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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Living in circle : an educator’s self-study of curricular experiences with the First Peoples principles of learning Hanson, Kelly


Recently in British Columbia (BC) a redesigned K-12 curriculum plan was introduced (BC Ministry of Education, 2016). Undergirding the plan are The First Peoples Principles of Learning (FNESC, 2008; 2015), a learning philosophy that offers nine descriptions of what learning is, what it supports, involves, recognizes, and embeds (FNESC, 2008; 2014). The rationale for embedding the principles into all aspects of the curricular plan is to prioritize Indigenous perspectives and worldviews in classrooms for all students and at all times (BC Ministry of Education, 2015). As a practicing educator, my self-study research illuminated the FPPL as a vehicle for teacher education through the opportunity to develop my own curricular theory in relationship to my context (Chrona, 2014). A significant body of educational research makes it evident that a teacher’s understanding of curriculum is a primary influence with and for their curricular enactment (Macintyre Latta, 2018; Priestley, Biesta, & Robinson, 2015; Phelan, 2015; Pinar 2012). To build a conception of curriculum that would support my inquiry I drew upon theorists such as Aoki (1993, 2004a), Donald (2016), Macintyre Latta (2018) and Pinar (2012). I made sense of these theories along with my experiences, and described curriculum as contested, situated, and relational in nature. Between the years of 2015-2018, I documented my experiences with the FPPL through journal writing, and audio-recorded conversations with a professional learning community called Living in Circle. I shared what it looked like, felt like, and sounded like as I engaged in inquiry to better understand the FFPL and how self-study promoted and encouraged this inquiry. Through these experiences I improved, expanded, and adapted my thinking, a process referred to as re-storying (Atleo, 2009; Cherkowski, 2012; Corntassel & T’lakwadzi, 2009; Mockler, 2011; Ragoonaden & Macintyre Latta, 2020; Strong-Wilson, 2008). Merging my theory of curriculum with my teaching practice, I developed a relationship with FPPL that provoked me to critically examine my experiences as a settler educator and I shifted my thinking about learning. The theorizing that emerged from my research characterized my experiences as attending to worldview, expanding wellbeing, and embracing decolonization. These emergent themes were helpful for re-orienting my approach to teacher education and informed a pedagogical approach that involved interrelated practices of wisdom-seeking, truth-telling, relational- self-listening and loving community.

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