Honouring our stories: Aboriginal primary students sense of belonging in public school classrooms
Aboriginal students’ graduation rates are not at par with their non Aboriginal peers in the public school system. This research is an inquiry into the effects of talking circles grounded in the traditional values of listening, mutual respect, speaking from the heart and kindness and cooperation on Aboriginal primary students’ self esteem in a public school Aboriginal Primary Program. A qualitative study was conducted using traditional talking circles honouring students’ and parents’ stories in discussing the effects of talking circles on the children’s self esteem in learning. The four major themes spoken in transcription of the stories were that the talking circles provide a safe environment for students to speak their feelings in conflict resolution, the students feel listened to, respected, honoured and recognized in learning, the students feel a sense of belonging, confidence and pride in learning about their culture and the students become stronger learners, parents become better parents and the talking circles support community building. Results suggest a need for talking circles in all classrooms in public schools and leadership in this direction has begun as a result of this inquiry.