FOSTERING EFFECTIVE RELATIONSHIPS
My Field III experience was in Garden River, Alberta, a Cree nation on the edge of Wood Buffalo National Park. I have travelled and lived in many parts of the world but never before have I felt the impact and importance of fostering effective relationships with a community, their school, and their students as I have during this practicum. Honouring cultural diversity and promoting intercultural understanding is an active and ongoing part of every word that is exchanged and every lesson that is delivered. Part of the success of forming these relationships stem from previous discoveries made during a musical collaboration with other Indigenous Elders, knowledge keepers and cultural advisors that were brought into a teaching environment where I learned first hand how to listen, learn and respect their teachings.
The following artefacts are; (1) tokens of appreciation from music students I was honoured to work with,
(2) a final Christmas Concert with the Cree students of Sister Gloria, (3) and a sample of a collaboration that aided me on my musical journey with Indigenous Peoples.
After graduating with a BMus I became a professional touring musician, school band clinician/guest conductor, arts administrator and business owner for 25 years before the call of teaching was too strong to ignore. I have made a life of engaging in career-long learning and understand the importance of keeping up to date with multiple industries, philosophies, teaching techniques, trends, and maintaining an awareness of emerging technologies to enhance knowledge and inform practice. Our experience at UCalgary opened doors by collaborating with other teachers to build personal and collective professional capacities and expertise and my time with the Cree community of Garden River has been pivotal in enhancing understanding of First Nations, Métis and Inuit world-views, cultural beliefs, languages and values.
The following artefacts show an example of the importance of collaborating with colleagues using digital storytelling as well as my PURE Award paper that addresses the challenge of teaching Indigenous music in a non-Indigenous classroom.