Connection to Place = Connection to Learning

Some of the ways that I see reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the narrative

As stated in the article written by Restoule, Gruner, and Metatawabin,

        decolonization as an act of resistance must not be limited to rejecting and transforming dominant ideas; it also depends on recovering and renewing traditional, non-commodified cultural patterns such as mentoring and intergenerational relationships.

The project described in the reading embodies this statement. The radio interviews between the youth and community members helped form relationships and share important knowledge about Indigenous relationships with land. It fostered dialogue between the generations in the community. Further, “youth and Elders travelled together on the traditional waters and lands, exploring history, language, issues of governance, and land management.” This part of the project transfers powerful knowledge to youth about not only living in and learning from their environment, but protecting it. Moreover, the renaming and reclaiming of the land was a powerful message. Due to European influence, many Indigenous names for locations have been lost or forgotten. This process of renaming the land works towards decolonizing it and was certainly an empowering process for the elders and youth of the area. Additionally, this is an act of reinhabitation, working together with decolonization, by building sites for learning to take place. In particular, “the land [is] crucial to healing the Mushkegowuk people from the impacts of colonialism” and therefore, utilizing their environment in the education of Indigenous youth is critical.

How I might adapt these ideas / consider place in my own subject areas and teaching

However, all youth can benefit from place-based education. This way of teaching and learning gives students agency in their education. They feel what they are learning is important and are more motivated to learn by experience. Further, I can see myself incorporating this is in my future classrooms. I am a math major and English minor. I could utilize the environment in an English class, perhaps by using nature to inspire works of writing. For math, I might measure rainfall and have my students collect data overtime about its effects on the nearby river or lake. As illustrated by the article, place-based projects can be multi-disciplinary and often creates experiential learning for the students that covers a variety of subject areas. For instance, students involved in the project described in the article created their own forms of popular culture via radio and worked with the community to build a map of the land incorporating both English and social studies education. Ultimately, place-based education heightens the engagement of students and creates a learning experience that is equally memorable and meaningful. Thus, incorporating this form of critical pedagogy into my teaching philosophy will be greatly beneficial to my future students- Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

 

2 thoughts on “Connection to Place = Connection to Learning

  1. Hey Kylie!
    You make a really good point about the loss of place names and similar concepts. Crucial to one’s worldview is the language surrounding it and without those critical understandings being passed on to future generations, the aspects of those cultures and perspectives are lost. How do you think that you could incorporate specific land-based concepts from the article, such as the teaching about these specific First Nations and the ties to the land in your future classroom? I thought it was great that you touched on the use of place in a variety of ways, especially with your rainfall measuring idea. I agree that it is very valuable for students to learn about real-world applications and how their actions and behaviours have an effect on the environment!

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  2. I agree that anytime you are using experiences to produce emotions that are tied to knowledge helps solidify learning for students. Use place-based learning helps in this way. My minor is math, so I would challenge you even further by exploring how Indigenous cultures use math concepts in their day to day lives in connecting with the world around them or even how have Indigenous cultures contributed to the mathematical field here in Saskatchewan? And in what areas? I agree that even youth can definitely benefit form place-based learning. I think a lot of times we associate place-based learning as only beneficial to elementary school students, and assume that high schools students shouldn’t need outside-of-classroom experiences.

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