Aboriginal education?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by smileyd, Aug 31, 2008.

  1. smileyd

    smileyd Comrade

    Feb 29, 2004
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    Aug 31, 2008

    I'm going to be teaching grade three starting Thursday on a Cree reservation in Northern Manitoba. My students will be nearly all Cree, with probably some Metis. If there are any non-native students in my class, they will be the children of fellow teachers, the RCMP, the doctors and the nurses.

    I've been told that attendance is poor, and dwindles as the year progresses because parents do not enforce attendance (or curfews I've learned at 1am a few days ago). I've also been warned against sending books home because they mostly won't return, and homework will seldom be returned either. Teachers do home visits a few times a year to ensure we meet the parents.

    They focus on language arts skills here more than anything. I figure thats to ensure the kids get the basic skills for later life.

    I have been given a few pieces of advice by teachers who are on their 2nd or 3rd year here, as well as the administrators.
    -love them, because many of them aren't shown love at home.
    -teach them what you can when they are there. Do the best you can do in the time they come.

    I wonder if anyone here on the boards has any experience or insight that could help me through this year. I want to encourage my kids to have better attendance. It will be nearly impossible to teach with students missing classes that would have given them the necessary prior knowledge.

    Any other advice is greatly appreciated.

  3. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

    Aug 2, 2002
    Likes Received:

    Aug 31, 2008

    To encourage attendance, give kids tickets each day and choose a daily winner as well as a weekly winner. The more often they attend, the higher the chances of winning a prize. Also, a good lesson in probability.

    Make sure that the first thing they do in the morning is a fun assignment. It could be as simple as estimating the amount of candy in a jar.

    Assign morning helper jobs to those who arrive on time. There are always some kids who really love to help in the room.

    I used to have the 'desk fairy' visit and leave coupons in their desks which they redeemed. They could only redeem them in homeroom. Those who arrived late found them and just turned them in for no prize.

    Have an on-time chart on the wall. Each day they arrive on time, they get a check. When they finish a row, they get a prize.
  4. alielizadubois

    alielizadubois Companion

    Oct 8, 2006
    Likes Received:

    Aug 31, 2008

    I am sure that I have no idea what you are up against. I think that Upsadaisy gave great suggestions, but the only problem that I see is that a lot of time its not the child's decision not to come to school. I see in my school that frequently, its the adults who don't get the children to school (on time, or not at all!).

    I think that in that case, it would be a good idea to reach out to parents as best you can.

    I know that you do home visits a few times a year, but why not send letters home to parents introducing yourself, invite parents in for a "parent tea", where the parents can meet you, or schedule special celebrations/performances etc during times that you know parents can make it. You could set up a committee wherein parents are the experts on something, whether it be their culture, their career, or even their children. Maybe find out what it is that makes certain parents tick, and create something in your classroom that is appealing to them.

    I really believe in approaching relationships with parents and students with "care, concern, and connection" (as quoted from Colleen Larson's "The Color of Bureaucracy", in an idea entitled "Entering Relationships vs. Assuming Roles).

    I think that if you establish relationships with parents, wherein you approach your communication as if you are in a relationship with them, as opposed to assuming roles "I am the teacher and you are the parent" then maybe you can open up avenues for mutual understanding.

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