Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Knowledge and Learning
Tier 2 - 2006-01-01
University of Victoria
Social Sciences and Humanities
Studying language in indigenous communities, indigenous perspectives on teaching and learning, and indigenous science and environmental knowledge for school curricula.
The research is guiding the inclusion of indigenous knowledge in school and university curricula, research programs, and policies.
Indigenous Knowledge and Learning
Canada Research Chair Dr. Lorna Williams knows that to be a good teacher, you need to know something about your students. She believes one of the ways to improve the success rates among Aboriginal children in British Columbia's education system is to make sure that school teachers learn about their future students. "All teachers need to know something about teaching Aboriginal children," says Williams. "There are Aboriginal students in all school districts in this province; in some districts they make up more than 50 percent of the student population." For this reason, Williams is contributing to changes in the school teaching curricula. She wants to see indigenous perspectives and values asserted and promoted within the traditions of teaching and learning in Canada.
Ensuring that teachers learn more about their Aboriginal students is only part of Williams' goal as a Canada Research Chair, however. She also recognizes that language is a vital key in this process. Her studies on indigenous languages and cultures are helping to advance our understanding of indigenous perspectives on language and language learning, as well as providing substance for innovative curriculum designs. At the University of Victoria, her research and teaching are done through a joint appointment between the faculty of education and the department of linguistics.
Williams' research goals include the design of university programs to support indigenous language speakers as teachers and community activists in indigenous language renewal. She is also promoting the development of graduate programs in educational and community counselling, in environmental and First Nations education, and in indigenous language revitalization. At the university, she is not only overseeing a variety of curriculum and program changes, but also directing and carrying out research on indigenous languages, cultures, and education. In the process, she is helping to strengthen the network of indigenous scholars and researchers at the university and throughout Canada.