Summer Institute focuses on foundational Indigenous knowledge

Educators seeking effective, authentic ways to incorporate more First Nations, Metis and Inuit (FNMI) ways of knowing, being and doing in their teaching will find the support they’re looking for at the Faculty of Education’s Summer Institute.

The 2021 Summer Institute, which takes place July 5-23 on the U of A’s North Campus, comprises two courses designed to deepen understanding of Indigenous foundational knowledge and knowing, and how those understandings might be expressed in institutional settings for the benefit of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students alike.

EDU 560: Bringing Life to Literacy Experiences is intended to transform understandings of Indigenous ways of nurturing literacy learning. Elementary Education professor Trudy Cardinal says she hopes the course will bring participants’ understanding of literacy off the page in ways that will enable them to bring their whole being to teaching and see their students as whole beings.

“In institutional stories, we focus a lot on minds and forget about our bodies. So when we bring life back to literacy, we bring it from a stationary, static experience to a whole-body experience where we inquire, think together and come together as a community of learners,” Cardinal says.

EDU 561: Curriculum, Pedagogy and Foundational Indigenous Knowledge and Knowing, taught by Secondary Education professor Dwayne Donald, focuses on the key concepts and frameworks that inform current understandings of Indigenous curriculum and pedagogy.

Rather than a “one-off” professional development session on Indigenous knowledge teachers might attend during the school year, Cardinal says Summer Institute participants will benefit from a more immersive, pragmatic and extended experience.

“With this Summer Institute, you have an opportunity to build a relationship over time with those wisdoms — with Elders and knowledge-holders, with the land, with story — instead of just being a moment in your day. It’s three weeks, so there’s a sense of continuity we might not get in other professional learning opportunities,” Cardinal says.

These two courses in combination with an additional two courses also focused on Indigenous knowledge to be offered in summer 2022, will comprise the Graduate Certificate in Educational Studies (pending approval from the Government of Alberta).

For more information on the program’s learning objectives and how to apply, visit the Summer Institute webpage.

Futures of Assessment and Accountability

For more on this summer’s professional learning opportunities, read about EDU 596 : Futures of Assessment and Accountability—Implications for School Leadership with instructors J-C Couture and Stephen Murgatroyd, which runs Aug. 9 - 14, 2021.