Exploring the arts as a means to affect Aboriginal students’ self-concept
In 2014 the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal student graduation rates in British Columbia was 24% (British Columbia Ministry of Education, 2014). The current researcher wondered what, if any, impact this reality had on Aboriginal students’ self-concept. The aim of this research was to engage Aboriginal students within an arts-based project and explore the possible affect that being involved in such activities may have on students’ selfconcept. Using a mixed methods approach, including both quantitative and qualitative research methods, eight participants provided data pertaining to their perceived academic ability, involvement in the arts, and their overall self-concept. Likert responses were tabulated and organized into a table and a bar graph, while open-ended responses were arranged in tables and analyzed. Four participants also elected to participate in an optional 1-on1 interview. Interview responses were coded and presented as individual case studies that the current researcher used to establish emergent themes and patterns. The results of the data indicated that involvement in arts-based activities can have a positive impact on Aboriginal students’ self-concept and warranted further pursuit in this area. If students, Aboriginal or otherwise, think more positively about themselves, then perhaps they will feel more confident and capable of attaining their academic goals and bridge the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students’ graduation rates.