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MERN Abstract id=16
Source : MERN Forum 5, Concurrent Session 4E
Date: 3/4/2005
Author: Helen Armstrong et al.
Title : Community-Based Aboriginal Curriculum Initiatives: Implementation and Evaluation
Text : The purpose of this presentation is to acquaint the audience with a major research project being initiated by Brandon University, in partnership with a number of community and government partners. The primary goal of this SSHRC/CURA sponsored research is to examine the impact of Aboriginal cultural instruction in selected schools in terms of learning, school attendance, and retention of Aboriginal students. The research involves assessing the effect of bringing Aboriginal artist-educators into participating schools, with particular attention to cognitive skills, cultural awareness, psychosocial development, identity, and self-esteem of Aboriginal students. The project will involve both Helen Armstrong quantitative and qualitative methods in a longitudinal follow-up design that spans five years. The hypotheses is that exposure to Aboriginal culture in the school will improve Aboriginal children’s cultural awareness and identity, and that, in turn, will increase the personal relevance and importance of the school, which then will translate into positive school-related behaviors and achievement. The secondary purpose – community development – is specifically related to the enhancement of skills and talents of community members. The program of delivery – planned and implemented by the research team, participating schools, artist-educators, and research assistants, with input from partners, Elders, parents, and other community constituents – will be accompanied by a mentoring and a formal assessment process. This project will enhance the skills and knowledge within communities, resulting in sustainable community capacity building. Findings will provide a template for culturally relevant curricular materials and program evaluation that can be used in other schools and communities. Aboriginal artists will be supported within a network of community relationships that communicates the importance of the Aboriginal experience. People from many organizations will collaborate, “working for kids and communities,” sharing resources and expanding cultural awareness. Note: SSHRC/CURA stands for Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Community-University Research Alliances
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