It may seem odd to begin a review with the work and words of an entirely different author, but these are unprecedented times and it is always recommended to start where we are at.
In recent weeks, the work of Jody Carrington has taken the education world by storm. Her message of authentic relationship and connection is timely and important as we shift our practice to keep each other safe. However, Jody herself openly acknowledges that this isn’t necessarily a new approach. In fact, she reflects back to a time when parenting and educating happened with a great deal more proximity, which made our jobs of connecting much easier. Today, educators continuously seek new ways to connect with and meet the needs of all of our students. Most importantly, today we have an opportunity to shift perspectives and begin with voices that place Indigenous concepts and ideals within the choir of relevant sources.
In Teaching Each Other, Linda and Keith Goulet provide a voice for teachers that speaks from within the Cree concept of kiskinaumatowin, or “teaching each other,”. They lead by example through learning to connect and educate using the techniques our grandmothers have used for centuries. However, this isn’t the just any old relationship, in their own words, “[E]ffective teaching for Indigenous students is about relationships and connections – that is, relationships between teacher and student, among students in the class, and connections to the content and process of learning” (p.78).
Goulet and Goulet advocate for connecting student and teacher by using the teaching strategies of the Nehinuw way of life. The model has four sections: connection to process (culturally responsive learning environment), connection to content (culturally meaningful knowledge construction), relationship with the student (culturally affirming interpersonal relationships), and relationships among students (respectful social systems). Teachers are welcomed to a path that would support them in delivering content through Indigenous strategies and an Indigenous worldview. Notably, the pedagogy shared by the authors works to build personal power within the learner, flattening the typical hierarchical structure of a classroom. Throughout the book, the authors provide detailed case studies of educators who successfully incorporate Indigenous methodologies to enhance their teaching techniques. In fact, **spoiler alert**, one of the educators featured is our very own Angie Caron.
As an educator, and a mother, it is my recommendation that this book be available to all teachers working in Canada. It would be of great value to provide Teaching Each Other to new and seasoned teachers alike as the techniques incorporate a two-eyed seeing uniquely suited for all classrooms. The book provides a blueprint for responsive teaching styles and thought processes that incorporate an Indigenous framework. Within departments and buildings the chapters could provide a model for professional development for teachers to shift into a practice that builds relationships from a place of equity and inclusivity.