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Unformatted text preview: DECOLONIZING THE NUNAVUT SCHOOL SYSTEM: STORIES IN A RIVER OF TIME by Heather Elizabeth McGregor B.A.H., Acadia University, 2005 M.A., Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto, 2008 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES (Curriculum Studies) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) March 2015 © Heather Elizabeth McGregor, 2015 Abstract This research explores the recent history of educational change in Nunavut’s public school system, primarily between the years 2000 and 2013. During this time, decision makers mandated that schools deliver programs in accordance with Inuit foundations of knowledge, values and ways of being. I show how new school system initiatives were largely informed by long-term Nunavut educators—Inuit and non-Inuit—as well as Elders and Inuit knowledge holders, whose perspectives reach into the remembered past and towards an imagined future. My inquiry centres in-depth interviews with Cathy McGregor, an educational leader who carries 40 years experience North of 60°, and was responsible for facilitating many recent curriculum, policy, and leadership changes. Cathy is also my mother. Illuminated by her memories and vision, materials developed for the Nunavut school system, and my own research journey, I examine processes of bringing knowledge from and about the past forward in educational change. I describe three sites as demonstrating decolonizing: 1) The role of Inuit Elders in the school system, including full-time Elder Advisors; 2) Processes of curriculum development based on Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit; and, 3) An annual leadership development workshop facilitating history education. Building on these stories of change, I work towards theorizing two concepts, and the relationship between them, in the context of the Nunavut school system: decolonizing and knowing with historical consciousness. I find the sustainability of change in this context is elusive and challenging. Educators are unlikely to reach a stable moment of fulfillment wherein they hold sufficient knowledge of the context, or where the institution of schooling is decolonized. Using the metaphor of a river melting in spring throughout the dissertation, I find it is unsettling to acknowledge that time constantly slips away; that what was done before may no longer be relevant or possible now. However, knowledge from and about the past may serve educators by illustrating that knowing is always conditioned by place, time, identity, and relationships; therefore, knowledge can, and must, be remade. I argue that this warrants practices of continuously and recursively revisiting what is called for in Nunavut schools, to support educational change towards decolonizing. ii Preface This dissertation is an original piece of work and no part of it has appeared in publication to date. I conceived of, designed, and carried out the research program following guidance from my committee and building on the support of many individuals named in the Acknowledgements. Cathy McGregor, the sole research participant, contributed significantly to the content through interviews I conducted with her, as well as by reviewing drafts of the work and commenting on her contributions. I was responsible for the process of analysis and writing. I sought and received permission to access the Nunavut Department of Education documents used in this dissertation from Kathy Okpik, Deputy Minister. This research required and received approval from the UBC Behavioural Research Ethics Board, the certificate for which is #H13-01782. This research also required and received a Nunavut Research Institute research license for each year of conducting research in Nunavut, No. 01 029 13N-M (2013) and No. 01 008 14R-M (2014). iii Table of Contents Abstract .......................................................................................................................................... ii Preface ........................................................................................................................................... iii Table of Contents ......................................................................................................................... iv List of Tables ................................................................................................................................ ix List of Figures ................................................................................................................................ x List of Abbreviations ................................................................................................................... xi Acknowledgements ..................................................................................................................... xii Dedication ................................................................................................................................... xiv Executive Summary: Inuit Language ....................................................................................... xv Executive Summary: English Translation ................................................................................ xx Chapter 1: Beginning to Look for Stories from the Past ......................................................... 1 1.1 Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 1 1.2 Context for the Study ......................................................................................................... 2 1.3 Key Theoretical Concepts and Use of Literature ............................................................... 7 1.3.1 Culturally Responsive, Cross-cultural ................................................................................. 8 1.3.2 The Past, Memory, history, History, Historical Consciousness ......................................... 10 1.3.3 Decolonizing ...................................................................................................................... 11 1.3.4 Eurocentrism and Eurocentric Knowledge ........................................................................ 13 1.3.5 Inuit Knowledge and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit ................................................................... 14 1.4 Purpose and Research Questions ..................................................................................... 15 1.5 Rationale .......................................................................................................................... 16 1.5.1 Content ............................................................................................................................... 17 1.5.2 Theory ................................................................................................................................ 19 1.5.3 Methodology ...................................................................................................................... 20 1.5.4 Practice ............................................................................................................................... 21 1.6 Relevance to Other Audiences ......................................................................................... 21 1.7 Traces of Me .................................................................................................................... 23 1.8 1.7.1 My Work in Nunavut ......................................................................................................... 27 1.7.2 My Role as a Researcher .................................................................................................... 29 Structure of the Dissertation: The Metaphor of a Melting River in Spring ..................... 32 Chapter 2: Methodological Movement - Centering Interviews with Cathy McGregor in Looking toward the Past ................................................................................................... 38 iv 2.1 Introduction ...................................................................................................................... 38 2.2 Rationale for Research Questions .................................................................................... 41 2.3 Learning from Stories ...................................................................................................... 45 2.4 Story Stream 1: History of Educational Change in Nunavut ........................................... 50 2.4.1 2.5 Story Stream 2: Cathy’s Stories ....................................................................................... 55 2.5.1 Timing of Interviews .......................................................................................................... 55 2.5.2 Expert Interviews ............................................................................................................... 57 2.5.3 Preparations for Interviews ................................................................................................ 59 2.5.4 Personal Narratives and Portraiture ................................................................................... 61 2.5.5 Validity and Constructing Good Stories ............................................................................ 62 2.7 2.5.5.1 Working between the spaces of individual and social .......................................... 63 2.5.5.2 Working towards transparency in intersubjectivity .............................................. 65 2.5.6 Characteristics of Interviews .............................................................................................. 68 2.5.7 Process of Looking for Stories ........................................................................................... 73 2.5.8 2.6 Brief History of the Topic .................................................................................................. 52 2.5.7.1 Transcribing and analyzing ................................................................................... 73 2.5.7.2 Writing .................................................................................................................. 74 Editing and Review with Cathy ......................................................................................... 76 Story Stream 3: Research Journey ................................................................................... 76 2.6.1 Reshaping Methodology .................................................................................................... 76 2.6.2 Ethical Considerations ....................................................................................................... 78 2.6.3 Reciprocity in Research with Cathy ................................................................................... 82 Story Stream 4: Decolonizing and Historical Consciousness .......................................... 86 2.7.1 Inuit Perspectives, Qallunaat Positionality and Decolonizing Intentions .......................... 87 Chapter 3: Looking for Experience in Arctic Education: Cathy’s Stories .......................... 94 3.1 Introduction and Purpose ................................................................................................. 95 3.2 Early Influences and Family Life .................................................................................... 96 3.3 Becoming a Teacher and Going North .......................................................................... 100 3.4 Language and Curriculum Work Across the NWT ....................................................... 104 3.5 Leadership in the Baffin Region and Transition to Nunavut ......................................... 107 3.6 Working in Curriculum and School Services, Nunavut................................................. 112 3.7 Someone who “Speaks up” ............................................................................................ 115 3.8 A Changing View and The Iceberg Metaphor ............................................................... 117 3.9 Cathy’s Educational Questions ...................................................................................... 120 v 3.10 Cathy’s Philosophy of Education................................................................................... 121 3.10.1 Classroom Teaching and Professional Development ....................................................... 122 3.10.2 School Community .......................................................................................................... 124 3.10.3 School System Change..................................................................................................... 125 3.10.4 Success in Education ........................................................................................................ 127 3.11 Limitations of Cathy’s View .......................................................................................... 128 3.12 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................... 130 Chapter 4: Looking for Sources of Inuit Knowledge: The Role of Elders......................... 134 4.1 Defining Elders in Nunavut ........................................................................................... 135 4.2 A Story About Learning From Elders ............................................................................ 137 4.3 From Classroom to Curriculum: Early Elder Involvement............................................ 138 4.4 Elder Involvement During the BDBE: Going Deeper ................................................... 140 4.5 Elder Advisors at the Nunavut Department of Education ............................................. 144 4.6 Elders Advisory Committee ........................................................................................... 147 4.7 Working with Elders ...................................................................................................... 148 4.7.1 Expectations of Qallunaat Staff ....................................................................................... 150 4.7.2 Elder Certification and School Roles ............................................................................... 152 4.7.3 School Issues in Working Well with Elders..................................................................... 153 4.8 Lasting Elder Legacies in the Nunavut School System ................................................. 155 4.9 Indigenous Elder Involvement with Schools Elsewhere in Canada .............................. 161 4.10 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................... 168 Chapter 5: Looking for a Nunavut Mandate in Curriculum Materials ............................ 172 5.1 Introduction and Justification for Analysis of Curriculum ............................................ 173 5.2 Consistent and Different Features of Curriculum .......................................................... 178 5.2.1 Strands.............................................................................................................................. 180 5.2.2 Competencies ................................................................................................................... 183 5.2.3 Continuous Progress ........................................................................................................ 183 5.3 Curriculum in Nunavut 2011-2012 ................................................................................ 184 5.4 Cathy’s Role in Curriculum ........................................................................................... 193 5.5 Process of Curriculum Development ............................................................................. 197 5.6 5.5.1 Curriculum Research and Consultation ........................................................................... 198 5.5.2 Curriculum Layout ........................................................................................................... 200 5.5.3 Curriculum Approvals...................................................................................................... 201 Curriculum Implementation and In-service ................................................................... 202 vi 5.7 5.8 Aulajaaqtut Curriculum Analysis .................................................................................. 204 5.7.1 Assumptions and Limitations........................................................................................... 206 5.7.2 Findings............................................................................................................................ 209 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................... 214 Chapter 6: Looking for Educational Leadership: History Education in “Roots Day” .... 222 6.1 Literature on Nunavut Leadership and Educational Change ......................................... 225 6.2 Supporting Nunavut Educators: The Bridge Metaphor ................................................. 230 6.3 Inuit Leadership Retreat ................................................................................................. 234 6.4 Educational Leadership Program as Principal Certification .......................................... 237 6.5 Poppy Metaphor and the Origin of Roots ...................................................................... 239 6.5.1 Roots and History vs. the Past.......................................................................................... 241 6.6 Facilitation of Roots Day, 2013 ..................................................................................... 244 6.7 Challenges of Roots Day ............................................................................................... 251 6.8 Opportunities of Roots Day ........................................................................................... 254 6.9 ELP Review Survey ....................................................................................................... 256 6.10 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................... 259 Chapter 7: Looking for Decolonizing and Historical Consciousness in the Nunavut School System ............................................................................................................................. 264 7.1 Decolonizing in Conversation with Cathy ..................................................................... 267 7.2 Theorizing Decolonizing in Relation to Literature ........................................................ 273 7.3 Historical Consciousness in Conversation with Cathy .................................................. 277 7.4 7.3.1 Systems of Interpreting the Past and History Education .................................................. 277 7.3.2 Application in Educational and Social Change ................................................................ 279 7.3.3 Cathy’s Definition of Historical Consciousness .............................................................. 281 7.3.4 The Trouble with Ascertaining Historical Truths ............................................................ 282 Theorizing Historical Consciousness in Relation to Literature ..................................... 285 7.4.1 7.5 7.6 Applying Historical Consciousness for Educational Purposes ........................................ 290 My Thoughts on Decolonizing and Historical Consciousness in Nunavut Schools ...... 293 7.5.1 Extending from Simon ..................................................................................................... 293 7.5.2 Extending from Seixas .................
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