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  1. CMEC’s Educators Forum on Aboriginal EducationDecember 1 – 3Winnipeg, MB Presented by: Dr. Karen Rempel, Centre for Aboriginal and Rural Education Studies, Faculty of Education, Brandon University

  2. Objectives of this presentation are to: • Present the VOICE project • Describe lessons learned to date • Encourage discussion in order to benefit from your experience VOICE for Children and Youth

  3. Orienting the research

  4. What is the VOICE project? • VOICE – Vital Outcome Indicators for Community Engagement (VOICE) for children and youth • 2011 Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) • 5 yr funding , $1M • University College of the North is co-applicant • 18 other partners including First Nations, Metis organizations, school divisions, educational authorities and agencies, gov’t and business

  5. Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) requirements: • strong community-based partnership including financial and / or in-kind commitments from communities • communities and researchers are ‘true’ partners (co-create and use knowledge) • evidence of progress on a yearly basis • joint governance and management of project VOICE for Children and Youth

  6. Most importantly, we must: • Demonstrate how we have used the research (e.g., programs, policies) with communities • Demonstrate an impact on university curricula - In our case the teacher education programs of our major partner the University College of the North and the Faculty of Education at Brandon University VOICE for Children and Youth

  7. This leads to the question - how did we get here? A story • it all started with Sarah G. a teacher in a northern MB community • 5 different funding grants; about 20 different ‘indicators’ to measure / gather evidence e.g., student failures (behaviour, attendance, drop-out rates) VOICE for Children and Youth

  8. The problem (s) • Little or no capacity to gather, analyze or most importantly…USE the data • Timing - functionality of the data greatly diminishes over time! VOICE for Children and Youth

  9. What we going to do? Core activities over 5 years • Develop ‘capacity’ in the community • Community circles • Research protocols based on the principles of OCAP • Community-based research practitioners through teachers, community people who are BU grad students or UCN students • Develop success indicators with the community (Key involvement of Community Circle) • Support and/or implement SUCCESS pathways based on the community • Develop community capacity to evaluate of pathways • Co-create and share knowledge using technology, meetings, community events • Find ways to sustain SUCCESS pathways VOICE for Children and Youth

  10. Cycle of activities The Challenge Proposed Solutions Working in partnership, communities identify what they value in the development of children and youth “What does success mean?” To work in partnership with First Nation, Métis, Inuit and northern communities to identify their own indicators of success (vital outcome indicators) for children and youth in their communities. Actions Outcomes Working in partnership, communities develop sustainable action plans that engage youth to address challenges and measure them using community developed vital outcome indicators Increased capacity to identify and use success pathways for children and youth in the community Working in partnership, communities develop vital outcome indicators “How do we measure it?” VOICE for Children and Youth

  11. Our governance structures VOICE for Children and Youth

  12. Lessons learned - To date • Research plan development • Development of letter of intent (June to September 2009) • Invitation to move to 2nd stage received March 2010. Full application due September 2010 • Award received March 2011. • Not quite – but really close to 2 year process. LESSONS LEARNED • Education research limited so we borrowed a lot from health research and community development including principles of Ownership, Possession, Access and Control (OCAP). • Developing partnership time consuming but worth the effort. Look out of the education box for partners i.e. local community, corporate sector. VOICE for Children and Youth

  13. Governance • Community circles, Steering Committee and Advisory Council Lessons Learned • “community” can be geographic or communities of interest • Steering Committee – willing and able partners but implementation may be challenging • Advisory Council – policy makers – for large picture and to help bring about impact of research activities in programs and practice

  14. 3. Geography Started off with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities north of 53 parallel in MB. Lessons Learned • youth transiency is provincial and even inter-provincial therefore much of the data are localized and likely not reflective of what is actually happening ex. Graduation rates • Pre-school and early years kids are also moving around a lot

  15. Residential school legacy Many Elders begin with or reflect on residential school experiences Lessons Learned • We underestimated the impact of residential schools on today’s aboriginal students • Our traditional model of schools (time, place, classrooms, pedagogy) reminds many of their residential school experiences. (e.g., lack of parental involvement in school)

  16. Politics Lots of partner and stakeholder interest and commitment to become involved Lessons Learned • Considerable willingness to participate but to date there is much more apprehension to actively engage. • Focus on ‘SUCCESS’ has been helpful. • Significant difference between ‘input’, ‘consultation’ and ‘engagement’ particularly with Aboriginal partners

  17. 6. Research and research ethics Research protocols as framework and research ethics for individual activities Lessons Learned • We underestimated the extent to which FNMI communities and organizations distrust of researchers, universities and research activities. • Chapter 9 of Tri-Council Policy EXTREMELY helpful. • Health is several years ahead of education regarding FNMI research on education. • Indigenous research methodology contrasts with ‘Western’ research methodology and requires paradigm shift of researchers.

  18. 7. Teacher education programs One of the SSHRC-CURA expectations are changes / modifications to university curricula. Our Faculty of Education (BU) and Kenanow Teacher Education(UCN) undergrad and grad programs expect changes. Lessons Learned • We knew it was an expectation but we now know that our teacher education programs MUST change. • New models of teacher education programs and school programs need research and development. E.g., alternative school and migrant curricula

  19. Relationships We had no idea about the importance of relationships – land, community, and kinship Lessons Learned • We must make the connections and develop relationships and this will take TIME. • AGAIN,…significant difference between ‘input’, ‘consultation’ and ‘engagement’ also reflects relationships

  20. Comments and discussions VOICE for Children and Youth