UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

In ways they can be heard : teaching story, social responsibility, and the First Peoples principles of learning in the English classroom Nyeste, Chelsea Alana


This thesis explores the connection between using the First Peoples Principles of Learning and the inclusion of authentic First Peoples texts in a mainstream English Language Arts class on student expression of social responsibility, specifically valuing diversity and respecting human rights. Using action research and the data collected from student journal entries and the researcher‘s own reflective journal, the results show that the application of the First Peoples Principles of Learning pedagogy and the inclusion of First Peoples texts does indeed have a positive effect on student expression of valuing diversity and defending human rights. The critical review of the literature covers a broad base of research as a background to the study. The fields of Indigenous pedagogy and critical pedagogy are explicated, and a link between the two fields is established. In addition, there is a clear research base in the area of teaching for social justice using young adult literature; the research shows that teaching about human rights through story makes the lessons easier for students to learn. In this study, the researcher designs a unit of instruction that is inspired by the First Peoples Principles of Learning and uses authentic First Peoples texts and teaches this unit to her subjects; over the course of the unit, student journal entries are measured against the British Columbia Ministry of Education Performance Standards for Social Responsibility. Based on the results, the researcher concludes that student expression of valuing diversity and defending human rights does improve after the application of the unit, but student ability to internalize the lessons is dependent on previous life experience, skill at reading, capability of the students to synthesize information from the young adult literature with their own lives, and knowledge of vocabulary to discuss diversity and human rights.

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