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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 important ideas are implied by the resource, but not taught explicitly?

  • It is implied by this resource that Inuit children have a lot in common with children in other parts of Canada and around the world.

Relevant Curriculum Units

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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
Bias Minimization 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.
Bias Minimization: Presents as many different points of view as necessary to fairly address the issue(s).
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:

The resource effectively addresses multiple dimensions of problems and solutions. These should include the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

Respects Complexity Satisfactory
Respects Complexity: The complexity of problems is respected. A systems-thinking approach is encouraged.
Action Experience Poor/Not considered
  • There is no action project associated with this resource.
Action Experience: Provides opportunities for authentic action experiences in which students can work to make positive change in their communities.
  • Poor = action activities poorly developed
  • Satisfactory = action opportunities are extensions instead of being integral to the main part of the activity
Action Skills Poor/Not considered
  • There are no skills explicitly taught in this resource.
Action Skills: Explicitly teaches the skills needed for students to take effective action (e.g. letter-writing, consensus-building, etc.).
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: Actively encourages a personal affinity with non-humans and with Earth. For example, this may involve practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors.
Locally-Focused 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: Encourages learning that is locally-focused/made concrete in some way and is relevant to the lives of the learners.
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.

Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Learning Good
  • This resource does a good job of touching on many curriculum areas including math, social studies and science.
Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Learning: Multidisciplinary= addresses a number of different subjects Interdisciplinary= integrated approach that blurs subject lines Good: The resource provides opportunities for learning in a number of traditional 'subject' areas (eg. Language Arts, Science, Math, Art, etc.). Very Good: The resource takes an integrated approach to teaching that blurs the lines between subject boundaries.
Discovery Learning Satisfactory
  • There are some research projects included within the resource.
Discovery Learning:

Learning activities are constructed so that students discover and build knowledge for themselves and develop largely on their own an understanding of concepts, principles and relationships. They often do this by wrestling with questions, and/or solving problems by exploring their environment, and/or physically manipulating objects and/or performing experiments.

  • Satisfactory = Students are provided with intriguing questions, materials to use & some direction on how to find answers. The learning involves unique experience & provides some opportunity for an 'ah-hah' event
  • Good = Students are provided with intriguing questions, materials to use, & make their own decisions on how to find answers. The learning involves unique experience & provides definite opportunity for an 'ah-hah' event.
  • Very Good = Students choose what questions to investigate as well as the materials/strategies to use to answer them.
Values Clarification 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 Clarification: Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
  • Poor = Students are not explicitly given an opportunity to clarify their own values.
  • Satisfactory = Students are given a formal opportunity to clarify their own values. The range of perspectives in the resource is limited, therefore, students do not have an appropriate amount of information to clarify their own values.
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 learning styles/different intelligences. They teach to both cognitive and affective domains. Accommodations are suggested for people with learning 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: Direct, authentic experiences are used.
  • Satisfactory = simulation
  • Good = authentic experience
  • Very Good = authentic experience related to the primary goal of the lesson
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 used. Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events in real situations that can be used to examine 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.