Sunday, January 10, 2010

Innovative Aboriginal learning project showing promise in Prince Rupert

A pilot project initiated by Simon Fraser University is being credited with boosting aboriginal children's learning in the Prince Rupert area.

The program is known as LUCID and stands for Learning for Understanding through Culturally Inclusive Imaginative Development, is in place in four intermediate classrooms with School District 52, and uses culturally relevant stories, games and images to spark children’s imaginative thinking about concepts and facts in the K-12 curriculum, moving beyond the traditional delivery of educational services through textbooks, worksheets and tests.

The hope is to engage the students in the process in intermediate grades and have that sense of learning and achievement carry through into the high school years, boosting the graduation rate of aboriginal students to beyond the current level of 49percent. The rate of graduations for non aboriginal students is 79 percent at the moment.

Prince Rupert is one of three communities in British Columbia using the LUCID program so far, adapting SFU education professor Kieran Egan’s imaginative education-based teaching strategies for classrooms with a high aboriginal population.

According to Mark Fettes, an education professor and LUCID director, Prince Rupert teachers have reported back a success rate showing a 10- to 33-per-cent improvement in students’ attendance and improved academic performance with the program in place.

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