M’CHIGEENG –”Of the many tasks that schools are responsible for, there are few more important than supporting students to become confident in their ability to solve problems. In today’s education system a big component of this confidence stems from the ability to read, write and comprehend. Research has shown that reading AT grade 3 BY the end of grade 3 will allow our students to continue into the junior, intermediate and senior grades with a “reading to learn” mentality.
The Confident Learners team spans across many First Nation schools in Canada. They have worked tirelessly to assist our teachers by giving them the tool to use data effectively, set high but achievable expectations for students, and assist parents in a way that addresses the challenges we all face.
We are confident in this initiative’s professional development framework, in it’s research, and in it’s potential to have all of our students entering into the junior division with the literacy skills that will allow them to be confident in themselves and successful in their educational endeavours.”
Neil Debassige, Principal
“I am so pleased to be here for the launch of Confident Learners at Lakeview School, M’Chigeeng First Nation. Witnessing the success of its students in developing their reading skills is especially rewarding.
Confident Learners is a scalable school-based program designed to increase the literacy skills of children in First Nations communities. It entails a ‘pathway approach’ to instruction and assessment that is based on the science of literacy and linked to teaching activities that support First Nations language and culture. Confident Learners also includes a professional development program for teachers aimed at increasing their professional knowledge of the science of literacy skill development and its application in First Nations settings; a family and community literacy program that strives to strengthen families’ contributions to their children’s skill development; and a training program for aides and volunteers who are supporting children’s literacy development.
Confident Learners focuses on the development of literacy skills during the primary school years, because learning to read fluently and with confidence opens up many learning opportunities for learning through their school career and thereafter. To become a confident learner, First Nations children need many and varied learning opportunities for increasing their literacy skills that are grounded in their culture. Culture is important because it is related to the processes of learning, or what is sometimes called “ways of knowing”. During the early years it is the songs, the art, the stories, and the games of one’s culture that build pride and create a foundation for learning. But at the same time, there is a well-developed science of literacy skill development that transcends cultures. There is also a strong science on the kinds of teaching strategies that are effective for most students.
Becoming a confident learner does not happen overnight. Success in developing each literacy skill leads to greater engagement when learning the next skill. The experience of small successes, one after another, builds confidence.
The students and staff at Lakeview School have been a key partner in the development of Confident Learners. They have been working with the researchers in developing the program and at the same time working with the elders and parents of the Lakeview community to ensure their children are exposed to many and varied learning opportunities that are grounded in their local culture and based on the science of literacy and learning.”
Douglas Willms, Canada Research Chair in Literacy and Human Development at the University of New Brunswick
“As the FNSSP Program Manager, I am extremely excited to see the official launch of the Confident Learners, as we are extremely grateful for being selected as the Ontario aggregate representative. Confident Learners has been the first ever initiative that we have been involved in building, with and for our learners, which will benefit our learners nation to nation. We are also benefitting from creating lesson plans to support developing language revitalization efforts in Ojibwe. I am excited to see this initiative unfold in our nine participating elementary schools. “
Director of School Services
For more information on the Confident Learners, you can visit the website at http://confidentlearners.com. Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute is located on Mnidoo Mnising (Manitoulin Island, ON) is one of eight members within the Aboriginal Institutes Consortium in Ontario. KTEI and its AIC members are dedicated to providing relevant, community based education for Aboriginal students of all ages. For more information on KTEI services, programs and events go to www.ktei.net or facebook.com/Kenjgewin-Teg-Educational-Institute.
Debbie Debassige, OCT
Director of School Services, Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute