Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 53

53 Arctic Yearbook 2014 The final stage of the process was 13 student focus group / sharing circles interviews which took place in 9 communities. This method fits a critical social science research approach, and was designed respecting Indigenous research methodologies. This involved considering the importance of relationship building in the research process, a holistic interpretation of participants’ information, and the use of storytelling methods (Wilson 2008; Kovach 2009; Thomas 2008). Collaborating with the NWT and Nunavut module writing team, the author designed research methodology and survey tools, coordinated survey and data collection and facilitated student sharing circles across eight regional school districts in the NWT and Nunavut.8 The study of the second edition module, conducted in 2013-2014, consisted of surveys and interviews with six teachers representing three regional school districts in the NWT. Findings Teachers Teachers across both territories reported increased confidence in their own abilities. Teachers felt they could develop student understandings of historical significance, foster deliberation amongst their students, support skills that enhance historical perspective taking, and help students develop empathy. Teachers also reported feeling more prepared to build community centered classrooms. The increase in teachers’ sense of confidence and skill in being able to facilitate learning for their students, known as teacher self-efficacy, is an encouraging finding in the NWT and Nunavut. There are major advantages of efficacious teachers in the classroom. They demonstrate higher professional commitment, are more likely to persist with struggling students, and to experiment with methods of instruction. Teacher beliefs about their effectiveness are also powerfully related to student outcomes, and influence students’ own sense of being capable and motivated (Colardarci 1992; Gibson & Dembo 1984; Allinder 1994; Barr 2010). The results of the territorial pilot research indicated that in-service training increased teachers’ sense of ability to facilitate change in their students. All teachers participating in this study reported that they increased their understanding of the history of residential schools in Canada after receiving training and then teaching the module. For teachers, the most effective aspects of their training were experiences with former residential school students, their training session on getting the module started, and seeing the module’s activities modeled. These teacher-training strategies, reported as very powerful, have the potential to be successfully replicated in future teacher-training. In 20132014, teachers’ perceived growth in their own awareness, enhanced understandings of historical significance, and increase in knowledge about residential schools led them to report more meaningful interactions in relationships with students and parents. However, for the 2013-2014 year, the territories shifted to a regionally delivered teacher-training model, rather than the territory wide model used at the module’s inception in 2012. Teachers reported inconsistencies in training between regions. While some training was perceived as excellent preparation, other teachers noted that the 2013-2014 training would not be adequate for new An Ethical Space for Dialogue About Difficult History