A case study of integrating Inuuqatigiit into a Nunavut junior high school classroom
DeMerchant, Richard V.
The study examines a Nunavut teacher's view of the advantages and challenges to integrating Inuuqatigiit : The Curriculum from the Inuit Perspective into a junior high school science classroom. Student views were gathered to triangulate the teacher's view. This case study of integration drew on evidence from semi-structured interviews, talking circles and classroom observations, over a four month period. The research showed that while there are many challenges to incorporating Inuuqatigiit into a junior high school science classroom, there are many benefits. The teacher participant, Kublu (pseudonym), identified the following advantages: (1) the inclusion of familiar (local) contexts for students to learn science in, (2) the contextual base for the teacher to understand the students, (3) an increase in student self-esteem, (4) the identification of students as valued holders of knowledge, (5) increased value and pride in Inuinnaqtun, and (6) the teacher's personal growth in learning about another culture. Challenges to incorporating Inuuqatigiit included: (1) interrupted time allotments for classes and courses, (2) additional planning time, (3) provincial exams, and (4) insufficient administrative support. General challenges to teaching Inuit children affected the success of integration as well: (1) students' loss of language and cultural identity, (2) poor student attendance, (3) wide ranging academic levels within the classroom, and (4) the lack of basic physiological needs for some students. For Kublu the advantages outweighed the challenges, sufficiently for her to invest time and energy at integrating Inuuqatigiit into her future science courses. The following potential avenues for future research were identified: (1) the development of a consensus on what Inuuqatigiit integration looks like in a "science classroom," (2) the direction of Inuuqatigiit integration, (3) the success rates of students who are taught using Inuuqatigiit within their education system, (4) the students' perceptions of Inuuqatigiit, (5) the effects of the community language' usage and Inuuqatigiit integration, and (6) the role that age of the student plays in Inuuqatigiit integration.