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Deepening Knowledge.

Courses in Aboriginal Education


OISE offers a number of courses related to issues in Aboriginal knowledge, history, and education. Please see the list below for a summary of courses at the ITE and graduate levels.


Initial Teacher Education Courses

Aboriginal Perspectives and Practices for All (DU5528H)

Designed for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal teachers, this course will examine indigenous ways of knowing and how this knowledge can inform teacher practice to the benefit of all students. Historical, social, and political issues and cultural, spiritual and philosophical themes will be examined in relation to developing culturally relevant and responsive curriculum, pedagogy and practice. Teacher candidates will come away with the tools they need to create a more inclusive, fulfilling classroom environment in both urban and rural contexts.


Graduate-level Courses


Special Topics in Adult Education: Selected Issues, Themes and Models in Aboriginal and Indigenous Education (AEC1131 H)

Selected issues related to social, political, spiritual and cultural factors that impact on the educational quality of life of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada resulting from colonialism and oppression will be examined. Related connections to Indigenous Peoples throughout the world will be made. Selected issues will be examined with a view toward understanding the need for transforming educational and research knowledge to reflect Aboriginal and Indigenous wisdom and strategies for solutions. Themes and models reflecting the movement toward the development and establishment of Aboriginal education initiatives grounded in Aboriginal philosophies and perspectives for community healing and wellness and Aboriginal participation and leadership in Canadian society will be examined. This course draws on knowledge from theories and practice of Aboriginal and Indigenous methodologies, antiracism education, qualitative research methodologies, oral histories/narratives, and Elders' wisdom. Students will be encouraged to explore various issues that impact on teaching and learning from pre- school to higher education, community development, and adult education settings.

Special Topics in Adult Education: Access , Application and Implications of Indigenous/Local Knowledges within the Self and Social Systems (AEC1131 H)

This course examines the epistemological underpinnings of Indigenous / Local knowledges in order to organically develop a working framework for Indigenous research, presentation and analysis. Topics may include the exploration and conceptions of Indigenous and Local knowledges at the global scale and at the community level; an introductory look at elder’s knowledge; the role of science in Indigenous societies; decolonization of education research practices, and the related development of an activity theory of aboriginal education models. Students will devise an Indigenous informal learning model, and be able to articulate on a chosen Indigenous sovereignty movement, and its relationship to political consciousness, and ecological sustainability practices. 

Foundations of Aboriginal Education in Canada (AEC1171 H)

This course is designed to provide an interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of Aboriginal education in Canada. Emphasis is on understanding the influences of policies, programs, and institutions that affect the Aboriginal community in respect to Aboriginal education. One of the major data sources will be the report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Aboriginal guest speakers will also comment on selected topics. Components of this course will include the Aboriginal world view; contemporary history/politics relevant to Aboriginal Peoples; and Aboriginal education and healing. Treaties were originally signed between First Nations and the Federal Government of Canada. These treaties for the most part have not been honoured. In this course we shall discuss the ways and means to redress this situation as we focus more specifically on issues relevant to Aboriginal education.

Aboriginal World Views: Implications for Education (AEC1180 H)

This course provide a deeper understanding of Aboriginal worldviews and an appreciation of how this knowledge can enhance teaching, learning and research. Learners will examine philosophical views shared by Aboriginal people while honoring a diversity of identities, culture, language, and geographic locations. Course content may include Aboriginal cognitive styles, values and ethics, traditional teachings and indigenous methodologies. This course will promote an understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal perspectives and explore strategies for integrating this knowledge into the work of educators and researchers.

Aboriginal Knowledge: Implications for Education (AEC1184 H)

This course will explore Indigenous ways of knowing and knowledge systems and how this knowledge might inform the work of teaching, learning and research. Course content may include indigenous research protocols, decolonizing methodologies, ethics and politics of researching and teaching in Aboriginal communities, indigenous knowledge in the academy, intellectual property rights, curriculum development and innovations in Aboriginal education. Traditional teachings from respected Elders may be incorporated into learning. For learners with a research focus, this course enables inquiry into the production of knowledge, from both western and indigenous perspectives. For those interested in education implications, the course provides a footing in the workings and characteristics of indigenous knowing which will aid their pedagogical practices in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal contexts.

Special Topics in Adult Education and Community Development: Aboriginal Community Learning: Urban Aboriginal Community Organizing (AEC3131 H)

This course is designed to provide students with opportunities to critically examine some of the many ways Aboriginal communities address the learning needs of their members. Areas covered will include but not be limited to: Aboriginal health science research, education policy, oral histories, the arts, story telling, approaches to adult literacy, and Aboriginal mental health and learning. Other components of the course will include Aboriginal worldviews; contemporary history/politics relevant to Aboriginal peoples; and culture-based approaches to adult education.

Special Topics in Adult Education: Perspectives on Aboriginal/Indigenous Research (AEC3131 H)

This seminar examines research on/about Aboriginal Peoples. Conventional approaches to doing research on/about Aboriginal /Indigenous peoples are critiqued. The approach taken in this seminar will result in an appreciation and understanding of the importance of Aboriginal research and literature as circles of knowledge productions. This course will engage within the contexts of addressing communities of Aboriginal and Indigenous transformation in decolonizing methodologies as well as identifying research protocols/ethics in working with Aboriginal peoples and their communities. Specific topic areas include Aboriginal epistemologies and research ethics; understanding cultural, political, and spiritual protocols; and the importance of oral-literacy knowledge. Additional topics will be discussed based on student interest. Students will be encouraged to consider the impacts /benefits of research on/about Aboriginal /Indigenous Peoples.

Special Topics in Aboriginal Community Learning: Insider Account of Aboriginal Audiences (AEC3133 H)

Success stories with First Nation clients/students/employees are disproportionately low. Understanding the source of the First Nation individual’s perspective and lack of motivation could launch change in the achievement rate of institutions. While intergenerational trauma in the general Canadian Aboriginal community is explored as a barrier to success, solutions don’t seem to occupy as much time, energy and resources. This course while providing clarification of the problem of intergenerational learning will concentrate more on a foundation for solutions. This course will pave the way to an understanding that reprogramming best explains the solution to the rebirth and independence of the Aboriginal individual and community.

Special Topics in Aboriginal Community Learning: Current Issues and Practices (AEC3133 H)

This half course will be taught once a year by a visiting Aboriginal Elder, traditional teacher or community leader. Each visitor will call on his or her particular area of interest and experience to develop a course dealing with current issues of Aboriginal community development, learning and transformation. NOTE: Course descriptions will change year to year based on the expertise and experience of the instructor.

Special Topics in Aboriginal Community Learning: Current Issues and Practices: Engaging Aboriginal Youth (AEC3133 H)

This half course will take a candid look at how you can positively engage aboriginal communities, and in particular, youth. This course honours the oral tradition of Aboriginal communities and most of the knowledge- building will take place through relationships, discussion and conversation with Aboriginal youth community members. Participants will be assigned an Aboriginal youth partner by the instructor. This youth partner will assist the participant to fulfill course assignments. Participants will be given strategies on developing and delivering highly interactive seminars to engage Aboriginal youth. Participants will have the opportunity to practise these skills with an Aboriginal youth audience at the conclusion of the course.

Special Topics in Aboriginal Community Learning: Current Issues and Practices: Indigenous Approaches and Best Practices to Community Engagement (AEC3133 H)

This course will review emerging Indigenous approaches and Best Practices to community engagement. This course will begin with historical review of research dynamics within Indigenous communities. Students will be made aware of contemporary contributions of Indigenous academics to re-invent research best practices that show respect for distinct customary laws and diversity in Indigenous communities.

Special Topics in Sociological Research in Education: Aboriginal Politics, Communication, and Leadership (SES2999 H)

The threshold question for this course is-- How do traditions, contemporary realities, and personal commitments combine to create Aboriginal and Indigenous leaders? Using leadership profiles and case materials from North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa, we will critically examine how leadership is conceptualized and carried out by Aboriginal and Indigenous leaders. The intent of this course is not to develop leaders, but rather to explore Aboriginal and Indigenous leadership praxis, trends, issues, perspectives, and models of traditional leadership and governance. Our focus will be on the leadership styles and issues associated with assimilation, resistance, resurgence, nation building, and globalization. From Paulo Freire, we know that the "praxis" is what defines leadership. We also know that communication between and among leaders and followers is what gives rise to a people's vision, future direction, and action. Most likely, we have also observed that the backdrop for this interplay arises from the politics leading up to, and creating the moment that Aboriginal leaders in a variety of settings emerge out into the public eye. Theories of leadership, organizational behaviour discourse, and sociopolitical research, while seldom related to Aboriginal and Indigenous populations, will be utlized and expanded as tools for gaining insight into the cultural dynamics of leadership.

Special Topics in Sociological Research in Education: Aboriginal Peoples and the Politics of De-Colonizing (SES2999 H)

This course examines the intersections of Aboriginal and Indigenous perspectives and knowledges focusing on the voices of Aboriginal and Indigenous peoples. Through de-colonizing, we examine two sources of colonizing -- that from outside that is directed at Aboriginal and Indigenous peoples and that which is from within. The focus of the course is on decolonizing the mind by understanding the politics of colonization, de-universalizing language and language politics, examining politics and traditions and the practice of speaking out, exploring Indigenous approaches to healing, and challenging colonized culture and suppression agencies. Aboriginal and Indigenous peoples from around the world from around the world inform the examining of the everyday practices of resistance. Indigenous peoples globally experience colonization, its organization, maintenance structures and practices, as well as its mindset or way of seeing the world which enable the continuation of oppression. Resistance to oppression is conceptualized and reconceptualized in changing contexts by Indigenous peoples. Resources for decolonizing the mind include revitalization of traditional worldviews, honoring Indigenous knowledges, sustaining Indigenous languages, and challenging and reconceptualizing research practices.

Special Topics in Sociological Research in Education: Aboriginal Peoples and Citizenship: Decolonizing Perspectives (SES2999 H)

This course explores histories of racism, displacement and legal disenfranchisement that create citizenship injustices for Indigenous peoples in Canada. It aims to highlight a set of decolonizing perspectives on belonging and identity, to contest existing case law and policy, and to deconstruct the normative discourses of law, liberalism and cultural representation that inform and shape the relationship between Ongwehoweh (real people) and colonial-settler governments. The course is centered on exploring the challenges and contradictions raised by resurgence strategies and reparation involving citizenship from an anti-racist, anti-colonial and indigenous- centered perspective.

Special Topics in Sociological Research in Education: Aboriginal Women's Voices (SES2999 H)

Stories are told, poetry is written, engagement in activism unfolds, and critical reflection is expressed in Aboriginal women's texts. As Aboriginal women we speak out against injustices and for the lives and roles of women in community, focus upon healing communities, lives, and mother earth. The focus of the course is to hear Aboriginal women as they work to transform a consciousness theorizing from Aboriginal perspectives and reformulating feminisms from Indigenous perspectives.

Special Topics in Higher Education: Transformative Teaching in Higher Education (TPS1820 H)

This course will provide a comprehensive overview of the role of higher education teachers as cultural workers and political change agents. Literature from a variety of social critical perspectives and standpoints will be examined including anti-racism, anti-colonialism, feminism, queer theory, social class, and ablism. We will also examine literature on Aboriginal issues in Canadian higher education, and implications for teaching.


To add: Courses from Prof. Stewart, Njoki Wane and George Dei’s courses in SESE. Possibly Paul Olson’s courses too.

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