriculum (Anoee et al., 2017). The idea
behind being approachable or welcoming is very closely tied to someone’s facial expressions
or tone and can definitely affect the relationship the educators have with the students as well
as the culture of their classroom. Simply smiling at the students as they enter the classroom is
one small step that educators can involve the principle of tunnganarniq.
It is therefore important to understand and deeply think about ways through which
tunnganarniq can be fully achieved in schools. It is also important to promote and utilize
indigenous languages and spiritual practices as these outlets help indigenous knowledge
thrive. Fostering a classroom environment that includes qualities that tunnganarniq teaches
will allow students to feel welcome and respected when they express their own beliefs and
This week’s readings focused on pedagogy and bringing Indigenous teaching into the
classroom. It focuses on tunnganarniq, which means “to be approachable, hospitable, humble,
kind, generous, honest, and respectful” (Aonee, 2015, p. 89). These are all qualities I would
hope to demonstrate in the classroom for students to feel accepted and ready to learn. Aonee
(2015) writes, “what students need is to feel appreciated, acknowledged, and above all to be
comfortable being themselves” (p. 90).
It may be easy for students to understand a concept in their native language, but it is difficult
to express themselves in English writing. “In Inuit culture, success stories are told orally, as
opposed to writing them down. It is a bit intimidating to write in one language (English) and
think in another language (Inuktitut), which adds complexity to the writing process” (Aonee,
2015, p. 90). There is no reason to add extra hurdles for students. Some students may feel
more comfortable expressing themselves through writing and we should allow that. We can
even allow students to express themselves through alternate means, such as artwork,
multimedia, or poetry.
Aonee (2015) speaks of a breakfast program for students. The breakfast “brought all of the
students to the same level; everyone had eaten before leaning started. Everyone got the
opportunity, and everyone started the day by sharing food together” (p. 96). An environment
of sharing and equality is created amongst students. There is a level of comfort within the
group, and a feeling of warmth and acceptance. It provides an opportunity for students who
may not have had a meal at home to be have some nourishment, which can help students
reach a point where they are ready to learn.
Aonee further speaks about sharing in the classroom. Students are taught to share at a young
age, and they also learn to share knowledge. “Sharing knowledge is essential for keeping our
culture and language” (p. 97). Students should be given an opportunity to share aspects of
their culture if they desire. As teachers, we can open the floor by offering something about
our own culture, and allow students a chance to reciprocate if they desire.
Through tunnganarniq, we can create a welcoming environment for students; “when students
feel welcome, they enjoy going to school. When they come to school more often, and it is
positive, they often succeed academically. When they succeed, they are more likely to want to
come to school. It becomes a cycle of hope and reinforcement” (Aonee, 2015, p. 97). One
thing I have noticed with math education, certain students feel they are not good at math and
they dislike attending the class. From this dislike, they may not work hard in the class. I hope
as a teacher to instill a welcoming feeling in a mathematics classroom, and show that it is a
place of growth and acceptance and hopefully I will be able to make students enjoy attending
the class. Battiste (2013) writes, “the distinctive features of Indigenous knowledge and
pedagogy are learning by observation and doing, learning through authentic experiences and
individualized instruction, and learning through enjoyment” (p. 178). In the classroom, I
would like to bring these experiences to students to promote engagement, and better learning.
To encourage students to want to attend school, we should also practice positive
reinforcement for all students, not only the over achievers. This can be done through multiple
ways, such as verbal praise, positive notes to parents,
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