Talking Circle V: Indigenizing the Classroom

July 14, 2022 from 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm

Room Number: TRS 1-073

Facilitator: Jennifer Meness (Toronto Metropolitan U)

Questions to Consider:

  1. What kinds of Indigenizing strategies have you experienced or employed in your classes?
  2. What were the results? Were the strategies successful? How did you know?
  3. Did you receive any push back from your students? If so, how did you handle them?
  4. What tips or suggestions do you have for educators looking to Indigenize learning for their students? 

What is a Talking Circle?

Talking circles are inspired by Indigenous practice. These discussion circles will take the gathering outside the colonial frame by ceding the claim to knowing and authority presumed by the lecturer at the front of the room or by the panel of speakers who read papers and answer questions. Conversation or talking circles provide time for each participant to share. This slowed down pace of discussion creates an atmosphere of respect which also allows for emotional and spiritual ideas to enter into the discussion. 

In the circle, everyone is equal and interconnected. You have a right to pass in the circle, but are encouraged to share, because your voice, thoughts, ideas and opinions matter – this is how we learn to walk together in a good way. When sharing, use “I” statements. We honour lived experience. Focus your positive attention on the person sharing. Consider the possibility that there may be more for you to learn and benefit from, than what you’re currently aware of, or have experienced.

Based on the teachings of Dr. Willie Ermine – Cree Elder, Ethicist & Assistant Professor at First Nations University

Additional material provided by Jerri-Lynn Orr, Indigenous Curriculum Specialist, Lakehead University