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With the Indigenous Voices in the Classroom (IVC) project, TIES, in partnership with Centre for Newcomers (CFN), aims to address the historic prejudice and discrimination that has silenced Indigenous people in every region of Canada and alienated our indigenous and non-indigenous communities.

Building on the knowledge and experience shared by Indigenous elders and community members from across southern Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia, TIES and CFN have created comprehensive activities for CLB 4 learners in the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program. This curriculum was piloted in LINC classrooms at TIES and CFN in August 2019.

With the advent of residential schools, indigenous ways of being, knowing, speaking, and sharing were systematically erased in the classroom. This historic alienation has resulted in a lack of healthy vocabulary around Indigenous people and traditions, and many non-Indigenous teachers lack the confidence to address Canada’s historic atrocities in the classroom, often avoiding the issue completely. As such, when newcomers arrive in Canada, unless they are exposed to sensitive, culturally aware instructors who prioritize bringing Indigenous voices into their classroom, they risk total ignorance of their new country’s original inhabitants for lack of opportunities to interact with those communities or learn about them.

By bringing Indigenous voices and faces into the LINC classroom, Indigenous stories and storytellers become tangible and real and shed the stigma of being the faceless “other.” By learning from real people and their stories, newcomers can build knowledge and insight into the successes and challenges that these communities face today. When these relationships are built, teachers and administrators are empowered to introduce Indigenous history and culture to newcomer classrooms with more frequency, insight, and sensitivity.

To reach these goals, project curriculum developers from TIES and CFN worked together with Indigenous elders and community members from across southern Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. As these community members shared their stories and knowledge with the project, nearly 300 pages of CLB 4-appropriate activities for LINC and ESL learners were developed.

The curriculum is currently available for download by all interested parties on the TIES|Learn learning management system.

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Resource Details

Alberta Initiatives Gallery: No
Areas of Focus: Teaching
Instructional Level: CLB Stage I (1-4)
Programs: LINC
Format: Websites/Links
Produced by:The Immigrant Education Society (TIES)
Funded by:Alberta Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund
Author:Whitney Loewen, Suzanne Clavelle, and Lesley Trussler
Publication year:2020
Added:Sept. 3, 2020, 11:41 a.m.
Updated:Sept. 3, 2020, 11:41 a.m.