Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing
- List some of the ways that you see reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the narrative.
I really enjoyed this article. I feel that it provided me with the opportunity to stand back and shift my lense from dominant culture and the norms of society, while in short, learning and broadening my perspective around the ideas of reinhabitation and decolonization. This article gave me the opportunity to build Indigenous ways of knowing into my understanding of curriculum. It reflected on the Mushkegowuk Cree People’s concepts of not only land and environment, but of life as a whole through following experiences of those in the community.
While reading the article, it was asked that we reflect on some of the ways this narrative portrayed both reinhabitation and decolonization. For me, the river trip played an important role in the process of both reinhabitation and decolonization. Elders were given the opportunity to share their knowledge and experiences of the river to the younger generation. During their time on the river, the Cree language was used to both expand and connect those that went along on the river trip, in quite a significant way. The trip allowed the elders to re-introduce the younger generation to more traditional ways of knowing, that had since been left behind. They explored the history and importance of the land, issues revolving around governing systems, and about cultural and environmental preservation. “The river trip helped members of the community share linguistic, cultural, historical, and geographical knowledge.” As they travelled along the different bends of the river, the elders were also able to share both events and emotions that had taken place there, years previous. While doing so, they brought together many generations of people within their community, in hopes to reclaim the traditional knowledge of their culture and heritage while beginning to helps others gain an understanding of how decolonization and rehabilitation affected their community. It also allowed for greater connections between those in the community.
- How might you adapt these ideas towards considering place in your own subject areas and teaching?
We were also asked to touch on the idea of how some of the ideas in this article could be adapted and put into play in our future classrooms. Education is something that is constantly changing, and it most likely will always be this way. Curriculum as a place allows teachers to provide young children with the opportunity to view and understand the community around them in different ways, which is important for both the building of community, and cultural preservation. With this, I have learned that in my future, Indigenous ways of knowing are of great importance. As an advocate for more time spent outdoors in a natural learning environment, I think that connection with the natural environment is so important. Indigenous ways of knowing would tell us this too. Making the small (but much needed and respected) change of taking kids outdoors for excursions or even for daily lessons, whether they be across the county or just out on the playground, can provide them with knowledge about the environment around them and the resources it has to offer. It can provide children with the opportunity to gain respect and appreciation for for the land that supports them. Treaty education is another great way to incorporate place into education. Again, get outside of the classroom and visit historic sites that were or are prominent in Indigenous Peoples lives. If staying in the classroom in necessary, bring an elder into the classroom. I think it is so important for students to hear from more than only myself.
February 7, 2019
Before Reading: How do you think that school curricula are developed? This is an entry point to this topic and whatever you write will be fine.
I think curriculum is developed by individuals who have some sort of experience in the field of education. These experienced individuals (along with outside influences from both public systems and political systems) decide what is important for the students to learn during the school year, and create outcomes and indicators for educators to help their students to accomplish by the end of the term, or the end of the year. The curriculum that is created is revised by multiple individuals, multiple times, before implementing it into classrooms.
After Reading: How are school curricula developed and implemented? What new information/perspectives does this reading provide about the development and implementation of school curriculum? Is there anything that surprises you or maybe that concerns you?
After reading the posted article, I discovered that the curriculum is developed by experienced individuals who draft and revise the curriculum before handing it off to the provincial government where it is again examines, evaluated, and refined. In short, the provincial government has the final say in the curriculum that is developed and implemented, which leads the curriculum and therefor education as a whole, to be subject to many political influences. When you take away the power from experienced individuals who know and understand what works best, you are left with a system that is focused on creating ‘robots’. High levels of political influence in education and curriculum can lead to more biased goals, and can shift focus away from providing quality learning experiences or rather, providing a good education for our learners, where more stress is put on the receiving of high grades and focus on written tests, when this is something our education system and teachers as a whole are trying to leave behind.
After reading, I am left with one big question: is a balance of experienced educator, public, and political influences necessary to create a curriculum that is both unbiased and reasonably goal orientated?
Levin, B. (2008). Curriculum policy and the politics of what should be learned in schools. In F. Connelly, M. He & J. Phillion (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of curriculum and instruction (pp. 7 – 24). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.Available on-line from: http://www.corwin.com/upm-data/16905_Chapter_1.pdf.
January 25, 2019
“The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.’”
As teachers, we have two main options when it comes to teaching: We can see what children know, and allow them to elaborate on these things, or we can sit them down and shovel “knowledge” into their heads before sending them home. Which of these proves most effective? Is there benefit of using both together?
As a future educator, I recognize and appreciate Maria Montessori’s ideas that surround the idea of guiding learners. When thinking of this idea, I focus on one main idea: If we didn’t teach certain things in a certain (proving to be successful) way with the guidelines of curriculum, what would children really learn? For example, if we told the children they had the opportunity to choose what they wanted to learn about and they chose butterflies because this was interesting to them, that will be all they learn about and therefore, they would only take home knowledge about butterflies. While that knowledge is valuable in some sense and it is great that a learner is getting to guide their own learning and work at their own pace, I feel that they aren’t really challenging themselves.
So, as part of my teaching philosophy, I do think it is important to have an end goal in mind and to always be working towards those said goals and to developing different skills, while still remembering that it is valuable to have children set their own goals, and teach themselves within certain parameters. Providing children with the opportunity to teach themselvea can allow them to form many new skills that revolve around the idea of independence, and self teaching, that standard methods of teaching fail to provide. I think that curriculum is important to help teachers provide a decent education to their students, and to help provide endless goals to meet. I do think that there are many problems in the curriculum though and it may need to evolve with times, be reflected on and revised, but I think it has good intentions and was written by people who value education.
January 10, 2019
Questions: How does Kumashiro define ‘common sense’? Why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘common sense’?
“…many aspects of schooling in the United States have become so routine and commonplace that they often go unquestioned. Across the nation and for both young children and adolescents, schools generally open from early morning until mid-afternoon, Monday through Friday”. “Students spend most of their time studying the four “core disciplines” of social studies, English language and literature, the natural sciences, and mathematics”.
The article, “The Problem of Common Sense” looks at the idea of common sense with a critical lense. “Common sense does not tell us what schools could be doing; it tells us that this and only this is what schools should be doing”. These “common sense” ideas are so embedded in our educational system. They are constricting and do not allow allow for a rounded, quality based education. which I hope to provide for future learners. These practices, attitudes, and actions are so “normal” or habitual that most overlook “common sense” ideas, rather than stand up and challenge what quite possibly, needs to be challenged and given more attention. As stated in the article, common sense ideas allow for both subtle and blatant instances of religious intolerance, racial discrimination, gender inequality, economic bias, and other forms of oppression to work there way into our educational experiences and it allows them to become normal, in a sense. As educators, we need to examine and challenge the “common sense” ideas that are present in our curriculum today and push to change these “common sense” ideas. As an individual who hopes to teach in the near future, I need to shift my lense to look at “common sense” ideas that have been placed in our educational system and begin to expand and reform the “mold” in which most, myself included, assimilate others into.