Aboriginal Students Perspectives on the Factors Influencing High School Completion.pdf

Aboriginal Students Perspectives on the Factors Influencing High School Completion.pdf

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Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at Multicultural Perspectives ISSN: 1521-0960 (Print) 1532-7892 (Online) Journal homepage: Aboriginal Students’ Perspectives on the Factors Influencing High School Completion Marion MacIver To cite this article: Marion MacIver (2012) Aboriginal Students’ Perspectives on the Factors Influencing High School Completion, Multicultural Perspectives, 14:3, 156-162, DOI: 10.1080/15210960.2012.697008 To link to this article: Published online: 08 Aug 2012. Submit your article to this journal Article views: 1446 Citing articles: 1 View citing articles
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Multicultural Perspectives, 14 (3), 156–162 Copyright C 2012 by the National Association for Multicultural Education ISSN: 1521-0960 print / 1532-7892 DOI: 10.1080/15210960.2012.697008 PART III Aboriginal Students’ Perspectives on the Factors Influencing High School Completion Marion MacIver Walden University The Canadian education system is failing its Abo- riginal students as evidenced by the significant proportion not completing high school. The Abo- riginal population has experienced a significantly greater proportion of people living in poverty and higher rates of unemployment than has the non-Aboriginal population. These factors can be linked to the Aboriginal population’s lower edu- cational attainment. The research questions in this phenomenological study explored the influences that encourage Aboriginal middle-level students to remain engaged in school, thus promoting the likelihood of their completing high school. Data were collected through semistructured interviews with 10 Aboriginal adolescents identified as being at risk of dropping out before completing high school. Data were analyzed using semiotic phe- nomenology, including description, reduction, and interpretation. Study findings identified the impor- tance of schools providing linkages to students’ Aboriginal heritages and relationship building between teachers and students. This study adds the students’ perspective to the existing body of knowledge related to Aboriginal student school engagement. Positive social change can be effected when classrooms model cultural inclusion, mean- ingful learning opportunities are provided for all Correspondence should be sent to Marion MacIver, 4731 Pasqua Street, Regina, Saskatchewan S4S 6N7, Canada. E-mail: [email protected] students, and Aboriginal learners perceive they belong, resulting in a greater proportion of Aborig- inal people living enriched, satisfying lives. Such activities also can lead to higher graduation rates. Introduction The Canadian education system is failing its Aborigi- nal 1 students. A significant number of these students are not completing high school. Though Canadian census data appears to indicate an improvement in the number of Aboriginal students completing high school, from 22% in 1996 (Goulet, 2005) to 52% in 2001 (Sharpe, Arsenault, & Lapointe, 2007), these figures reveal that almost half of the Aboriginal school-aged population is still not completing high school. Specifically, in the
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