What did Laura and Maple learn this semester?

For this video, we looked at the blog posts each of us wrote throughout the semester and incorporated the major points into the lyrics of this original song.  Writing this song allowed us to include many of our blog ideas and “points” into our video, and to recall the information that we learned throughout the semester. In particular, we focused on common sense, treaty education, curriculum, single story views, Inuit mathematics and being a treaty person.

Common Sense: We learned through readings and discussions that common sense ideas can hinder opportunities for growth and improvement in our schools and in society. An example of this would be the “common sense” idea that, in our society, school should start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. What if children work best between 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. instead? Our common sense ideas often hold us back from trying new things. Challenging these common sense societal ideas and our own personal beliefs, will allow us to grow and become better teachers.

Treaty Education: We felt that a huge learning in this class was that treaty education is not about teaching the Indigenous culture; it’s about teaching true and real Canadian history. Therefore, if a parent or student has a problem with learning about treaty education, then they have a problem learning about Canada. Through reading journal articles and discussions, we learned that without reinhabitation, our country and people cannot appropriately attempt decolonization. This means that we need to learn about the land from Indigenous elders, and learn the stories of this country from them. Indigenous people need to be at the forefront of the decision making process on how to best decolonize, or else there is no point in doing so.

Curriculum: We learned that the politics of our country have a huge impact on what is written in curriculum. This is because the government chooses the curriculum writers, and the people elect the government. It is assumed that elected government officials reflect the majority of people’s opinions therefore resulting in curriculum mirroring the country’s wants/culture/and desires for the future generation. However, we question this process and wonder if the best interests of the next generation are truly represented. For example, the majority of voters could very well vote against anti-oppressive education…. But is that what is best for our minority students? It’s not, and that’s why we need to be aware of how the curriculum is written and who it might benefit and/or leave out.

Single Story Views: We focused on this topic as we discussed and reflected on the harm that can be caused if working from only one person’s (or a small group’s) specific perspective. Single story views refer to our perspective on events and life issues. The way things have affected us in the past influence the way that we think they should happen in the future. To quote our song, “When you are raised a certain way you take these learnings into your future classrooms”. We included these lyrics as we wanted to send the message that an individual’s perspective, like common sense, can hinder them. There is more than one story to be told, and more than one perspective to be shared in every situation.

Inuit Mathematics: We chose to reflect on this topic because we both find it interesting.  The Inuit language, Inuktiut, is not being valued in the northern Canadian communities in schools. This limits Inuit students’ understanding in many subject areas, especially in Math. It also limits the use of Inuit knowledge and ways of knowing. For example, the Inuit people use different tools than settlers would for measuring, and different words for the months. They also have a different way of keeping track of the changing months. We need not see things methods as wrong; we need to see them as powerful and useful. This is part of decolonization.

We Are All Treaty People: To quote our song, “We need to respect our land and understand that history did not begin with us”. We believe that this is a large part of being a treaty person, in addition to respecting the treaty agreements and the other people who live here. We are both settlers and this aspect of the course made us rethink our identity. We find it empowering and we are proud to say, “We are all Treaty People”!

In our song’s “Bridge,” we quoted Michael Cappello and Nelson Mandela. The quote from Cappello was, “If Rip Van Winkle woke up after hundred years of sleep what would he recognize—schools”. Cappello wanted to express that schools should not be exempt from progress or adaption. Maple used this quote and reflected on it in one of her blogs. Laura included this Mandela quote in one of her blogs, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world”. Laura used this quote to reflect on the power of educating young people. The world would be a very different place without the tool of education.

Song Lyrics

ECS 210 this is what we learned in our classes.

Common sense rationale, treaty ed and curriculum studies.

First Verse

We learned that common sense can really hinder proper education.

You gotta challenge status quo, you can’t just stick with what you know, it’s not right.

We won’t be able to reach our goals of anti-oppressive education without change.

ECS 210 this is what we learned in our classes.

Teaching Treaty Education is about the history not about culture.

Second Verse

Treaty Ed is a tool we use to break down biases and single story views.

Decolonization can’t happen without re in ha bi tation.

By following indigenous ways, we are on the path to reconciliation.

ECS 210 this is what we learned in our classes.

Common sense rationale, treaty ed and curriculum studies.

Third Verse

Our countries political views influence our curriculum studies.

Voters don’t know the ways that they can influence our education.

Should curriculum focus what’s going on inside the class or making good people?

The way we teach our students will set the tone for the rest of their lives.

So stand up for anti-bias education, don’t work under a disguise.

We believe in challenging common sense and including minority views.

Bridge

 If Rip Van Winkle woke up after hundred years sleep what would he recognize (echo) –  schools.

Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the (echo) world.

ECS 210 this is what we learned in our classes.

Single story views, Inuktiut math and we are all treaty people..  

Fourth Verse

When you are raised a certain way you take these learnings into your future classrooms.

We need to shed our biases or else were not teaching proper education.

Stereotypes are ingrained unconsciously and we need not provoke them.

ECS 210 this is what we learned in our classes.

Don’t forget about the ways of knowing from the Inuit people.

 Fifth Verse

There are many ways to learn a subject, certain cultures have found their very best methods.

An Inukshuk has many uses including helping with directions.

You don’t need a ruler or an abacus you’ve got ten toes and ten fingers.

ECS 210 this is what we learned in our classes.

We all made a promise to stand together for the rest of our lives.

Sixth Verse

A marriage takes two people and living in harmony takes unity.

We need to respect our land and understand that history did not begin with us.

We are all treaty people and we need to start acting like it!

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Breaking Down The Single Stories

via GIPHY

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

I believe school has played a critical role in shaping how I read the world as well as the biases I have learned and the lense through which I see things.  A few negative biases that I believe I learned through attending school in a small community is around culture diversity and varying abilities. Unfortunately, my elementary and high schools did not have wide diversity culturally.  Upon reflection, I think those students who were culturally “different” from the majority most likely felt that that they did not fully belong.  In addition, many students with limited academic abilities were often pulled from regular classes as integration was not followed for numerous classes which, I am sure, had a negative impact on some of these students.  As an Early Childhood Educator, I have worked with many immigrant families and children of extremely diverse backgrounds and abilities all of whom possess unique positive characteristics and who can teach those of us in the “majority” many important lessons.

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

In lecture, we listened to a Ted Talk and in which the speaker spoke about travelling to Guadalajara, Mexico.  She shared the single story of how she thought Mexican people lived and what they were like but after visiting Mexico she realized that her views were not at all true.  I related to her comments in so many ways. Last May I travelled to Guadalajara Mexico as part of a University Class. Not only was the single stories of Mexican people proven incorrect while living with a Mexican family for three weeks, but also some of my impressions of the country in general.  Safety is just one example.  My family and I were concerned about how safe the trip would be due to frequent negative media coverage.  However, at no time, did I ever feel unsafe during my stay.  This experience made me realize that we need to be aware of the single stories we hear and from which we unconsciously develop negative biases.  We need to ensure that we are basing our opinions on the truth.  I want to bring awareness of this into my classroom and teach my students to look at and learn about situations, people, etc. from all sides before making a decision.

Inuktitut Math

  1. At the beginning of the reading, Leroy Little Bear (2000) states that colonialism “tries to maintain a singular social order by means of force and law, suppressing the diversity of human worldviews. … Typically, this proposition creates oppression and discrimination” (p. 77). Think back on your experiences of the teaching and learning of mathematics — were there aspects of it that were oppressive and/or discriminating for you or other students?                                                                                                         As a student who never excelled in math led me to dislike the subject.  I still dislike math.  In fact, this was the one class I was most stressed about having to take as part of my post-secondary education.  Looking back, I truly believe it could have been different if more of my teachers took the time to slow down and provide more explanation. I was fortunate to be able to go home and get the help I needed there or through several family friends who were math teachers. However, this is not possible for every student. It was not just me that was struggling in these math classes which as a future teacher now realize that this is a large sign of how the information was being taught (or not taught).  Unfortunately, changing teaching strategies to successfully reach all students  requires extra time and effort that realistically teachers do not have. However, even just taking the time to do a few extra questions as a class on the board would have helped the majority of us immensely. Society seems to have this stigma about math and the underlying message is, “I suck at math.”  Therefore, we need to be able to help students push aside these negative thoughts in order to learn effectively.  I will never forget my Grade 10 math teacher who surprisingly was also my favorite teacher as his goal was to ensure that he worked as hard as every student to help them understand. Each class for the entire period he would work his way through the textbook doing every question on the board. If you needed help you could do it along with him, or if not, you could work ahead. This methodology, not to mention his silly math jokes and metaphors, are things I will never forget. That is a simple teaching strategy but so effective that it can change many students view on learning math. I have never thought that math might be discriminatory against certain students.  However, upon reflection, the examples given or the words or situations used in word problems may put some students at a disadvantage.  For example, the examples and word problems use scenarios common to the dominant culture in society which would put the FNMI and immigrant students at a disadvantage.  These students many not be able to relate to these situations in their lives.
  1. After reading Poirier’s article: Teaching mathematics and the Inuit Community, identify at least three ways in which Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ideas about the purposes mathematics and the way we learn it.
    1. Changing the traditional calendar. They figured out that the Inuktitut calendar is not either lunar or solar. The traditional calendar is based on natural, independently recurring yearly events. The name of each month comes from animal activity or from nature. This is how they learned their months.
    2. Measuring various items using parts of the body (finger, foot, palm, etc.)
    3. Oral numeration in Inuktitut is very different. Teaching student’s oral numeration in Inuktitut as well.

“We are all treaty people”

Hello,

This is a point of view that is unfortunately still shared by too many educators. My advice would be to have another conversation with your co-op teacher acknowledging her opinion but also providing the reasons why it is important that all students, regardless of race, receive treaty education as this is the only way to work towards reconciliation. Remember last year in class when we watched Dwayne Donald’s video in which he discussed the word “culture”? Dwayne said that most Canadian students believe they do not have a culture and are apologetic for this, whereas indigenous people are seen as being intensely cultural. Share with your co-op teacher what problems arise from these feelings and from the lack of treaty education creating what Dwayne refers to as a “learning disability.” Explain that this lack of education creates not only a learning disability amongst our students, but in our society as a whole. Not talking or learning about indigenous issues does not allow for the deconstruction of the past and positive change for the future.

Share your belief that, “We are all treaty people.” The true meaning of this statement cannot be learned or valued if we do not teach Treaty Ed to all students regardless of their race or colour. Reconciliation means that we must work together to move forward. We must acknowledge what has happened in the past and work towards a better future for all. As stated in the Grade Three video that Claire Kreuger showed, “We are all treaty people as long as the sun shines and the grass grows.” We are all on this journey together! Decolonization and reconciliation can only occur by learning from our historic differences and working towards a shared future together. Treaty Education for everyone is the first step.

Laura

Making Research Reality

List some of the ways that you see reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the narrative. 

  Basic Information about the Project

  • Feature a 10-day river trip with youth, adult, elder’s participants. Travelled on the traditional waters where the Elders would share stories, traditions, government and land issues. Bringing together generations of communities breaking down the pre-conceived notions and teaching correct knowledge and incorporating traditions and activities. A means of reconciliation.
  • Connection to land is crucial to all areas of development and the cultural identity to people.
  • Audio documentaries about relations to the river and engaging trips along the river was a decolonizing process.
  • Younger generations re-introduced to traditional ways of knowing.
  • Over two generations they could notice the amount it had deepened understanding in the connection to the land, language, culture, etc.

More in Depth Information

  • This research project purpose was to bring back the sense of culture.
  • Interviews of community members, etc. Point was to encourage intergenerational relationships. Not “data” a way of bringing together community, fostering dialogue, generating spaces for socialization, perceptions of territory and Mushkegowuk perspectives.
  • Excursion- importance of water came out in the Mushkegowuk culture
  • Audio Recordings
  • Language- mapping out sites and languages of groups- Cree, Inuit, Mushkegowuk along the way
  • Every curve in the river had a name
  • Cree words and concepts. Inserting them into key project activities and documents
  • Paquataskamik is the Cree word used for traditional territory, all of the environment, nature, and everything it contains.
  • Language used/Word usage change- impact of intergenerational loss, Residential schools,
  • It was the river who bound the community together- the news runner could instantly go to neighbouring communities to tell them the news
  • The river trip helped members of the community share linguistic, cultural, historical, and geographical knowledge.
  • River trip also identified western notions of boundaries by provincial and federal government
  • Project deepened relationships among community members. Learning from the land, etc. rather than an institution with four walls

How might you adapt these ideas to considering place in your own subject areas and teaching?

  • I would have several books featuring cultural activities, traditions and First Nations language.
  • Posters that shows the same as above
  • Puzzles
  • Depending on the grade a river tour may not be possible however, at any age field trips are possible and bringing in guest speakers from community
  • Teach the importance of the land, water, etc.
  • Show the similarities and differences from then to now for example- message runners, now we have technology.
  • Don’t just focus on the negatives of what happened to a particular group. For example, Residential Schools. Yes, it is important to know but students also need to realize the positive occurrences and influential, powerful leaders of this culture.
  • Use the audio recordings made in this project to meet curricular outcomes.
  • All-inclusive environment
  • Just how they have tried to rehabilitate the First Nations culture through this culture. I believe it is important to incorporate all cultures of students in your class.

Raising Contributing Citizens

The three types of citizenship mentioned in the article are:

1) the personally responsible citizen

2) the participatory citizen

3) justice oriented citizen

I have been fortunate to be involved in all three types of citizenship development in my K-12 schooling. A Personally Responsible citizen is one who, “acts responsibly for his/her community” (Westheimer, 2004, p. 3). Throughout my school years we would participate in occasional community litter clean ups.  A recycling program was in place in my school and we were taught to respect and obey the rules and laws of both the school and society.  During the holiday season, my school participated in an annual food drive where I, and many of my peers, would deliver food hampers to individuals and families in our community. In addition, I was part of the local dance school and Girl Guide program while growing up.  In these organizations, we spent numerous hours helping in the community and performing at the nursing home and senior centers.

I was also involved in a number of Participatory Citizen activities throughout my school years.  In Grade 11 I enrolled in Law 30 in which we studied and learned about many political and justice issues through lecture, videos and numerous guest speaker presentations.  I began my involvement in student government in Grade 5 and have been an active participant ever since.  This extensive involvement has allowed me to help address issues in the school and community.  In addition, I have learned how to run a meeting, problem solve, negotiate, compromise and developed many other skills.  In addition, I ventured out of the regular school setting and travelled throughout Saskatchewan and to Ottawa, on four separate occasions, to participate in a variety of forums where I learned about local and national political issues.

The Justice Oriented Citizen learning goes hand in hand with the Forums in which I participated.  A large part of these Forums was to explore an issue of interest and collaborate and share ideas with other participants on how we could make a change in our home community, province and even globally.

After reading about the three types of citizenship learning, I realize that I may be one of the few fortunate people who have experienced all three so fully during my K-12 school career.  However, many of my experiences took place outside of the regular school classroom activities. It makes me wonder if the curriculum does not address all three types of citizenship equally. This seems to be the case as the assigned reading states that, “personal responsibility receives the most attention” (Westheimer, 2004, p. 5).  Upon reflection, I do believe this to be true as it would have been the only citizenship I would have been exposed to if I had not chosen to take Law or participate in the extra-curricular forum travel opportunities.  I am a person who naturally enjoys volunteering, being involved in student led governments, travel, meeting people and learning about a wide array of issues. The opportunities to experience and to contribute to the development of a Personally Responsible citizen are quite accessible in any rural or urban setting and easily fit into a variety of learning outcomes in the curriculum. Whereas, the opportunities contributing to the development of a Participatory citizen and Justice Oriented citizen are not as easy to make available.  However, these can also be provided with some imagination and creativity and should be made a higher  priority in the curriculum in order for students to fully become contributing members of society.

All About Curriculum

Before reading the article I was under the understanding that school curriculum was developed by the Ministry of Education who chose professionals from all over the Education field (Teachers, Administrators, University Professors, etc.) to develop the curriculum in their area of study/strength.

After doing the reading- I answered the questions provided.

How is citizenship education a curricular problem?

It is felt by many people that because schools play such an important role in the lives of students, that it is education’s role and responsibility to develop and graduate “good” citizens.  Graduates with not only an understanding of their country’s governance, but also citizens who are productive and law abiding members of society.  Where should these teachings be included?  Social Science courses or throughout all curricula.

How are school curricula developed and implemented?

The government is involved with the Education sector usually having someone designated for this role.  Other areas of government that may be involved are an elected minister, local school authorities, school councils or governing bodies involving parents and others. This is dependent upon the National Government and to what degree these people have in curriculum politics. Schools also have some influence even if it is only through their choice as to which course and programs they offer. The main groups involved in curriculum reviews are teachers, principals, senior administrators and elected local authorities (if they exist). Subject matter experts from schools and universities typically play a central role in the curriculum formation, review process and potential public debates. Post-secondary institutions can also influence curriculum but this influence can be restrained by tertiary institutions. Curriculum can also be influenced by other policies (ie. student assessment).

What new information/perspectives does this reading provide about the development and implementation of school curriculum?

  • Parties involved in developing the curriculum may not always see eye-to-eye making the process lengthy and complicated.
  • Researchers can provide proven facts but this does not mean the end result will be a correct policy choice if it is not what people believe, want or will accept.

Is there anything that surprises you or maybe that concerns you?

I did not realize the amount of “politics” surrounding curriculum decisions and development.  This is concerning to me as Education and the updating of curriculum may take a backseat to other issues that are felt to be more pressing or decisions may be made in haste with limited or incorrect information.  In addition, government decisions are driven by voters and therefore decisions may be made in order to get reelected that are not in the best interests of students and their education.

The Right “Fit”

According to the commonsense, a “good” student is one who sits quietly, listens to instructions and follows them in a timely manner.  The “good” student completes the task(s) in the prescribed manner within the timeline given.  Students who are privileged by this definition are those who are capable of listening to, understanding and following instructions exactly as instructed.  They are the Type A personality students!  Unfortunately, the commonsense mindset makes teachers believe that every child should behave in this manner, thus making it difficult to understand when they behave differently.  Those students who cannot, or do not adhere in the way considered appropriate to the commonsense definition, are then considered a problem.

Just because a student does not “fit” into the commonsense idea of a “good” student does not mean that they are “bad.”  It is important for teachers to reflect upon the way they structure their class and lessons to ensure that they are engaging all types of students to promote an optimal learning environment for all.  Even the slightest change can make a significant positive impact on a student’s learning and behavior.  For example, implementing a variety of instruction techniques, or allowing students a choice of projects, allows a greater chance of success for all students.  Taking the time to observe and to listen to your students is crucial, not only for their individual success, but also for your effectiveness as a teacher.

Dr. Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences outlines eight different potential pathways to learning.  He suggests several ways to present material to facilitate learning for those who have difficulty following the more traditional approach.  Often, these students are not considered to be “good” students and will be much more successful if material is presented in a way that uses a different Multiple Intelligence. Howard’s theory encourages teachers to use a wide variety of techniques that include music, cooperative learning, art activities, role plays, multi-media, field trips, etc.  This variety of instruction and opportunities for students allow for learning that better suits each individual student’s needs.

Education Is A Weapon

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Nelson Mandela

This quote is saying that changes in the world happen because of Education. Education is a powerful tool or “weapon” that makes positive change possible.  It is Education and knowledge that provide the necessary resources for people to question negative societal norms and act against them in order to make a difference in such areas as gender inequality, poverty, sustaining the environment and preventing illness/diseases.

Although the quote does not directly refer to teachers or students, education occurs when “a teacher” passes along knowledge to “a student”.  Teachers and/or students can take many forms and often exist outside of traditional school walls.  For example, grandparents teach younger generations, peers can teach peers, etc.  In my opinion, teaching is the transference of knowledge from one person to another and is often reciprocal.  Without education, the world would not progress.

Within the traditional school setting, curriculum is regularly reevaluated and changing to reflect the changes in society.  The following quote, taken from this week’s reading, relates not only to curriculum, but also to Mandela’s quote.  Within the reading it was written that, “The idea of curriculum is hardly new – but the way we understand and theorize it has altered over the years – and there remains considerable dispute as to meaning” (Smith, 2000, p. 1). The way we educate our students is based upon the teacher’s interpretation of the curriculum. Therefore, how curriculum is interpreted and delivered may differ from teacher to teacher.  However, it does act as an important baseline to ensure that the students have the opportunity to meet the required outcomes of their grade level. Therefore, teachers, curriculum and schools play a key role in equipping students with the learning, ambition and goals to become positive contributors and change makers in society.

 

Curriculum theory and practice. (2013, April 18). Retrieved from

http://infed.org/mobi/curriculum-theory-and-practice/

Ralph Tyler’s Curriculum Model

Ralph Tyler’s curriculum model is quite simple consisting of only four steps:

  1. Determine the objectives.
  2. Identify educational experiences related to purpose
  3. Organize the experiences
  4. Evaluate the objectives.

The ways in which I may have experienced the Tyler rationale in my own schooling are:

  • To evoke the kind of behavior/learning required to meet the set objectives, we would learn background knowledge followed by a hands-on activity, listen to a guest speaker or go on a field trip. (Tyler’s Step 2 and 3)
  • In an effort to expand our knowledge, many of my teachers utilized what we already knew in an effort to help teach new concepts, etc. (Tyler’s Step 2 and 3)
  • Both formative and summative evaluation was used to ensure understanding of the set objectives.

Some major limitations of the Tyler rationale/what does it make impossible are:

  • The teacher is the manager of what is taught with little or no students input.
  • Teachers are not to question the curriculum. Responsible for ensuring that they are teaching to the objectives and evaluating that they have been met.
  • Teachers do not have any input in process of designing the curriculum.
  • The idea of management (teaching) is to ensure that learning is efficient and the students’ behaviors change in a short amount of time. Reduces the opportunity of branching out or exploring other topics.
  • The article states, “Teaching is evaluated in terms of both student achievement and the efficiency with which the teacher produces student achievement rather than in terms of how humane, creative, enlightening, or insightful it is” (Schiro, 2013, p. 94). Always having to worry about the end result often makes it impossible for teachers to try a variety of teaching methods or to teach how and what they, and their students, are truly passionate about.

Some potential benefits/what is made possible are:

  • Programed curriculum consists of a “sequenced set of learning experiences, each representing a behavior to be learned” (Schiro, 2013, p. 61). This ensures that ideally each student learns the necessary objectives/ behaviors at the correct time meeting the requirements to move onto other learnings/move up a grade.
  • Not all students have the same needs or will benefit from the same prescribed objectives.

The chart that was shown in lecture puts Tyler’s model into perspective and how each step relies upon the previous step being completed. Therefore, putting into perspective how our Education system is similar today as it was in the 1900’s. Learning this information made me reflect on the question, is the Education system moving forward or backwards?

 

Schiro, M. (2013). Curriculum theory: Conflicting visions and enduring concerns (2nd ed.)

SAGE.