Stories from the circle: exploring reflective schooling experiences with Wolastoqi and Mi'kmaq recent high school graduates

dc.contributor.advisorMorrison, William
dc.contributor.authorTrenholm, Andrea Lauren
dc.description.abstractImproving educational experiences and academic outcomes for First Nations students has become a central priority across Canada (Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, 2010). However, the voices and perspectives of First Nations students themselves are largely missing from both policy and research reports. Instead, existing literature adopts a deficit model that focuses predominantly on those who drop out of school. This dissertation builds on the premise that the dominant negative portrayal of First Nations students may be hindering efforts to improve education for First Nations youth by perpetuating and sustaining stereotypes. This is problematic for current students, and does not reflect the reality in New Brunswick, where the majority of First Nations students are graduating. In an effort to address this inequity and disrupt the discourse of deficit that has dominated the field of First Nations education, this dissertation explores the question “what was school like” for successful Wolastoqi and Mi’kmaq high school graduates. Guided by an Indigenous research paradigm interwoven with a narrative inquiry methodology, I explored “stories of school” with seven Wolastoqi and Mi’kmaq high school graduates. Using a sharing circle and individual interviews, participants were engaged as collaborators and co-creators of this study. Narrative analyses—re-presented stories of participants accounts—were conducted to transport readers into the narrative worlds of students, and to honour the role of storytelling in Wolastoqey and Mi’kmaq First Nations. A thematic analysis and discussion of the data supplements the narrative analyses, and begins new conversations about personal, institutional, and familial factors that were important in shaping participants’ experiences in schools. Participants’ stories offer hope to communities, educators and current and future generations of First Nations youth by demonstrating that academic success is possible. However, their stories also reveal that the struggle to find a place in mainstream public schools is also experienced by those who succeed academically and go on to graduate. Theirs are strong voices; voices that are needed in the discussion on improving education for First Nations students in this province.
dc.description.copyright© Andrea Lauren Trenholm, 2019
dc.format.extentxix, 451 pages
dc.publisherUniversity of New Brunswick
dc.titleStories from the circle: exploring reflective schooling experiences with Wolastoqi and Mi'kmaq recent high school graduates
dc.typedoctoral thesis of Philosophy of New Brunswick


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