Engaging Aboriginal students through the circle of courage
Aboriginal students continue to demonstrate a lack of engagement and success in their schooling in comparison to their non-Aboriginal classmates. Positive studentteacher relationships, focused on the teachings of the Circle of Courage, can help better engage our struggling Aboriginal learners. A mixed methods study was conducted to examine the data that was provided from both students and teachers by completing a survey about engaging Aboriginal students through the teachings of the Circle of Courage. The students that participated in the study were graduates of the Aboriginal Outreach (ABOUT) Program. Teacher participants came from two secondary schools in Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools (NLPS) and ranged in the teaching experience. Creating a strong sense of belonging through positive student-teacher relationships and providing teachers with more engagement strategies were successful strategies that allowed Aboriginal students to become more engaged in their learning. Teachers require more support in learning more about Aboriginal history and perspectives in order to successfully engage our struggling Aboriginal students. Results suggest a need for a clear model of ways to engage our struggling Aboriginal learners.