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.

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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.

“Disabling Segregation” and Kelsey Culbert’s Blog…

Through watching the profound TedTalk “Disabling Segregation” and by reading Kelsey Culbert’s Blog, I have learned many things, and have also had some life realizations.

I have learned that support through the family, and the community, is one of the most important things to have. Support in schools and organizations and community can change the lives of those with disabilities. It is important to have peers that support and create opportunities for on another. It also helps those that are the supporters as well. Another thing I learned, is a main reason why the “typical child” excels when immersed in a diverse and inclusive environment with peers that have disabilities. These “typical” students excel because of the support and help they give. When they help the peers that need more assistance, they learn through experience and become more engaged in the curriculum and ultimately learn on a deeper level.  From Kelsey’s Blog, she taught me “tips” on conversational skills when conversing with someone who has a disability. Honestly, I didn’t really know that I needed tips until I read this. Certain things that I am nervous about or take so much caution in when having a conversation, I realized is silly. For example, using common phrases like “see you later”, that may relate to a disability one might have. Realizing that using these phrases is okay and not something that targets the person, is comforting. realizing that having a meaningful conversation is more valuable that tip toeing over every word.

A personal connection I made, was my thoughts back to my schooling, and how inclusive it was. At times, we would have our peers with disabilities participate, but they were almost always segregated. I see now, that I and them would have benefited more spending more class time together. Me, and my “typical” classmates lost many opportunities to learn and enhance our experiences by being with them. This also makes me think more of my emerging pedagogy, and how I believe in a diverse and inclusive educational and classroom. Diversity, to me, means all aspects; including inclusion. Experiential learning is more than just “doing”, but also by “being” with and around diverse things and people. I believe that we all can enrich our lives by being more involved with others around us, and i aspire to create class environments as such.

After this all, I am left wondering how I can help others see the value in experiential education. I don’t think that sitting in a class room in the traditional lecture type teaching styles is the most efficient way to learn. We need to see the value in each other and what we have to offer each others. I believe that if everyone made a bigger effort to have creative and diverse opportunities for learning, we would ultimately have more open minds and hearts.

The Secret Path…

As Tasha Hubbard mentioned in the discussion, the animation of the film gives us a new way to see others personal stories within the animation, while still giving us space and distance in order to process the stories. I have never seen animation used as a way to tell stories in ways that aren’t juvenile and for children or for teenagers such as Family Guy, Futurama, etc. I really found this way of using animation to be very powerful. I believe that if it was not animation I would have not been able to really feel the meaning of this piece. I think that with animation, it gives us a sense rather than a face, where as real actors would have given us a face, rather than a meaning.

This piece has a big focus on the railways. Railways were used to establish Canada but also used to transport kids that were forcefully taken from their homes. Families were prevented by law from resisting to send their kids to school; they could be fined, or even imprisoned. Learning about these atrocious laws simply stun me. It is hard to even imagine a government like this. Though we have come a long way since then, we still have a long road ahead of us.

This piece of art, and every piece of art, is not the end. These are pieces of the discussion (as one member said). Listening is not reconciliation, it is the action taken after listening, that is where the change starts.

When I watched this video, my heart hurt. This video is put together in an extraordinary way that tells an important but tragic and powerful story. I feel shame as I watch this video, that our country was like this. Canada is not the country it seems; our past haunts us. This story of Chanie Wenjack is one that should be known, as it shows us what our history looks like. Not that long ago, these atrocities were happening in our own backyards; stripping a whole race of their culture, language, and dignity. The shame I feel watching this starts a fire inside of me that inspires me to do something about it. I don’t want to be a bystander. I want to make amends, and help our country make amends. Doing something as simple as sharing these stories to let people understand the history, is the least and first things I can do.

I learnt about compassion, strength, and selflessness through he story of Pearl and her sisters. As one of the speakers mentioned, it is amazing and almost unfathomable to see how compassionate and giving they are despite the devastation they have been through. I firmly believe that everyone in this world has room to grow more compassionate and loving and giving. These women are a true example of how we can have more of these attributes, and how we can show compassion to others. I know that I myself, can work on being more compassionate and giving in my everyday life style.

I want to know what other ways as a teacher that are unique, that I can be an advocate for these teachings. I want to know how I can get the students, communities, and schools unified in a sense that we want to have reconciliation and teach the truth about our country.

Three things I have learned from the articles “How Schools Play Smear The Queer” and “Can we Learn Queerly”…
1. In one article, a boy named Steve brought a stun gun to class in order to protect himself from the physical and verbal violence he was receiving from kids in his school. Bringing weapons to school is not tolerated in any means. However, in the article it discusses how the teachers and leaders in his school did nothing to acknowledge these acts of bullying. Although they did not encourage it, by not DIScouraging it, they did encourage it. Being a by stander, or one who ignores the behavior, it gives the bully and the ones causing harm an opportunity and environment in which they are allowed to be cruel. We create these situations our-self if we do not outright confront these behaviors, and quash them. We create environments in which are unsafe by ignoring things, and hence creating the situations in which students needs to find these means in order to protect themselves.on or hindrance, to endure without repugnance, put up with.
Heterosexuality is a norm in our society today. The dominant group tolerates and allows the “others” to exists amongst them. Why is there a difference between who we are in the first place? Why is there a norm, and an other? This is not the same as having a bad to recognize the good. There is no right, wrong, proper, or improper way of sexuality and living. There is no purpose that these labels serve, other than to create an unnecessary and disgusting hierarchy of people.

2. 30% of all youth suicides are committed by gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth. They are 3-5 times for likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers, and more likely to succeed when they do. They are also more likely to use and abuse drugs, be kicked out of their homes and end up on the street. These stats are so high…so why are we not taking these issues seriously? When schools are a direct influence and factor in the lives of these youth, you would think we would be putting an immediate change to the environments of our schools…

3. 20% of lesbians and 50% of gay men report that they are victims of hate crimes at school. These numbers horrify me… women do so much to advocate for each other and to encourage feminism. Where is the same support for men? Often when we think of feminism, we do not think “equal rights for men and women” (like we should)… we think equals rights for JUST women. Men get just as much flak for being different than the gender roles assumed on our society than women. This is even more so exemplified if their sexuality does not conform to the “norm” as well. I believe that men and women should have equal rights, opportunities, and respect with no distinction upon their sexuality or preference.

A couple reflections…

  1. Prejudice is prejudice…right? These two articles made me think about the differences in schools in regards to bigotry and its handlings. What is the difference between teachings about equal rights for men and women, and teaching about various religions and sexuality? One topic seems to be empowering, while the other seems to be taboo. We as educators are responsible for teaching the “hidden curriculum” just as much as we are the document. Creating a divide due to  the comfortableness of teaching these topics is only pushing us farther from success and acceptance. Discouraging and weakening the barriers around sexuality creates a more safe and successful environment for all students.
  2.  I never realized that within schools, the forms, registrations, and paperwork have a predetermined “mother” and “father” line. I guess since having one mom and one dad is a normal concept in my family, I obviously would not take note of this. Why is there not two lines that say “Guardian 1” and “Guardian 2”? Why do we refrain from neutralizing simple things like this? These “simple” things, are the basis of the divide we place among our community. Something like this makes no difference to me, as I am what is considered the “norm” in regards to my family make up. But, to the many many families that are not made up of one mother and one father, are seen to be as different. Something as simple as creating neutral forms for families to fill out can be a start to the weakening of these prejudices.

What am I still thinking about…?

As a future educator, what kind of environment do I want to create in my classroom? What are the things that I can do to create an environment that has no leisure or acceptance in prejudice and “norms”. How do i combine a safe environment, with one that challenges the comfortableness of my students, in order to stimulate critical reflection and thinking?

Reflecting on first thoughts

Upon the reflection of my last CBSL blog post (in which I wrote almost a month ago), I can see what has changed for me. I was worried about connecting and creating meaningful relationships with the women at SARBI. I was worried that when we talked in group, I would be afraid to share. My problems can’t even compare, right?  Wrong. These women taught me that even though people have different problems, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t both problems. If we play a constant contest revolving around “who has it worst” there would be no healing done in our group. The whole point of SARBI is to create a place that is safe to be at and share and confide in others. There is always ways in which we can relate to each other, and finding these relations and commonalities is a great way to start relationships. These women have, without knowing it, taught me how to create relationships in a place unknown to me. It was accurate of me to be nervous about creating these relationships, because I had learning to do, and I still do.

In reflection to myself, I consider my social skills to be a strength of mine. So, imagine my surprise, when all of a sudden I feel like these skills have vanished in caution of saying the wrong thing or offending someone. This made me nervous as I arrived every Monday morning. But, these women are tough. Some of the strongest people I have ever met, in fact. Simply saying the wrong thing is not something to break them. What they really want, is not someone that is cautious and wary around them. They want someone who listens, empathizes, and is genuine with them. That, I realize, I can do. This was not a matter of learning the skills in which I can comfortably talk with and be with people that have a brain injury, but rather learning and understanding the environment I have entered. Ultimately, I have learned that compassion never stops growing, and that we all need to be a little more compassionate.

The things I have learnt in the early weeks of my placement have only become more embellished. Learning is a constant state of life. In my time at SARBI, I have understood this more than ever. Often, when we hear the word “learn”, we think of school. This is a very small aspect of our learning opportunities. The women at SARBI have shown me that there is never enough to be learnt, and to never consider yourself the expert. Never become so prideful that you think you cannot learn.  Learning is a very important part of the lives of the women I work with. Being able to assist in the process of creating opportunities for them to learn is something I take much pride in. This is the passion that I have, and exactly why I want to become an educator.

I believe that learning these things are of great importance. I would suggest that going into diverse environments and working with people is an extravagant way to acquire experiences. I am surprised to say that I did not know as much as I thought I did about this kind of environment. I thought that I was diverse in my language and in my mindset. Quickly though, I realized I was wrong, but I wouldn’t trade my experiences at SARBI for the world.