Te Mauri - Pimatisiwin

The Exploration of Aboriginal Student Achievement through the Reflexive Analysis of a Dialogue Circle: A View of Aboriginal Education through the Eyes of Community

Abstract

Through exploring the lived experiences of twelve community people who gathered together for a dialogue circle on a busy Saturday in March 2012, a research question that focused on Aboriginal student achievement was presented. Consisting of elders, leaders, parents, and teachers, the dialogue circle took place in the community of Ndilo, a small Aboriginal community in the Northwest Territories. The process unfolded in the telling of stories about Aboriginal people in the education system, and about the community’s local school, Kàlemì Dene School. The stories explored the transformative factors in this Aboriginal community school that was striving to achieve successful Aboriginal education for the students, families, and the community of Ndilo. Overall, the dialogue revealed wide and varying worldviews within a common aspiration to improve education for Aboriginal students, be it for their own children, grandchildren, or community children. Their different perspectives allowed participants to explore the issue with a powerful and creative force leading to contextualized depth and shared meaning. Community participants explored the root causes of the achievement gap between Aboriginal students and other students, and in so doing worked towards possible solutions to this complicated issue.

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