Group pitches programs to address shortage of Indigenous teachers in Winnipeg classrooms
Students need to see themselves reflected in school staff, report's authors say
Winnipeg schools need to dramatically increase the number of Indigenous teachers they hire in order to reflect the students who make up the populations of schools in the city, according a new report from the Winnipeg Indigenous Executive Circle.
The report, the second of its kind produced by the WIEC, contains eight calls to action, including a strategy to recruit dozens of aspiring Indigenous teachers each year by providing support to enable them to enrol in Bachelor of Education programs full-time.
"We know that currently what we're doing isn't working, and that we really need to have different pathways for our community to move into the faculties of education to become teachers," report author Heather McCormick said.
According to the report, the education programs at the University of Manitoba and University of Winnipeg have graduated an average of 35 students combined per year over the last two decades.
In order to have a proportionate number of Indigenous teachers compared with the number of Indigenous students, school divisions must hire 600 and 700 more Indigenous teachers in Winnipeg.
"So based on those numbers, it would take us close to 20 years to fill that gap," McCormick said.
In order for Indigenous students to succeed, they need to see themselves better reflected in the staff within the public education system, McCormick says.
"And certainly they don't see themselves as having a voice, so it's hard to aspire to goals that just don't seem don't seem at all achievable. It doesn't seem even in the realm of possibility," she said.
We know that currently what we're doing isn't working, and that we really need to have different pathways for our community to move into the faculties of education to become teachers. report author Heather McCormick said.- Heather McCormick, report author
The report proposes creating a Bachelor of Education in Indigenous Knowledges program, similar to the Masters of Social Work in Indigenous Knowledges program at the U of M.
It emphasizes the need to provide living allowances and tuition bursaries to enable students to attend education programs full-time.
According to the report, students in the Community Aboriginal Teacher Education Program at the U of W work as education assistants in several Winnipeg school divisions, and attend the program part-time at night and on weekends. They go on Employment Insurance from May to August to attend the program full-time
The program takes them eight years to graduate.
Between 2015 and 2021, an average of eight Indigenous students graduated from CATEP with B. Ed. per year, according to the report.
Strategy has 3 parts
The group's Indigenous Teacher Education Strategy has three parts.
First, it proposes the creation of a one-year job training program for 100 participants per year, over a five-year period, operated by the Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development.
Participants, drawn from Indigenous parents and adult learning centre participants interested in a career in education, would be placed in schools with large Indigenous student populations.
Then, graduates of community teacher service worker programs would be laddered into Bachelor of Education in Indigenous Knowledges program operated by Neeginan College, with federal funding for living allowances and tuition bursaries to support participants full-time, with the aim of with the aim of graduating 125 teachers over nine years.
In addition, Indigenous educational assistants would be laddered into the program at Neeginan College, also in the hope of graduating 125 teachers over nine years.
The report's authors say federal funding will be needed to make the programs work.