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Dissertation Defence: Illuminating Beginning Teachers’ Ways of Being and Thinking to Create Decolonizing and Indigenizing Learning Spaces

June 30, 2023 at 9:00 am - 12:30 pm

Jody Dlouhy-Nelson, supervised by Dr. Margaret Macintyre Latta, will defend their dissertation titled “Illuminating Beginning Teachers’ Ways of Being and Thinking to Create Decolonizing and Indigenizing Learning Spaces” in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies.

An abstract for Jody Dlouhy-Nelson’s dissertation is included below.

Examinations are open to all members of the campus community as well as the general public. Registration is not required for in person defences.


In a pivotal time of education transformation in the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Era, there is a need for literature to inform teacher educators as to how pre-service teachers see and articulate the ways they take up thought and actions to decolonize and Indigenize learning spaces, in Turtle Island north. This lack of information can impact how teacher educators plan for their majority non-Indigenous teacher candidates and allow for assumptions which limit possibilities for decolonizing and Indigenizing teacher education. Through the worldview of a non-Indigenous educator, this dissertation asks how pre-service teachers talk about/name their creation of spaces for knowing, learning and being. It is contextualized in the place where the whole, interconnected Syilx Okanagan Ways of knowing and being intersect with fragmented Anglo-Eurocentric ways of understanding and being in the world. I turn to a dialogic focus group format, informed by Syilx Pedagogy and by the dialogic work of Paulo Freire. Aligned with decolonizing curriculum theory, the process engages participants with provocations and evocations involving: the settler view of Syilx Indigenous Knowledge, participant and researcher experiences, and collective threads of understanding. Guided by the key tenets of researcher positionality, reflexivity, and accountability, I gathered and analyzed data which reveal key dialogic moments of beginning educators’ decolonizing and Indigenizing thought and praxis. Opening into insights to inform teacher education, the findings highlight that teacher candidates in place embody a sense of urgency to transform their ways of knowing and being while seeking to grasp the expanse of their teacher agency to do their transforming work. They demonstrate a relationally accountable orientation to their current and future students. Aware of decolonizing pedagogy, they tend to prioritize making space for the interconnectedness of students, Indigenous Knowledge, and learning. Teacher candidates grapple with seeking acceptance of self as settler and getting past settler-shame. They engage in a mental dance of process-as-Indigenizing and content-as-Indigenizing, alongside a continuous psychological struggle with/against fear of tokenization. Teacher candidates understand their transformative educator role as deconstructing and reconstructing Canada’s history while practicing Indigenous, Syilx-informed processes in a protocol-abiding way. These insights illuminate implications and contributions toward ongoing teacher education reform.


June 30, 2023
9:00 am - 12:30 pm


Engineering, Management, and Education Building (EME)
1137 Alumni Ave
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7 Canada
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Additional Info

Room Number
Registration/RSVP Required
Event Type
Thesis Defence
Research and Innovation, Teaching
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Families, Partners and Industry, Students, Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates