Setting good footprints: reconstructing wholistic success of Indigenous students in higher education

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Date
2012-01-06
Authors
Richard, Audrey L.
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Abstract
The study explores why some Indigenous students succeed in higher learning despite challenges faced and to what extent was wholistic success impacted by efficacy of wholistic learner supports. Through Indigenous Wholism that integrates the Circle Teaching (Rice, 2005, p. xi) and Mino-Pimatisiwin defined by Hart (2002), experiences of seven graduated and present post-secondary Indigenous students were explored. Special attention was focussed on strengths and challenges. Primary data collection methods consisted of Sharing Circles that provided group learning interaction; and semi-structured interviews that provided personal space for in-depth conversations. The factors that affect and promote wholistic success were grouped under three main areas: systemic and structural, social and cultural, and personal. Findings indicate six areas affecting wholistic success: (1) colonial relationships; (2) financial barriers; (3) fear of failure; (4) disempowerment; (5) sense of belonging; and (6) identity. Main factors promoting wholistic success are relational that include engaging interactions in safe learning spaces.
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Indigenous, studies
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