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Indigenous Education, Relational Pedagogy, and Autobiographical Narrative Inquiry: A Reflective Journey of Teaching Teachers

Crossroads of the Classroom

ISBN: 978-1-78635-797-7, eISBN: 978-1-78635-796-0

Publication date: 25 April 2017


In this chapter, we explore our experiences of co-teaching an undergraduate elementary teacher education class titled, “Teaching Language Arts in FNMI (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) Contexts.” In our curriculum-making for the course, we drew on Narrative Inquiry as pedagogy, as well as on Indigenous storybooks, novels, and scholarship. We chose to work in these ways so that we might attempt to complicate and enrich both our experiences as teacher educators, and the possibilities of what it means to engage in Language Arts alongside Indigenous children, youth, and families in Kindergarten through Grade 12 classrooms. Thus, central to this chapter will be reflection on our efforts to co-create curriculum alongside of students – considered in their multiplicity also as pre-service teachers, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, etc. – in ways that honored all of our knowing and experience. The relational practices inherent to Narrative Inquiry and Indigenous approaches to education, such as the creation and sharing of personal annals/timelines and narratives, along with small and large group conversations and talking circles are pedagogies we hoped would invite safe, reflective, and communal spaces for conversation. While certainly not a tension-free process, all of the pedagogical choices we made as teacher educators provide us the opportunity to attend to the relational and ontological commitments of Narrative Inquiry, to the students in their processes of becoming, to Indigenous worldviews, and to the responsibilities of the Alberta Language Arts curriculum.



Cardinal, T. and Fenichel, S. (2017), "Indigenous Education, Relational Pedagogy, and Autobiographical Narrative Inquiry: A Reflective Journey of Teaching Teachers", Crossroads of the Classroom (Advances in Research on Teaching, Vol. 28), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 243-273.



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