WORKING WITH NÊHIÝAW KNOWLEDGE KEEPERS TO DECOLONIZE ASSESSMENT PRACTICES USED IN GIFTED EDUCATION: A MIXED METHODS STUDY
Heiser, Michelle B 1978-
My research was driven by a conversation with two First Nations students who informed me that the gifted programs at our school were not for them. This conversation lead me to seek evidence for the meta-lesson delivered by their lack of representation, as the effect was marginalization for these students. I needed to define this problem of practice with evidence for the underrepresentation of this population within gifted programs. Thus, the first step of my research was to use quantitative data from one school division, which demonstrated that First Nations children are seriously underrepresented. I also needed to turn to the community to seek input and guidance in ways educational practice could be altered to more effectively identify and nurture the gifts of First Nations students. As the conception of giftedness seemed to be influenced by culture and language, and with guidance from the people within the First Nations community that I already had a relationship with, I focused my research within the Nêhiýaw [Cree] community. Another factor that lead to my decision to work specifically with this group included an understanding that I was working with a construct that is impacted by language and culture so focusing on one cultural was important. The method I used was mixed methods which allowed me to collect and correlate both quantitative and qualitative data. The quantitative data were used to frame the problem of practice and to help inform changes in practice. These data included gifted population representation rates and survey data from five gifted education teachers. The quantitative data were linked with the narratives provided by two Knowledge Keepers to provide insight for a working definition for giftedness and to infer possible changes for gifted educational practices. My findings showed that there are noteworthy differences in how giftedness is traditionally defined and nurtured by the Nêhiýaw. Using these new understandings I was able to create a working definition for giftedness as well as suggest some potential changes in practice for the identification and nurturing of Nêhiýaw gifted students.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
CommitteeKoole, Marguerite; Martin, Stephanie; Claypool, Tim
Copyright DateJune 2018