Teachers' Perceptions of First Nations, Metis and Inuit Students in Alberta Public School Classrooms
This qualitative inquiry explored a grounded theory of leadership by examining the perceptions of classroom teachers regarding the First Nations students in their schools. The sample came from three schools in Southern Alberta Canada. Included, were 15 teachers of grades one through nine. Data were collected during two interviews. The first interview involved the teachers telling stories involving any of their students. The second interview consisted of the researcher asking specific questions that focused on the First Nations students in that particular teacher's classroom.
Three coding procedures were used in this study: (a) open coding, (b) axial coding and (c) selective coding. The first procedure, open coding, identified the concepts or categories in the data: "family influences," "teacher as rescuer," "academics," "school expectations," and "student attitude." Next, a micro-analysis occurred using an axial coding procedure. This procedure related the categories to their subcategories, linking the categories by describing their properties and dimensions. Finally, the data was subjected to a selective coding process. This stage of analysis revealed a core category, which is related to the other categories. This core category labeled, "Teacher Perceptions of the Challenges Faced by FNMI students in Public Schools," is described through a narrative report that forms the basis of the study's findings. This core category also demonstrated the interrelationships between all other categories.
The first of the two major findings from this study recognized that teachers perceived themselves as rescuers of First Nations students and as such believe that First Nations students can succeed only to the degree that they conform to non-First Native expectations. A second finding concluded that non-First Nations teachers are struggling to build a racial identity that values the cultural strengths of First Nations students. This study concluded by proposing that, while we cannot overlook the challenges faced by First Nations students, they also come to school with strengths that we must discover and utilize to bring to reality the vast potential that they possess.
Advisor:William P McCaw; Neldon Hatch; Darrell Stolle; Francee O'Reilly; Don Robson
School:The University of Montana
School Location:USA - Montana
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:school of education
Date of Publication:10/01/2008