McGill Knowledge Synthesis projects featured in SSHRC’s report on Indigenous research in Canada

Two McGill research projects called for transformative change in Canadian education

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) released their report, Toward a successful shared future for Canada: Research insights from the knowledge systems, experiences and aspirations of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples,” in July 2018, highlighting SSHRC’s commitment to Indigenous research in Canada, as part of the Imagining Canada’s Future Initiative.

In 2016, SSHRC launched a funding opportunity for Imagining Canada’s Future Knowledge Synthesis, to assess the overall quality of existing research and identify key strengths and gaps surrounding knowledge systems, experiences and aspirations of Indigenous peoples in Canada. SSRHC awarded funding to 28 research projects for their promising policies and practices in academic, private, non-for-profit and public policy sectors, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

The SSHRC report summarizes the findings of the 28 knowledge synthesis reports and insights from discussions between researchers, students, leaders from Indigenous communities, and the public. Overall, the findings call for future research to be more participatory and collaborative, led by Indigenous communities, and grounded in Indigenous worldviews and approaches to research. The comprehensive message from the 28 reports was that meaningful and inclusive dialogue between communities, researchers and all levels of government is critical to building upon and applying resulting knowledge.

Two McGill research projects funded by SSHRC’s Knowledge Synthesis grants were highlighted in the SSHRC report based on their common goal of transformational change in education. The projects advocate collaborative teaching and learning approaches between Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures, particularly in teaching methods required for STEM curricula and to train future professionals working specifically with Indigenous children.

Advancing Indigenous pedagogy on childhood: Identifying priorities for professional education

Franco Carnevale (PI), Delphine Collin-Vezina, Mary Ellen Macdonald, Martin Morris, Victoria Talwar and Shauna Van Praagh, McGill University

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has called for improvements in postsecondary education to better assist professionals who work with Indigenous children. However, little practical guidance exists on how to achieve these improvements. This review of approaches for educating such professionals found a rich diversity of documented teaching and learning strategies. However, there is little consistency in evidence about the outcomes of these strategies for professionals or the Indigenous communities they serve. A significant gap exists in information about how to prepare future professionals to work specifically with Indigenous children. Read the full report.

How we are coming to know: Ways in which Indigenous and non-Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and doing might circulate together in mathematics and science teaching and learning

Dawn Wiseman (PI), McGill University; Florence Glanfield, University of Alberta; and Lisa Lunney Borden, St. Francis Xavier University

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has called for Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods to be integrated into curricula for K-12 and teacher education. In math and science, it is particularly challenging to reconcile tensions between different worldviews and understandings. Moving towards an educational system where Indigenous and western ways of knowing, being and doing “circulate together” in mathematics and science teaching and learning requires questioning the assumptions underlying the current system. More attention should be paid to working relationally alongside communities, unlearning colonialism, the role of language, and training for preservice and in-service teachers. Read the full report.