Week 10

My schooling and upbringing have brought me up with many biases. Coming from not only a farm, but also a small surrounding town made many things impossible for me. There was very little diversity within my schools and my community. On top of this, there was very little mention of diversity within the education I had as well. I had zero education on residential schools until grade 12 and university. This is outrageous. The lens I bring to the classroom is of white privilege. I need to work everyday to create a practice and education process that I can share with my students that challenge these while privilege biases and norms. Creating diverse and unbiased education is a goal everyone needs to strive towards. Through my university career I have been slowly recognising and unlearning the biases that I didn’t even know I had. Through the classes I take and experiences I have, I am able to back track and unlearn some of the biases I have. The more I learn, the more I grow and understand what society has pushed as norms, and how unacceptable they are. Human equity is something I am passionate about. Working towards becoming a teacher that give my students to most rich and diverse education I can is something I work towards every day. Having passionate and like-minded colleagues also helps me. Working collaboratively with other teachers challenge me to be my best and work my hardest to reach my goals. Working with others that share the passion I do not only builds my resources, but also allows me to include diverse perspectives in my work.

The truth that mattered in my schooling was mostly my teachers. In elementary school, I feel like I did not have opportunities to oppose or challenge anything, nor did I know anything better. I was not subjected to many ideologies or opinions, so I automatically followed exactly what my teacher said. However, in high school I felt like certain teachers prompted us to challenge ideas and opinions, however, many of us had never experienced this before. So, when given the opportunity, we did not use it. Some of the time the environment did not feel genuinely safe to speak out, even when the teacher encouraged us to. In university, I have had many experiences. Some professors really make an effort to create a learning environment that accepts failure and respects opposing perspectives. In this sense, I feel very encouraged and welcomed to add any perspective I have to the discussion. However, in other classes, my professors make things very clear that their opinion is the right one. I learned very quick which professors I needed to “write for”, rather than “write to”. Some papers I have wrote over the years have been written through the lens my professor wanted in order to succeed in the class. This is, obviously, unacceptable. However, if that’s what it takes to succeed, what choice do I have? I justify this by telling myself once I graduate and have my own classroom, things will be different than this.

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Week 9 – Curriculum as Citizenship

In my school experience, I remember being a personally responsible citizen to have an overbearing focus. Woven in with the learning in the curriculum, we were challenged to become “good” citizens that were positively active in their community. This took the visible form of things like volunteering, bringing food for food drives, picking up litter, and so on. However, this idea was not delved into much. Things that went beyond the viewing surface were often not mentioned. Things that could not be physically measured, such as contributing to a food drive, were left out. These things could be personal and social responsibility. The participatory citizen, personally responsible, justice orientated citizen were mentioned most in the required reading article.

This approach made many things possible for me. It created opportunities for me to experience things and do work within the community. We did many service-based learning projects which fell under the personally responsible citizen. This benefited my community as well, as it let the community members to see youth in a positive light. These experiences also made me realize that I wanted to become an educator!

Week 7…

1.  It is important to teach treaty ed and indigenous content where there are few or no First Nations, Inuit, or Metis people because for the fact that these people may have little to no knowledge on this content. Even though some people have no indigenous relations, they still need to be educated on Canada’s history and culture. Everyone interacts and lives among indigenous peoples, and thus it is important to understand this content. This lack of knowledge can unknowingly create biases and prejudices within ourselves. I grew up in Yorkton, where there was a high population of indigenous peoples in our community. Even though this was true, we had very little to no indigenous content in school. Until university, I had barely any knowledge on indigenous history, culture, or content. We say we want reconciliation and decolonization, however, if we are not teaching the facts, than this will never truly happen. As teachers, we are responsible for creating unique, inclusive, and diverse learning opportunities for our students. If we don’t, who will? Learning about the culture and traditions of our Indigenous peoples in Canada will not only enlighten our students to become more educated upon our history, but it will challenge them to think more sensitively, and thoughtfully. This will give them the knowledge to problem solve within their community and be positive and active members in their community.

2. The phrase “we are all treaty people” is important because it unifies us. As we live on this land, we need to start realizing the components that this involves. It gives us all equal responsibility of being stewards of education and knowledge. We all have a responsibility to act like treaty people, and to do so with pride.

3. Treaty ed camp was very eye opening. Not only were they speakers interesting and thought provoking, but very educative as well. The key note speaker, Erica Violet Lee, made many profound and critical points. She included personal anecdotes that resonated with me personally. She also incorporated news and art into her speech, which I feel was very successful in capturing the interest, and thoughts of her audience. She talked about feeling like her culture had been taken away from her. This stuck with me. This made me think about the way I will conduct my classroom, and the tones in which encompass my teaching. Teaching treaty ed is more than just the content, but the way in we teach and support our students. A session I went to discussed incorporating indigenous content into the classroom, which directly influences me as a teacher. This session provided us with many resources that will be helpful for us in the classroom. Some of these resources were the truth and reconciliation document in the Saskatchewan curriculum website, and Rover, which is a resource in which teachers can find videos and links about indigenous content to use.

Colonialism in Mathematics…

  1. I struggled in math throughout my school career. This was partly because I was uninterested, and partly because I was simply not naturally good at it like I was in subjects such as english and art. My experience, as I am sure is similar to many others, was that there was only one way math was ever taught to me. I was taught this in a very traditional and lecture type format. I often felt so behind and confused in math, that I did not even know what questions I should have been asking. When getting extra help, the teaching did not change, but rather I was pulled aside and explained it the same way individually. I found that there was always one way math was taught, and if you did not learn this way, then you consequently got left behind. I also found that math teachers seem to be less creative in their teaching strategies. This is another way that math does not accommodate others. Many other subjects attempt to include indigenous education in its methods, however, I have never seen this in the math I was ever taught. Due to this, I believe I have been turned off from math for the rest of my life. I avoid it at any costs, as I am not confident in any way with it. These are just a few ways that math discriminates and works against people.
  2. The article states that the first ways of measuring were with the fingers and feet. The Inuit peoples use their body to measure things rather that standard tools like rulers and tapes. This is one way that they challenge Eurocentric ideas of mathematics. Another way they challenge traditional Eurocentric ways of mathematics is how they express math orally, rather than in written from. In Inuit terms, the meaning changes due to context of what one is talking about. This makes the language of math much more complex, but precise. Lastly, they challenge these traditional terms of mathematics by their incorporation of real life objects and places to help with comprehension and understanding. This is quite unique in comparison to Eurocentric ways of teaching. This method is useful to people because the skills transfer into numerous environments such as hunting for example. The ways that the Inuit communities teach are for transferable understandings. This is often more useful than the ways we teach here.

Week 6 Blog Post…

Some examples of reinhabitation and decolonization within the article would refer back to the focus on the river trip exploring the homelands of the Mushkegowuk at Fort Albany. They were taught about the significance of land management, space, and water, as well as the history. Decolonization was seen through the rediscovery and reclamation of the traditional ways of living and culture through this place. An example of this would be the usage of their language. They explained how when youth stop using the language and the traditional knowledge, they lose their culture as well. Keeping in connection and touch with their culture is essential. Place based learning is a very important aspect of the Mushkegowuk Cree peoples. This kind of learning has a huge relation to holistic health and learning as well.

 

As a future physical education, english language arts, and health studies teacher, I think diverse and holistic learning is essential to success in our classrooms. I believe a huge aspect of culture and transfer of knowledge is experiential and place-based learning. Learning in various environments allows students to make meaningful connections and real-life adaptations to what they are learning. Giving them a non-traditional classroom to learn from can resonate with students in a way a classroom never could. This also allows students to learn from various people and work with others. I think this has great relation to reconciliation and the renewal of the curriculum. We need to actively create our educational programs around the notion of having students being able to see themselves in it. Having something that students cannot relate to themselves or their own lives will create a divide between what they are learning and where they should be. Placed based learning helps us to connect and feel the significance of our history and our Indigenous ways of knowing. This can also help us feel the roots that Canada has, and how we as individuals fit into these notions.

The Curriculum and its Influences…

I think that curricula is developed through a combined effort of diverse professionals that propose what they think is important for students to learn. This is then analysed and worked through to come to a consensus of information that we believe, as a society, is valuable and essential for our people to learn.

Curriculum and education are both very political. We are undeniably under the influence of our political figures, which carry heavy influence on what we decide is important in our communities. Not only does politics and policy effect what we teach, but it also effects how we teach. As educators, professional policy holds us to a standard of action and teaching.

It is unbeknownst to me why our teaching faculty and students do not have more influence in our curricula. If students are the people that are most highly affected by the curriculum, why shouldn’t they have say in what they are learning? I believe that teachers and students should be large contributors of how the curriculum is formed. We are creating this document to teach our youth, so why shouldn’t they take part in what they are learning? It worries me that certain parties of people can have such a large impact on our education. Education is the foundation for what we have to impact our quality of life. So, what is the determining factor on who has say in our education? Do people who have our educations best intentions at mind influential? Or are our political figures with agendas influential? What about our textbook companies? Those that hold shares of money? It becomes problematic to be, when the reasons for our change is due to factors such as these, rather than what is needed and what is required.

What is a “Good Student”?

Common sense is essentially the unwritten knowledge of things and understandings that is expected that everyone just “knows”. This however, changes in different environments and cultures. Something that may be common sense in Canada may be entirely different elsewhere. Even something that may be common sense in my house hold, may differ in the next. According to the assigned article, Kushamiro’s “Preparing Teachers for Crisis: What It Means to Be a Student”, being a good student falls under the category of a “traditional” student. Of course, this means getting your homework done on time, being punctual, listening and sitting quietly, and excelling in your work. This however, becomes problematic very quick. We know by now that there are students that are different learners,  various intelligence’s, exceptionalities and so on. This cookie cutter shape of a student rarely genuinely exists.

Students that may benefit from this view are the few students that can do well in traditional teaching classrooms. This would refer to the students that can still learn appropriately from simple teacher-lecture strategies. Auditory learners may benefit from this, or visual students that learn from things such as notes. Students that are already confident in their learning careers may also do fine in these sorts of classrooms. However, in saying this, the percentage of students that actually excel in these environments are scarce. These environments do not allow for any students that learn kinaesthetically, through experiential learning, through diagrams, or anything else. There are more students that would struggle immensely with these structures. Even the students that can still find success in traditional environments lose the chance to become exceptional and critical learners due to the lack of diversity.

Using this lens of “commonsense” creates a very narrow and traditional way of teaching and education. We need to see the differences that encompass our classroom. We also need to stop assuming that our students know everything that is expected of them. We need to work hard to find out where our students are educationally and work towards growth from wherever they are at. Without doing so, many students get left behind. This perpetuating cycle enables citizens that are not going to succeed later in life.

A quote by Howard Gardner…

“Anything that is worth teaching can be presented in many different ways. These multiple ways can make use of our multiple intelligence’s.”

This quote, by Howard Gardner, resonates with me by his mention of multiple intelligence’s. Being the creator if this ideology, he presents a worthwhile proposal in his theory. His theory is one that has influenced my own teaching philosophy. This quote is so special because it recognizes the students that learn in different ways, and have strengths in different areas. I also like that he mentions that “anything that is worth while teaching can be presented in many different ways”. This proves that all things can and should be taught diversely. This correlates with my philosophy, as I believe that as teachers we are responsible for providing diverse and unique learning opportunities and experiences. To do this, we must be aware of, and accommodate for our students intelligence’s. Creating an environment in which students can succeed in, and exercise their strengths is essential to motivated and successful learning. Students are more likely to participate and understand concepts if they see themselves in our lessons and activities. Showing them that they can use their strengths and passions to learn in our classroom can create an amazing dynamic. I believe that we do our students a disservice if we do not give them the chances to discover their talents and then learn to use them as tools in life.

The Tyler rationale and traditional perspectives…

The Tyler rationale is an example of a traditional perspective in which is very commonly used throughout Canada and other countries. I assume most of us have experienced extensive traditional school teaching and strategies in our school careers. These approaches to teaching are problematic, as they are not inclusive or diverse. How can we expect that one method to teaching can effectively teach the millions of very different learners around the world? The Tyler rationale is a narrow, linear, and step by step based approach. Students need a broad and flexible approach to learning if we plan for them to become successful. We experience this  type of rationale in our everyday school lives. Being given only one method to complete something, continuous standardized tests, and lecture type classrooms are all examples. There are numerous major limitations to this method. People with any sort of disability will be left behind, or any student that is not the “typical” listen to learn student. Also, experiential and visual learners may also become impeded by this linear learning strategy. My article, Social Efficiency Ideology discusses the ways of traditional teachings, and ways to overcome this.

The Problem of Common Sense

Kumashiro’s “The Problem of Common Sense” defines commonsense as some thing unspoken, and known to all. Common sense is viewed as something that is a variable, as different places around the world have different views around what is common sense. As we read, we are put under the impression that common sense is often traditional and “normal” ways of thinking. This can be problematic as it discourages different or creative ways of action. As common sense is often viewed as a positive and necessary thing, this piece questions us to whether this is appropriate. Does common sense enable oppressive and discriminatory teaching methods? It certain enables traditional ways, and by now, we know that sometimes traditional and oppressive ways can overlap. So why is it so important to pay attention to commonsense? Well, we certainly know that common sense has different meanings in different places. So, as we learn about various places around the world, we need to understand these different interpretations. Understanding the norms and ways of different places comes with knowing what they view as common sense, as was discussed in the piece. When  critiquing or implementing change, this aspect is extremely important. Getting to the roots of various understandings is essential when trying to instruct and implement new methods of action and teaching. It is also important when understanding the causes of action and differences in places around the world.