Partnering with Parents and Community Members in Education

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: social sciences, community engagement, education, educational development

Principal Investigator: Taylor, Donald M. (2)
Licence Number: 14523
Organization: McGill University
Licenced Year(s): 2010 2009
Issued: May 15, 2009
Project Team: Dan Daniels (Deputy Minister of Education, NWT) (co-investigator, Government of the NWT), Esther Usborne (Research Team Member, McGill University), Roxane de la Sablonniere (Research Team Member, Universite de Montreal), Qiallak Qumaaluk (Research Team Member, Kativik School Board)

Objective(s): The goals of the research are to:
1 - Support territorial ministries of education, regional education authorities and local communities to address the strategic educational challenges they face.
2 - Build the capacity within each territory/region that will enable individuals at the community, ministry and regional levels to acquire the skills and understanding necessary to undertake and apply community-based survey research.
3 - Undertake this work as a basis for pan-Inuit exchange involving the ministries of education, regional education authorities and communities in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut.

Project Description: All of the objectives of this research are designed to be beneficial to members of Inuit communities. The goals of the research are to:
1 - Support territorial ministries of education, regional education authorities and local communities to address the strategic educational challenges they face.
2 - Build the capacity within each territory/region that will enable individuals at the community, ministry and regional levels to acquire the skills and understanding necessary to undertake and apply community-based survey research.
3 - Undertake this work as a basis for pan-Inuit exchange involving the ministries of education, regional education authorities and communities in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut.

The approach adopted for this study involves the use of scientific survey research, not merely as a data gathering exercise, but as an innovative, community-based process to genuinely engage parents and communities, as well as educators and community leaders. The survey process is designed to stimulate constructive change in community norms. The ultimate aim is to create a genuine partnership between school, community and ministry or regional education authorities that will serve as the basis for a collaborative plan of action based on survey results. These plans of action will respond to the concerns identified by the communities and regions.
In addition, the training on community-based survey research skills will be critical in the long term and will contribute to ongoing refinement and implementation of policies and practices needed to continue to improve the overall effectiveness of education for people across the North.
The project will also bring together stakeholders from across the North with the goal of expanding and undertaking the exchange of knowledge between them and pull together existing strengths and experiences as a collective that assists in directing the research and implementing the actions developed.

A research team will travel to Paulatuk during the course of the study period. All data will be obtained in the form of surveys, which will be distributed by trained student researchers from Paulatuk. The survey includes questions pertaining to: participant demographics, language abilities, experiences with own education, current experiences with education, feelings about education in general and other questions that are designed to change community norms surrounding education and initiate positive change. A question bank was developed by the research team after holding workshops with a project working group made up of representatives from each Inuit region. Before the survey is conducted, a working group from the community will select which items from the question bank they want included in their specific community survey and add additional items that they may want addressed in the survey.

The entire project is designed as a community-based Inuit initiative. The researchers were asked by the Deputy Ministers of Education of Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and Nunatsiavut (Labrador), and by the Kativik School Board, Nunavik, Quebec to help conduct this Pan-Inuit research project. On the basis of extensive consultations with Inuit at the highest levels in each of the four Inuit regions in Canada, the Deputy Ministers and the Kativik school board decided to undertake this project in a number of communities across Canada. The entire research process thus involves a genuine partnership with Inuit communities across Canada. Paulatuk, the community where the research will take place in the Northwest Territories, is engaged in every aspect of the research. In conjunction with the research team, community members have helped to develop the research methodology and build the survey instrument. They will also be fully involved in finalizing the survey instrument and in data collection. One of the primary goals of this project is to build the capacity within each community and region that will enable individuals at the community-level to acquire the skills and understanding necessary to undertake and apply community-based survey research. Specifically, the project is designed to develop interviewing techniques, questionnaire design and construction, data analysis and interpretation skills among individuals in the community.

The results of the survey research will be disseminated through a series of presentations to the community. The presentation of the research results will be given jointly by members of the community and members of the research team in a series of meetings to take place in Paulatuk. The data will also be used to design and carry out community-based initiatives that will benefit the community and its children. Finally, the results may be shared with other communities and regions, but only after approval from the community and other stakeholders is obtained.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from May 16 to June 15, 2009, in Paulatuk.