ECS 210

Week 10

Respond to the following:

  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?
  2. Which “single stories” were present in your own schooling? Whose truth mattered?
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ECS 210

Week 9

March 15, 2019

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?

My mathematics experience was biased. We were taught with Western traditions of mathematics in mind. Generally speaking, there is a proper way to learn what was being taught.  If you could not follow this, or found another way to do the same question that proved effective, you still were marked as if you did the question wrong.

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. Measurements are based on the individual body, such as arm length.
  2. The Inuit have a base-20 numeral system. Eurocentric view is base-10.
  3. Traditional Inuit teaching is based off of observing and/or listening to an Elder, rather than the Eurocentric “pencil and paper” method.

 

ECS 210

Citizenship

March 8, 2019

What examples of citizenship education do you remember from your K-12 schooling? What types of citizenship (e.g. which of the three types mentioned in the article) were the focus? Explore what this approach to the curriculum made (im)possible in regards to citizenship.

The article, What Kind of Citizen?, states that there are three types of citizens: the personally responsible citizen, the participatory citizen, and the justice oriented citizen.

The personally responsible citizen acts responsibly in his/her community by doing things such as: picking up litter, giving blood, recycling, obeying laws, and/ or staying out of debt. They also may contribute to food or clothing drives when asked and volunteer to help those who are less fortunate. They are taught to “treat others with respect…deal peacefully with anger…be considerate of the feelings of others…follow the Golden Rule…use good manners” (pg. 3)

The participatory citizen are those who actively participate in the civic affairs and the social life of community at local, state, and national levels.

The Justice oriented citizen find opportunities to analyze and understand the interplay of social, economic, and political force. They are taught to work to improve society by analyzing addressing social issues and injustices.

The article makes this larger scale connection which helped me to understand how the different types of citizens interact (or rather, do not interact): “If participatory citizens are organizing the food drive and personally responsible citizens are donating food, [while the] justice oriented citizens are asking why people are hungry and acting on what they discover.” (pg. 4)

When I think back to my K-12 education, I think I was raised to be a personally responsible citizen. I remember having “Earth Days” where we would head out into our community and pick-up litter, which demonstrates this. 

 

ECS 210

We Are All Treaty People

March 1, 2019

  1. What is the purpose of teaching Treaty Ed (specifically) or First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (FNMI) Content and Perspectives (generally) where there are few or no First Nations, Metis, Inuit peoples?
  2. What does it mean for your understanding of curriculum that “We are all treaty people”?

 

To me, “we are all treaty people”, means although one may feel they are not directly affected by treaties, or rather, by history, they are. We all live on treaty land. When the treaty was created, it was an agreement between two cultures of people. It should not only hold significance for the Indigenous Peoples, rather it extends to anybody that lives in Canada. My response to this student’s email would be as follows:

The purpose of teaching Treaty Education in the classroom is to educate everyone about Treaties, Indigenous ways of knowing, and about Canadian history. I will be first to admit that Treaty Education is a difficult, uncomfortable topic that may feel hard to approach, but that does not mean that it should be excluded from the classroom. You are right to think that even in a predominantly non-Indigenous classroom or school, that Treaty education is of value to the students. As Canadians, we all reside on Treaty territory and benefit from Treaty land and therefore, all play a role in Treaties. Treaty Education provides students with the opportunity to learn and understand many things about other cultures, which allows for a deeper understanding and a better perspective on the world as a whole. As Canadians, Treaties are part of our lives, even if we choose to ignore it. Remember though, there is no “opt- out” button if you’re still residing on Treaty land.

This might then, be a good place to start with your cooperating teacher. Provide the understanding that “We are all Treaty people” and in saying this take the time to explain the importance of Treaty Education. Think of it this way: If we choose to exclude Treaty Education, we are losing a large part of knowing about the history of Canada and Canadian identity, which in turn, also links back to the loss of respect for the Indigenous culture. This is our history, we all need to know, and understand it! This is a huge step in the right direction.

I recommend first doing some research and familiarizing yourself with Treaties though, before approaching your cooperating teacher and before approaching them in class. I recommend checking out Cynthia Chamber’s, “We are all Treaty People”, this interview with Claire Krueger, and Dwayne Donald’s lecture, titled “On What Terms Can We Speak”. Access resources within your community, such as Elders. They are very knowledgeable individuals who hold much Indigenous knowledge and other ways of knowing.

Cynthia Chamber’s writes an exceptional article about what it means to be a Treaty person. She explains that, “And, if curriculum scholars and practitioner, such as myself, consider the matter carefully, this IS our world. It is work that need to be done, for that, and for the common good; it is work best done together”. (Cambers, p. 35)

As Claire Krueger mentions in one of her blogs, teaching Treaty Education and First Nations, Metis, and Inuit content is not something that you should just dive into. You must start at the beginning, similar to the idea of climbing a ladder. Regardless of the age of your students, it is important to think about previous knowledge students have been offered surrounding this matter. If it seems as if they have been offered nothing, refer back to the kindergarten curriculum. Build from there.

Dwayne Donald speaks more to the fact of the importance of relationships, especially when referring to Treaty Education. He explains that Treaty Education is not just about the offered information, it is about the relationships that are formed through the teaching of it. Help your students to understand the importance of relationships with not only others, but with Treaties.

 

ECS 210

Learning from Place

February 15

Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

 

ECS 210

Curriculum

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.

ECS 210

Montessori

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.