Pan-Canadian teacher survey shows need for quality resources to infuse Aboriginal perspectives in education

June 21, 2016

OTTAWA – A pan-Canadian survey of nearly 1,900 teachers reveals a high need for quality information and education resources on Aboriginal language and culture in elementary and secondary classrooms across the country. The majority of all teachers surveyed report three of four examined resources in their school pertaining to the integration of Aboriginal content and perspectives into the curriculum are either barely sufficient or insufficient.

“Teachers are poised to share First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) perspectives with their students but there’s a gap in terms of accessible and quality information, teaching materials and professional learning,” explains Heather Smith, president of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) which conducted the survey.

The survey shows at least three quarters of teachers surveyed believe it would be important (“very” or “somewhat”) to acquire additional knowledge or skills training for each of the seven examined issues pertaining to Aboriginal people in Canada. These issues range from strategies to addressing students’ concerns related to the challenges faced by Aboriginal peoples to instructional approaches. (To read the full report, please visit: http://www.ctf-fce.ca/Research-Library/CTF-Survey-Teachers-Perspectives-on-Aboriginal-Education-Summary-Report-web.pdf)

One of the main findings is the strong importance teachers place on having access to Aboriginal Elders and Knowledge Keepers. Elders can assist teachers with first-hand knowledge of Aboriginal cultures, provide professional learning, and offer information to develop curriculum and other resources. Respondents also indicate the need for more direct contact with local Aboriginal communities and for more Aboriginal teachers/educators in the public school system.

“With all the recent media coverage on the Truth and Reconciliation report, we’re seeing a growing interest to better understand and appreciate FNMI cultures,” says Heather Smith. “As a microcosm of society, our schools are also part of this growing movement which is a positive development for all Canadians. Our teachers play a pivotal role in maintaining this momentum.”

The survey findings are based on the responses of nearly 1,900 teachers who work in grades K-12 in public schools across the country. The survey was conducted in November and December 2015.

Founded in 1920, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation is a national alliance of 16 teacher organizations representing nearly 200,000 teachers across Canada. CTF is also a member of Education International. @CanTeachersFed

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Spokesperson:

Heather Smith, CTF President

Media contact:

Francine Filion, CTF Communications Director,
Office: 613-688-4314 or cell: 613-899-4247