Final Post

Here is my summary of learning for ECS 210:

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Week Ten

  1. How has your upbringing/schooling shaped how you you “read the world?” What biases and lenses do you bring to the classroom? How might we unlearn / work against these biases?

My upbringing has effected how I read the world in many ways. I was shown many biases and even racisms in very subtle ways. Certain comments or even feelings were things that I picked up on as a child, and have carried out into the way that I view the world now. Although these are hard things to admit, the thoughts that effect my feelings in a space represent these upbringings. For example, not feeling safe on a plane, in a gas station, or on a bus. I know that these are awful things to write about, but I believe that admitting them can help the process of switching these ideas. However, I wish to overcome theses thoughts and ideas, because to unlearn them would mean that I would not be able to see the other side of racism, and would not be able to help others realize these thoughts and how real they are, just like this class has done for me.

 

  1. Which “single stories” were present in your own schooling? Whose truth mattered?

Just like what was discussed in the Ted Talk, my childhood consisted of reading books with white characters that were generally in North American or European scenes. This most definitely helped to form my opinion of what literature looks like. In high school, we read stories with white authors, even if the characters may have been from a different culture. Again, growing up watching various cartoons with majority of them being white, and continuing in shows such as Hannah Montana and The Suite Life of Zach and Cody. This created the idea that beauty, success, and many other things were closely related to whiteness. Another example would be my limited exposure of “third world countries”. My only image of these countries came from commercials and social media posts, which altered my image of the realities of these countries. In fact, hearing the Ted Talk story of her American roommate seems like the things that I may not have said to her, but definitely would have thought or wondered.

Week Nine

Leroy Little Bear’s article:

Many times, math classes include a formula that is the only way that you are instructed to find the correct answer. This not only limits the students to one particular way to getting the answer, but also limits their ability to learn in the way that they feel most comfortable in. Math, as well as any subject, needs to be inclusive of every type of learner through the use of choice and various activities (ex. story telling, hands on, auditory, and visual). On top of this, I do not remember ever having any mentions of Aboriginal language, stories, or narratives in my math class. Rather, they were expected to be incorporated into our social studies and English classes. However, as I continue to learn (through our next project) that it is very possible to incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing as well as language, stories, and narratives into any subject, I will better equipped myself to be able to do so in my future experiences.

Poirer’s article:

  1. Math as a universal language: Different cultures have developed various tools for math (ex. base-20 numeral system). This means that the Eurocentric views on teaching mathematics are being challenged.
  2. Spatial Representation: The example in the article talks about a student who is failing dramatically in his academics, but was the first to understand a strategy game. This challenges the curriculum and how it does not emphasize on strengths such as this.
  3. Paper and Pencil Method: This teaching method is not natural to most Inuit children. They are much more comfortable with listening to enigmas or observing an elder. This challenges the teaching styles used in mathematics as well as the was in which we go about problem solving.

Week Eight

This week, Claire’s lecture helped me to further understand the purpose of including Treaty education in any classroom, no matter if there are Indigenous students or not. To include Treaty education means to cover the relationship, the historical context, the spirit and intent, and the promises and provisions. I also learned the importance of including these topics into every subject, and making it a community learning environment. Claire displayed her efforts in including Treaty Education in Moose Jaw through organizing events that include the class, the entire school, as well as parents and guardians. I also learned that with the educating students on Treaty Education, the entire school can benefit from a environment that is taking a step towards a healing relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. On top of this, it very clearly can prevent from stereotyping and racist views that could be present without the proper knowledge.

Claire also emphasized on the idea that in order to include Treaty Ed. in the class, you need to build a relationship with your parents. Also, in order to prevent any negative effects to introducing this topic, it is important to always follow the curriculum. If you do not have a relationship with your parents and connect with the curriculum, there is no support for you to cover such topics. Overall, there are many activities, events, and projects that can be done in order to teach Treaty Ed. in an active and memorable way. These can also be a way for teachers to include parents and the community. For example, Claire shared with us her class’s video about Treaty Ed. that was sent to all the parents, as well as taught other classrooms in the school. Overall, it is about teaching students that we are all treaty people, and that we are all effected by the creation of the agreement to share the land, and all of the outcomes that have occurred since. Her work has proven that by teaching one classroom, those results can be spread to their peers and families, starting the healthy relationship that we can start through small steps such as these.

Week Seven

As it says in the article, Kellert (2005) mentions that the “connection to nature is important to children’s intellectual, emotional, social, physical and spiritual development.” Through the ten day experience that they explained, the children are taught about their cultural identity in terms of connecting to the land and territory before they were introduced to Western ways of knowing. This includes youth, adults, elders, and other participants, which I believe directly relates to what should be done in the classroom. The sense of community to approach these issues and topics. This also educates the people on the role of land and territory, and certain strategies that the Mushkegowuk peoples used to maintain a “way of life”. Through this, decolonization is represented and displays the problems that came along with colonization. The article also mentions that process of recovering and renewing traditional cultural patterns such as mentoring or intergenerational relationships. Overall, the process of “reinhabilitation and decolonization depend on each other.”.

This article so directly applies to the classroom. Various subjects can be approached this way, and most importantly used to educate students on Aboriginal history and culture. Being a social studies major, it is unbelievable to me that people can visualize Canadian history with the absence of Aboriginal peoples. It is a large value of mine to make sure that my students understand that Canadian history does not begin with Confederation and the arrival of Europeans, but goes much further back into Aboriginal peoples lifestyles before that arrival point. Also, what a better way to approach this topic than to bring it to the outdoors, where the students and their families can learn together what it means to decolonize and reinhabilitate for an Aboriginal person in Canada. Education should be more about community, and this is more effective when done in the community, rather than in the school. Students will be more excited and interested if they are able to learn various environments and to share their knowledge with their families and peers. I believe that we have so much to learn from the Indigenous ways of knowing and could benefit so greatly if we would begin applying such ways into our classrooms.

Week Six

The reading explores the three different types of good citizens in society. The personally responsible citizen acts responsibly in their community by picking up litter, giving blood, recycling, obeying laws, and many more. Other educators see good citizens as those who actively participate in the civic affairs and the social life of the community at local, state, and national levels. We call this kind of citizen the participatory citizen. Justice oriented educators are the effective democratic citizens that analyze and understand the interplay of social, economic, and political forces (critically assesses social, political, and economic structures to see beyond surface causes).

 In the video, it explains that through teaching kids in small ways, we educate them on having a role to play and a responsibility in our community. Wertheimer says that education should display the active participation that kids should have in society. He argues that teachers and parents believe that school is to encourage students to “become the best that they can be” and through this, citizenship shows up. If we focus only on the basics in education, we end up with a neglected view of education and its goals. We need to shoot past the standard foundations of schools. Wertheimer makes a strong point that students should not only be taught how to read, but to understand what is worth reading.

In elementary school, there was not much of these “good citizen” actions occurring. Except for school-wide activities such as picking up garbage on Earth Day, there was not much teaching on citizenship in the classroom. In high school, this becomes more present in certain organizations that we can become a part of. You would be considered a good student if you were involved in the SRC, SADD, and many more. This displays more participatory citizenship in the way that we are taught that it is a good way to contribute to a community through our small actions. Finally, once I entered University,  it became an entire different story. These ideas were explained to us and were attached with pressures of being the best that we can be in our community. WE are encouraged to participate in various organizations, as well as made to volunteer in many of our classes. However, they slowly push you to think past the participatory citizen in university, and to push the odd students to be justice oriented citizens. Overall, I believe that the older you get, the bigger the pressures are present to be a good citizen.

Week Five

Before: 

From my lacking knowledge of school curricula, I would assume that it originated as far back as the Greek or Roman empire. I think of scholarly individuals or groups of men who would educate those around them. I believe that school curricula would have been a set of formulated goals or outcomes that each individual should attain. Although, this may have lots of influence from power and religion, it would have slowly developed into written documents that must be followed. It is also notable that the same developments would have been taking place in Asia and Africa during this time, but would not have included Canadian education as much as that in Europe. Eventually, this European idea of curricula would have transferred into American white men that would have influenced a large portion of how Canadian curricula is practiced today. Again, this is all an assumption based on my lacking knowledge of school curricula.

After:

From this article, I learned that curriculum is a fundamental aspect to schooling, but can be shaped in many ways depending largely on politics, ideologies, values, issues, and interests. However, it is important to have intended results, and to encourage interests in the process of educating. Debates have grown in the United States over sex education or religion’s place in education and over the content of particular subjects. Schools have debated whether or not to include social aspects such as smoking, drug abuse, bullying, obesity, and anorexia while also eliminating racism and promoting equity. These responsibilities can vary depending on the country, and in many cases, curriculum can be largely different based on the individual school. Although this is not new information to me, it opened my eyes to the different ways that curriculum can be taken, and that it is impossible for every teacher to interpret and practice it exactly the same.

Week Four

What does it mean to be a “good” student according to the commonsense? Which students are privileged by this definition of the good student? What is made impossible to see/understand/believe because of these commonsense ideas?

According to commonsense, a good student would be believed to have good behavior. By good behavior, this means that they have strong skills in being quiet and listening when needed. Also, a good student would follow instructions precisely and would answer the questions with the right answer at the right time. Most often, boys are stereotyped in this commonsense to have weaker behavioral skills (and therefor grades) than girls. Also, it is the students who can show their work on paper who receive an advantage in schools as good work, rather than those who have incredible thoughts, but cannot find a way to put them onto paper. So, already, different sexist, racist, and other recriminatory ideas have come into our heads to create assumptions of our good and bad students. Furthermore, this idea fails to acknowledge previous knowledge given to each student and how they may be inviting or hindering new knowledge. Emotional or even physical discomfort can also hinder a student’s learning process, and when not recognized, the student is immediately tagged as not interested, not willing, or not a good student. As the article states, “teachers need to be flexible, attentive to the particularities of different students, and aware of the unpredictability of their responses”.

Week Three

Teachers today are breaking down obstacles, finding innovative ways to instill old lessons, proving that greatness can be found in everyday places. -Taylor Mali

After seeing the assignment for this week’s blog post, I thought of Taylor Mali immediately. After viewing his video “What Do Teachers Make” last year, I was mesmerized at his compelling view of education. Also, Mali’s quote about creativity and curriculum seemed almost perfect for an ECS 210 assignment, considering our current exploration of curriculum.

First off, Mali’s description of how teachers in today’s education system are having to find “innovative ways to install old lessons,” fits perfectly with our class discussions of how curriculum does not change all that much. Just like the example that we were given in lecture; if someone were to time travel 100 years, the only thing that they would recognize would be the schools. However, whether or not curriculum changes, students do. This leaves teachers to head elsewhere for ideas on how to create a more modern style of teaching that allows for a more successful learning environment.

Secondly, the quote states that by having to be creative teachers, it proves “that greatness can be found in everyday places”. This is what I love about Mali’s work. He is so passionate about teaching, and realizes the impact that each educator has in so many student’s lives. In his video “What Do Teachers Make,” he is responding to the question of “how much money do you make?”. In his response, he does not answer the question with a salary, but instead says that he makes kids wonder, question, criticize, apologize and mean it, write, and spell. He then goes on to finish his response to “what do teachers make?” with simply, but so powerfully saying that “teachers make a difference, now what about you?”.

 

Week Two

Discuss the ways in which you may have experience the Tyler rationale in your own schooling:

Personally, I have experienced the Tyler rationale in many ways throughout my education. For example, in elementary schools, the Student Learning Outcomes or “I Can” statements are presented at the beginning of each class to display a clear understanding of what is to be learnt. Also, any activities or lessons done in each class were well organized and were followed with an evaluation to prove our participation and knowledge (this shows the teacher’s participation more than in high school or secondary education). This is seen even in high school and university programs in syllabus’ that outline what is expected to be understood by the end of each course. Also, evaluations and practices are formulated to ensure that each student has the proper experience to succeed in the clearly stated outcome.

(b) What are the major limitations of the Tyler rationale/what does it make impossible?

The Tyler rationale creates various limitations to both the educator and the learner. In the text, it talks about the assumption that the learner always needs to be changing through what they do, and that they will learn by doing. However, it is the leaner who shaped their behaviour to the requirements of the curriculum  and not the curriculum that shapes the learner. Also, Tyler’s rationale can be misused through demanding drills from students, rather than finding an activity that provides practice and creates interest. As said by Tyler, the use of curriculum must be a process of planning that is shifted through success and failure, or trail and error, where instructional programs can continuously improve. Although this rationale encourages the progression of curriculum, it still limits those students who may not learn in the same ways that they would be assessed.

(c) What are some potential benefits/what is made possible?

The Tyler rationale encourages focusing on practice, teacher participation, clarifying our objectives, and the importance of evaluations rather that measurements. In comparison to the previous views of measurement and experience, Tyler’s rationale was a large step forward in the 20th century. Also, having a clear outline at the beginning of a course can help students and teachers to shift and form the curriculum to best suit their group of students (isn’t that what teaching is all about?). Overall, the Tyler rationale has helped educational programs to focus on the experience of the learner and step away from viewing curriculum as a product, rather than a guide. However, it is notable that the broad aspects of education (such as sitting in a classroom desk and remaining silent for almost the entire period) have not changed since the beginning of Tyler’s rationale.