Looking back on my upbringing/school, I realize how lucky I was to have gone to school where I did. I attended Marion McVeety elementary school which had a very diverse student population. There were countless different cultures and races within my school. It was a fairly small school and we all knew each other and were friends. After graduating from there, I attended Campbell Collegiate which was also extremely diverse.
Growing up, my parents always preached how everyone is equal and to always be kind. It was very beneficial to me that both my parents were also teachers, and knew the atmosphere of schools.
A “single story” was seen many times in Social Studies and History classes. We only see one side of the story, which leads students to only know half the facts of what actually happened. This was also sometimes seen in grade 10/11/12 English. Single stories are unfortunately very common in schools. Student’s would benefit much more from hearing the whole story.
When I think back to my K-12 schooling, I can think of many ways we demonstrated citizenship. At my elementary school, we collected food for the food bank twice a year. One we did before Christmas, and one before Easter. We also did school yard clean ups a few times during school every year. However, I don’t remember if my teachers ever told us why we were doing that. The reasons were, “cleaning up the school helps the earth” and “donating food helps the community”, but we truly didn’t know why. My school choir also went to the Regina Rehabilitation center to sing to the folks before Christmas, and the grade 7/8 classes also went there to decorate the windows with Christmas symbols. All of these tasks fall under ‘The Personally Responsible Citizen’, which is the lowest level of citizenship. These are amazing things to do, but there are certainly ways to go beyond that and be a better citizen.
The Personally Responsible Citizen was definitely the main focus of my elementary school. I believe it is easy for teachers to implement this is schools since it doesn’t take much planning, and it is something all students can do.
I noticed in my school, people didn’t really want to participate in citizenship activities. If teachers make it a point to tell students why they are doing something, and how it benefits them and the community, I think it would allow students to get behind what they are doing. It is also important to not only participate in these around holidays or special days. I volunteered at the Food Bank for my ECS 200 class, and they told me that they have empty shelves around non holiday weeks/months. That is the time they desperately need help from the community. As a future educator, I would love to take my students to the food bank (in September) before they do a food drive so they understand where the food is going, who is receiving it and why. While there, it would also be great if they could help sort food. This would be so beneficial for students and would get them involved in the community.
All throughout school, I loved math, hence why I am a math minor. It was always my favourite thing to do at school, other than Physical Education class and lunch of course. Now, I don’t remember math ever being oppressive or discriminating, but I also would not have known what that meant until high school. I also was never ‘looking’ for that while I was at school. From discussions in my math class, I can see now how the Indigenous ways of knowing are not showcased in the mathematics curriculum. The way we learn is very worldview A dominant, meaning it is westernized. If we taught and learned through worldview B, the content would resemble the Indigenous ways of knowing and better support our students.
Inuit vs. Eurocentric Ways:
The Inuit have a base-20 number system. The westernized world uses a base-10 system. We learn using the base-10 system even when we are babies. Like Gale mentioned, babies notice when you subtract toys away from what is around them. Measuring length from the Eurocentric idea is using rulers, however, the Inuit measure using benchmarks. For example, they use parts of their body like their finger to measure a certain length to make parkas. The Inuit also use their traditional calendar that measures time based on “natural independently recurring yearly events” (61).
After reading the email from the intern, I was honestly not really surprised with what they were experiencing in the field. The way we as pre-service teachers are taught in university is so different than experienced teachers in the field were. I believe that it is so important to teach in a different way than how our co-op does, because if we teach like them, we are doing a disservice to our students (In this situation). I am also curious how to do this if my co-op teaches very different from me? What is the best approach when I get push back from students?
It is so important that people living in our land we call Canada understand the history of the nation. The purpose of teaching Treaty Education where there are few or no First Nations, Metis or Inuit peoples is to educate everyone on our history. Treaties were signed as an agreement between the first people here and the settlers. I compare this to how schools teach French. Even though a school has no French speaking people, they still teach it. It should be the same with Treaty Education.
Treaty Ed. camp was a great refresher to me on how to incorporate Indigenous content in the classroom, and why it is so important to do so. Something I took from the keynote presentation was how Erika Violet Lee said multiple times, “our land referred to as Canada”. Maybe you noticed that I used that phrase in my second paragraph. It is something I would like to use from now on. We can start with something simple, such as the way we refer to Canada.
Decolonization and Reinhabitation…
- “it was evident that a community priority was bringing together Elders and youth so they could learn from one another about the role and meaning of the land to social well-being” (p.73).
- Relationships between all people
- Practicing tradition
- Shared learnings between Elders and youth
- Creating connections to the land
At Treaty Ed. Camp, the keynote speaker Erika Violet Lee said countless times, “our land referred to as Canada”. This was a unique way to discuss our land and it really stood out to me in her presentation. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to her and learning from her.
Adapt These Ideas…
My EPE 300 and EMTH 300 classes have discussed this topic many times. In Phys. Ed, it is important that we don’t just play Lacrosse and say that its roots come from Indigenous peoples. We should be implementing traditional games into each unit we do. My math class talked about recognizing ethnomathematics. Incorporating Indigenous games can provide a more inclusive classroom and can encourage learning. In university, I participated in the blanket exercise which was very eye opening. This can give students a better understanding of place, but this topic definitely needs to be taken further than that. I have learned that Indigenous content can be included in everything we teach, we just have to put the time in to make those connections.
Before Reading: How do you think that school curricula are developed?
This is something I have never thought of before. I know that there are many people who co-write the curriculum. Considering curriculum in Canada is broken up by province, maybe it is developed based on location? Looking at the phys.ed 20/30 curriculum, it is in a draft phase. The phys. ed program was clearly old and needed reworking, but I am unsure of exactly where the curriculum being added comes from. Possibly textbooks? In phys.ed we used 2 textbooks: One was about Teaching Games for Understanding and the other was “Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility Through Physical Activity” (2010) by Don Hellison. These concepts were a large part of my phys.ed classes in university, so maybe that’s what curriculum writers are using- at least for phys. ed.
Polices play a huge part in just about every aspect of education. The article “Curriculum Policy and the Politics of What Should be Learned in Schools” by Ben Levin states that “The role of politics in policy is troubling and misunderstood by many educators, who feel that education is a matter of expertise and should be beyond politics” (Levin, 2007; p. 8). So curricula is developed and implemented by the government, who is voted in by the people. The article then says that most policy related decisions that are made in education are made with little, and sometimes no public attention. The lives of our students are within the hands of the government, who often just do what they want and don’t take ‘outside’ ideas into consideration. Ben Levin says that “Understanding the politics of curriculum requires an understanding of the factors that affect elected governments and especially the powerful constraints that limit both understanding of what to do and capacity to act” (Levin, 2007; p. 9).
To create and revise curricula, experts are usually brought in to create a draft. This is often organized by the government officials from ministries of education. The experts however don’t necessarily have a background of writing curriculum.
This article gave me much more insight into the curriculum. Government and policies are not my expertise so this was very informative.
Kumashiro defined common sense as “what everyone should know” (Kumashiro, 2009; p. XXIX) and is based off of their geographical and cultural place. A good student is someone who is quiet and listens to the teacher, regularly attends school and is on time, is engaged in class, and finishes their work to the best of their ability. This definition is based off of my common sense. People see a ‘good’ student in many different ways. Is there really such thing as a ‘good’ student? Do teachers think the ‘good’ students are the ones who encompass what they believe is ‘good’.
Students who are privileges by this definition…
The students who are privileged by this definition are the ones who are ‘good’ at school. This definition will ‘hurt’ students who are not present while at school. When I think about this topic, I think of students who are seen as the ‘teacher’s pet’. Those generally are the students who are ‘good’ and who are most like the teacher. I would like to see the idea of a ‘good’ student diminish as it is so hard for children to fit in at school. They are searching for their identity and don’t need added pressure to fit in that stereotype.
Made impossible to see/understand/believe…
If all students try to fit the ‘good’ student idea, all students would be the same and there would be no challenge within school. Having a variety of learning styles and behaviours at school allows for growth of students and teachers. It is important for teachers to allow their students to be independent and be their true self.
“What matters today. . . is not how much our students know, but what they can do with what they know”
When I first read this quote, the word today stood out to me. This is showing the difference between education now, and education in the past. Although educators think they are teaching with the goal of students being able to ‘do’, I was still taught with the goal being to ‘know’. There is for sure inconsistency, but hopefully the next generation of teachers work toward the ‘do’ aspect of learning.
Tony Wagner said this quote perfectly. This is a huge topic in my EMTH 300 course. An example I can think of is:
If you know how to multiply, but you don’t know how to multiply tax to items you buy… What is the point of being able to multiply since you can’t apply it to very useful things in your real life? This example could account for many different things one encounters in their day to day lives.
Think about what it makes possible and impossible in education…
This makes it possible for teachers to really dig deep in material and not just stay on the surface. It also makes it feasible for students to learn skills that will help them be lifelong learners.
It makes it impossible for educators to teach as they have been for the past century. I’m realizing that the way I was taught was not successful for all learning types.
What does it say about the teacher, about the student?
This quote says that teachers need to adjust the way they are delivering lessons and think about WHY am I teaching this? Students need to be open and willing to learn and apply knowledge.
How does it relate to your own understandings of curriculum and of school?
After being exposed to the Saskatchewan Curriculum and it being in the forefront of my classes, I can see how this quote fits in with the 3 Broad Areas of Learning:
- Building Lifelong Learners
- Building Engaged Citizens
- Building a Sense of Self and Community
Each of these demonstrates how the student can take what they learn and apply it into their lives. I can see how my professors are encouraging us future educators to teach differently than in the past. Promoting the application of knowledge will create a better learning space for students in schools.