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Through Mala's Eyes

Secondary, Elementary, Middle

Description

Through Mala's Eyes takes a look at the Inuit community and helps students understand and appreciate one of the diverse cultures that exist within Canada. This resource looks at the life of an Inuit community in northern Quebec, through the eyes of Mala, a twelve year old Inuk boy. Through his first person narratives, Mala provides interesting background information about life in his community.

 Students will:

  • engage students in reflecting about the diversity of Inuit cultures of Canada.
  • prepare a learning journal to collect information
  • explain the connection between the Inuit way of life and the animals in their environment
  • discover the various Inuit groups in the Arctic and where they are located
  • collect information to share and present to their peers
  • participate in activities that are intended to help build an appreciation of this diverse culture
  • learn and appreciate the strong traditions and unique

 

General Assessment

Strengths

  • This is an excellent resource for teaching students about Inuit life. This resource speaks directly to students as it is given from the point of view of a twelve year old child. Students ages nine to fourteen should enjoy relating to these stories. It is rare to find a resource about Inuit life that is this modern, positive and engaging.
  • There are a variety of activities included within the resource, and teachers are encouraged to choose those which best apply to their classroom. There is also a lot of good background information provided in the resource, such as a glossary of Inuit terms and the Inuit alphabet. As well, online links are provided for more information.

Weaknesses

  • The reading level of the texts provided may be too difficult for students at the suggested age levels (age 9-12). There is often a lot of text presented on a single page, which may be intimidating to some students, particularly the French text for French Immersion students.
  • The resource is missing is an assessment tool for the teacher, perhaps in the form of a rubric or a checklist. Self-assessment opportunities are also lacking.

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • This resource does not teach skills. Rather, it offers information about Inuit life from the point of view of an Inuit child.

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Themes Addressed

  • Human Rights (1)

    • Cultural Diversity
  • Indigenous Knowledge (2)

    • Rituals, Spirituality and Worldviews
    • TEK -- Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good
  • This resource is meant to be informative in nature. It is presented from the point of view of a person native to and living with Canada's Inuit population in modern times. While the resource does address the roles of different members of a family, it lacks in presenting a female view of the society and culture.
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:

Satisfactory- absence of bias towards any one point of view

Good- students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed

Very good- based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good
  • The resource addresses many aspects of traditional and modern Inuit life, such as environmental stewardship, wildlife study and the importance of community and family.
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  •  Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Satisfactory
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered
  • There is no action project associated with this resource.
Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  •  Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Very Good
  • Students are asked to brainstorm what they know about the Inuit at the beginning of the unit. They are then asked to revisit their beliefs at the end of the unit. Reflection is an important part of each lesson.
Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Very Good
  • Empathy and respect are fostered for the Inuit people throughout this resource.
Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Good
Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  •  Satisfactory:   connection is made to the natural world
  • Good:  fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good:  fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Very Good
  • Students should be able to relate to Mala, the boy in this resource, as his life is similar in many ways to other Canadian children.
Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  •  Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Very Good
  • The resource addresses Northern life in the past, the present and the future in a very positive manner.
Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Satisfactory
  • Some lessons expect one fact-finding, information-type answer, while others lead students to make comparisons between Inuit lives and their own.
Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good
  • This resource does a good job of touching on many curriculum areas including math, social studies and science.
Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  •  Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Satisfactory
  • There are some research projects included within the resource.
Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  •  Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Good
  • There is an excellent variety of learning styles addressed in this resource as it incorporates reading, writing, discussion, technology, art and math.
Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  •  Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Satisfactory
  • There is an opportunity within this resource to visit a museum online at www.virtualmuseum.ca
  • It is mentioned at the beginning of the resource that students can participate in a pen-pal exchange with Inuit children but this is not explained anywhere in the lessons.
Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  •  Satisfactory: learning is made concrete. Working with real objects,  using real sources of information
  • Good: learning takes place in a real-world context. Simulation, mentorship
  • Very good: learning provides experience beyond the classroom.  Addressing real world issues and problems 
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory
Cooperative Learning: Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
  • Satisfactory = students work in groups
  • Good = cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good = cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Good
  • There are many opportunities provided within this resource for reflection, including some important guided questioning. There is also a variety of activities offered within these lessons. What is missing is an assessment tool for the teacher, perhaps in the form of a rubric or a checklist. Self-assessment opportunities are also lacking.
Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory
  • There is incidental teaching with the creation of student partnerships and group work.
Peer Teaching: Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
  • Satisfactory = incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good = an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Good
  • While there are no specific case studies, students will be able to relate to the child in the resource as he has many things in common with other Canadian children.
Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Good
  • There is some opportunities for students to make choices with regards to the area of study they wish to focus on within the resource.
Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.