Promising Practices in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education: Case Studies of Two Alberta Schools
This report describes two case studies of practices implemented by two schools participating in Alberta (Canada) Education’s School-Community Learning Environment Project. The report provides a literature review of current research in Aboriginal Education, followed by a background section providing an overview of the School-Community Learning Environment Project. The literature review provides the foundation of the report, setting out five common themes of research about promising practices in Aboriginal Education. The two case studies draw from a broad spectrum of data, including test-score performance; surveys of parents, teachers, and staff; and interviews.
The purpose of this Canadian report – “to identify school-based practices that support positive outcomes for First Nations Metis and Inuit (FNMI) students” – is well defined and effectively met. The commonly used methods of the two case studies are strengthened by the diversity of tools, including test scores, surveys, and interviews. However, much of the report draws from the surveys, with less information from the test scores and interviews. Also, the two case studies are selectively drawn from 16 schools, based on pervasive positive outcomes, instead of selected from potentially contrasting strong, middle, and weak performing schools. Communications quality is excellent; however, only positive outcome information is included in much of the results. Also, the participation rate of some surveys is low, with no explanation provided, and the extensive literature review largely draws on non-quantitative studies. Overall, this report is informative, and specific sections may be of use to educators. The report concludes that three common themes emerge from a review of approaches to instruction at the two pilot schools. Both schools have a focus on literacy, meeting individual needs and assisting their FNMI students with homework. In addition, both schools have approached complex issues and challenges by doing things differently rather than relying on counterproductive solutions.