Constructing Resiliencies: Support through Learning in Nunavut, Canada

Grant type: Student (2006-9)
Round: Student grant 2006
Amount awarded £1,250.00
Completed: May 2010
Leader(s): Ms Heather Moquin
Organisation: University of Glasgow
Contact Email: h.moquin.1@research.gla.ac.uk
Start Date: 1 February 2007
End Date: 31 March 2010
Interim report received: 28 January 2010
Final report received: 17 May 2010

This research seeks to better understand how education and learning facilitate resiliencies in life in the Canadian Arctic. The broad concept of resiliency will be examined within this study, with the particular focus being on how women's experiences of education and learning enable the development of individual and communal resiliencies against social health challenges, including suicide and violence. The unique Inuit knowledge, culture, heritage and language play important roles in identity formation and resiliencies. The dissertation and papers, as outcomes of this research, will investigate these interplays while broadening out the analysis to investigate wider elements of resiliency.

Outcomes

The research reported here in the final report has implications for UK Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs). The five characteristics of ideal pedagogies, which the author derived through placing Inuit and non-Inuit perspectives in conversation within text, offer important considerations to education and learning situations, formal and non-formal. Using her own experience of research as example, she advocates a need for tolerance of alternative methodologies within academia, particularly with regards research with aims to come to new understandings on identity and cultural differences.

Very briefly, the characteristics of ideal pedagogies are:

  • A revaluing of so-called soft skills, such as imaginative processes, which are important for creativity;
  • A tolerance for imaginative freedoms for the reclaiming of affirming identity constructs;
  • A disciplining of these freedoms through dialogic processes where humility of both the learner and teacher are emphasized;
  • A consideration of these pedagogies as contextualized ways of living instead of decontextualized activities, and,
  • A consideration of these pedagogies or ways of living under Cyrulnik's (2009) definition of resilience which allows us to see that individuals can be taught to negotiate the paradox of essentialist language, namely that constructs can be useful but also potentially harmful when relied upon in a rigid sense.


Where this thesis has considered academia to be a parallel and integrated focus of this research along with the Canadian Arctic context, the author has seen her own process of learning and participation as a student within a UK HEI also as relevant to consider in her discussion of these ideal pedagogies.