Summary of My Learning

https://goanimate.com/videos/0gCTKOZatzNo?utm_source=linkshare&utm_medium=linkshare&utm_campaign=usercontent

This video summarizes the evolution of my ideologies about Curriculum. In this video I have compared my assumptions about Curriculum to a building. At first my building was small but sturdy. Throughout the semester my building has gone through many challenges that has eventually caused it to collapse. From the leftovers of my old building and from the new things I have learned about curriculum I was able to rebuild a bigger more complex building. However, this new building has been built on a very shaky foundation as I have many unanswerable questions and many conflicting feelings about curriculum. I fully expect that this building will also collapse and I will be able to rebuild yet again. I believe that throughout my lifetime I will continuously have my beliefs as an educator challenged and my assumptions will be continuously evolving as a result.

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Curriculum as Numeracy

I have always loved Mathematics. It was my favorite subject for most of my school career. I loved the puzzle that was math and I craved the feeling of solving math problems whether it was addition in 1st grade or quadratic equations in high school. However, I think part of why I loved math was I was told from an early age that I was good at it. Thinking back, my class was divided into those that were good at math and those that were not. This division happened by grade two and held strong throughout my school career. The students that were not good in math in Grade Two were not good in math in Grade Twelve. After listening to Gail’s presentation and her belief that we are all mathematical, I wonder if my classmates were really not good at math or did they struggle because they had the belief early on that they were mathematically inclined.

This week’s article was interesting as it demonstrated that there is different ways to think about math. One of the key features of math that I was taught was there was only one correct way to do it and only one correct answer to a question. This article about teaching mathematics in an Inuit community challenged that assumption. I found it interesting to think about using base 20 system instead of a base 10 because that changes the way that I look at math, and challenges the idea that there was one way to count. It is also interesting to note that the Inuits have about three words for every number depending on the situation. It is interesting to think that numbers and our view on numbers changes depending on the context.

The Dangers of a Single Story

I’ve had a scary thought this week as I realized I have never thought about the single story I have been told. Thinking back to my schooling I realize that I absolutely was only told one story. In English class we read stories written by white, upper-class men. In math class we learned the same formulas created by old, white men. In Science, we learned the Western ideologies about scientific method and logic. In history we learned the colonial story of how Canada was created. I didn’t even have the benefit of Treaty Education to add another story to my experiences. I was never told that there was another way to look at these subjects. I was never told that there was any other stories.

This weeks discussion has also made me think about how lucky I have been to have been able to see myself in the literature and media I have been exposed to. I am not only well represented but I am positively represented. There is no shortage of female protagonists with blonde hair and blue eyes. And the characters that look like me are very rarely the “bad” guys. This is something I have hardly ever thought about before this semester, but it is something that I am glad has been brought to my attention. How would my self-image have been affected if I never read books that I could identify with? Or worse, how would I have been affected if the only characters that looked like me or had my story were villains?

 

My childhood has given me the story of invisible privilege and has encouraged me  to read my world through this lense. My parents were very concerned with raising responsible, kind, compassionate children. My teachers seemed to have  the  same goal. Therefore, I heard an uncountable times that all people are equal. It was never brought to my attention that other people’s experiences in the world would be different than mine. My childhood was not particularly diverse and therefore I really only heard one story about people who were different then me. And that story did not come from people with diversity. Instead, I learned the stereotypes of many groups in my society. Many of these stereotypes are not positive.
Luckily for me, I have continued my education to postsecondary where I have been told many more stories.  I am being taught how to question the single story I have been told. I think the biggest “take-away” I got from this week’s article was the importance of questioning. Questioning the story, whose story is it, what does it allow, what doesn’t it allow, who is oppressed by it; who benefits from it? The key isn’t to silence any story, but to question it and listen to other stories. Because there is never just one story and listening to only one story is what gets us into trouble.

My preparation for Citizenship

I think my most memorable example of learning about citizenship in school was learning about government in grade three and four. And grade five and six and again in seven and eight. And these lessons on government were the most mind-numbing, boring lessons I experienced in school. As an active and enthused learner, there was very few times in school were I was so bored I had to fight falling asleep, especially in middle school. However, I have very vivid memories of Mr. O’dell explaining the levels of government while I tried not to blink for fear I wouldn’t open my eyes again.

My experiences with learning citizenship in high school were more positive. I was an active member of my school’s SRC and our High School Rodeo Association’s student board and learned plenty about government and organizations through these experiences. My dad was active on many boards and our local municipal government, so he taught me plenty about the important roles of citizens in democracy. In school, we also attended We Day a few times and sponsored a child in Africa. I remember being frustrated by how little we did and how much praise we got for it. Our community was very proud of our involvement in “changing the world” which I thought was exaggerated. We really only donated a couple of dollars a month to an organization that we were pretty sure was supporting a child on our behalf.

My experiences of citizenship in school  prepared me to be a responsible citizen, maybe even a participatory citizen, but it did not prepare me to be a Justice oriented citizen according to this week’s article. I was never encouraged to seek out and think about the injustices that exist and I was not taught how to “effect systemic change.”  I was never taught how to think critically or encouraged to “see beyond surface causes.” Instead, I was taught to follow the status quo and to feel good about donating a few dollars to save the African children that needed our help.

My new relationship with Treaty Education

My high school teachers did not see the value of teaching treaty ed to students who did not fit into the First Nations, Metis or Inuit peoples category. Therefore, in my school career, I missed out on getting the other side of the story. I missed gaining an understanding of the importance of the treaties and how they have influenced and continue to influence the environment that I am in. I missed the opportunity to explore the privileges I have gained as a result of the treaties. And possibly most importantly, I missed out on seeing my relationship with the treaties. To me, the treaties were for other people. Without treaty education, our students will not see themselves as a part of the bigger picture, they will not see themselves as being involved in the treaties nor will they see their own responsibilities to the treaties. For our non-indigenous students, treaties will always seem like something for other people, not something that they are involved in. Without treaty education our students will not see the common ground between all Canadians and our combined relationship with the treaties and therefore, reconciliation will be impossible.
Before I had attended the Treaty Education Camp at the University of Regina in October 2016, I had never heard the term “we are all treaty people.” Prior prior to the camp I had never thought about my own tie to the Treaties. Those five words have caused me to shift my worldview. As a treaty person, I have gained plenty and therefore I have responsibilities to the treaties. As a future educator, a large portion of my responsibilities will be preparing our children to take on the responsibilities that being treaty people will require of them. This has forced me to look at curriculum as a vessel for preparing students for the social justice responsibilities they will have in their lifetime. The weight of this task intimidates me. I just learned that I was a treaty person, so how am I supposed to educate students about what that means. It is Claire’s advice during her presentation that has brought me the most comfort. By sharing her own experiences, Claire helped me realize that I do not need to have all the answers. I am allowed to learn and explore alongside my students and I am allowed to make mistakes. It is not important that I  tackle Treaty Education with all the answers, but it is important that I do my best to meet the Treaty Education outcomes, and that I approach them with a willingness to learn more. It is most important that I embrace my responsibilities as an educator and as a treaty person.

Learning from Place

This weeks article, Learning from Place, has many examples of decolonization and reinhabitation. This article is about challenging dominant ideas, “recovering and renewing traditional patterns” and learning to interact with our environment again (74). The subjects in this article are determined to reconnect the generations. They have youth conduct interviews with members of their community to re-establish intergenerational communication and create podcasts that can be shared with the world. Next, they hosted a 10-day river trip for youth, elders and the generation in between. On this trip, the group traveled on their traditional waters and land and learned from each other about their connection to the land. I found the worry about the misuse of the word paquataskamik particularly interesting. The article also talked about Cree word, paquataskamik which is a word that has been used to “describe natural environment and draws attention to the whole of traditional territory.” It was noticed that the current youth does not use this word properly and often they do not use it at all. They blame this on language loss and on the change in relationship with the environment.

 

But how does this apply to me and my future as an educator?

The biggest takeaway I got from this article was how important it is to take the community and what is important to the community into account. In this community, it is important to them that their children have a connection to the land and that they realize the cultural and historical significance of the river in their community. While a river trip may not apply to every community I teach in, there will always be something that is important to the community and that is something I should incorporate into my classroom in a big way. I also believe that a connection to the environment is important to the children of all places. It is also important to allow the community members to help educate their children. As an educator, I hope to remember this and bring in guest speakers, and go on field trips and just have a classroom that is open to the community. Intergenerational communication is so very important and as an educator I hope to be able to facilitate that for my students.

How is Curriculum developed?

Before Reading

I’m a bit embarrassed that I do not know with one hundred percent certainty how school curriculum is developed. You think someone who plans to be a teacher would have more knowledge about the legislature that will govern her career. And yet the answer I am going giving for the question “how do you think that school curricula are developed?” is going to be a complete guess. I would like to venture a guess that creating curriculum is a time consuming, and a lot of work. It must require the consultation of many people and groups such as the government, school boards and teachers. I believe that the government is very influential in the development of curricula as educating our future leaders is a political act. I had a high school teacher tell me once that the first thing a dictator will do once in power is get rid of all the current teachers and replace them with people who follow their political agenda. I’m not sure how accurate this statement actually is, but it makes sense to me. Educators have a lot of power on our youth.In Canada, luckily, they are not so drastic as getting rid of all the teachers with each new leadership. However, I would imagine that they would redesign what is being taught to our youth so that it matches their political agendas. I would also like to believe that curriculum is developed with the consultation of teachers in the field as that would make sense. These are the people who know how to work with curriculum and whose jobs  will be affected the most by these documents.

 

After Reading
This week’s article surprised me. It did not surprise me to find out how political building curriculum is. It did surprise me how many people have an influence on the curriculum. There were groups that this article listed that I never would have considered as having any influence. These included textbook companies, members of the community and church, businesses. I think having many different people and groups involved in the curriculum creating process is a good thing because the deciding what our children are going to learn  is very important. The more differing worldviews and philosophies that inform curriculum the better off our you will be.

I am the Good Student

When I think back, I was the perfect stereotypical image of the good student.On my very first day of school, I entered the kindergarten classroom with blonde pigtails and bright blue eyes, excited to be there and eager to learn. My parents put great importance on education and therefore, they read storybooks to me and taught me to count and recognize numbers and letters and helped me do crafts and cut with scissors and colour inside the lines. Therefore, I was proficient at these skills before I had started school. My first report  card in Kindergarten reflected this and labelled me as a good student. This label held throughout my school career and I was treated as such.  I am a rule follower who gets great joy from pleasing others. I do not like to “toe the line” and I take great care to avoid conflict. I have a passion for learning and spent my free time in high school either studying, volunteering in my school community or tutoring my peers. In short, I was the “teacher’s pet”.

Having this label was an advantage when it came to my grades. One teacher in particular seemed to give me great marks no matter the quality of my work. In fact, one of my friends and I worked on an assignment together and had nearly the same answers throughout the assignment. And yet, I, as the good student, received as substantially higher grade on that assignment. However, this label was also  disadvantage. It allowed me to be lazy and to ride my reputation to a good mark without putting much effort in.
I can say with confidence that I was a good student. I do not say this because I think I am particularly smart or designated to be successful. In fact, I do not think that the attributes that make me “the good students” will make me successful in my life as a productive member of society. I believe the students who were not afraid to toe the line and challenge the rules and think creatively are better prepared to be successful. Therefore, I believe the current image we have of the “good student” is not helping our students or our society as a whole.

Realistically I know that all teachers , including me, go into a classroom with biases and preconceived notions. However, as a teacher, my hope is that I can recognize the idea of who is a good student and challenge them. I hope that I will be able to recognize that all students are capable of being “good” students. And that it is my job as an educator to create an environment that enables all my students to be good students. Actually, to be the best students they can be.

 

An Education Quote to guide me

“The day you are willing to veer from the lesson plan, follow a kid’s lead, and learn with your students is the day you really become a teacher.” –Kristy Venosdale

This quote has been an inspiration for me since I started this journey to become an educator. It came up on my pinterest feed soon after I had started classes here in the faculty of Education. When I read it I thought that is exactly the kind of teacher I want to be. The kind of teacher that is flexible and responsive and willing to learn and passionate about educating and learning and developing relationships with children. So I copied it down on a piece of paper and have had it hung in my room ever since.

This quote sums up the importance of inquiry based learning but it also enunciates the importance of being flexible and allowing students to take the lead in their own education journey. This quotes and the teachers who follow it make it harder to standardize education. This is not the most efficient way to teach a large group of children a set of facts that would ideally prepare them for their future jobs. This method of teaching does, however, make it possible to inspire children to be the facilitators of their own learning. I believe it is the teachers job to follow the lead of the students and then find out how what they are learning fits into the curriculum.

This quote sums up what I hope to be as an educator. I hope to use curriculum as a guide but to not be afraid to veer from it a little in order to follow the student’s educational journey and to learn with my students.

The affects of the Tyler Rationale

My educational experience has been greatly affected by Tyler probably in more ways than I’ll be able to identify. In the article, Tyler is quoted saying “education is a process of changing the behavior of people.”  This processes started the moment I entered the kindergarten classroom at Gladmar Regional School. There I was taught how to line up how to sit quietly, to raise your hand when you want to speak, and to ask for permission to go to the washroom. I remember being so con and socialize with my peers. These lessons continued into my high school experiences as fused by that concept. I had never had to ask to go to the washroom before, I just went. So I didn’t understand why I had to at school. I also learned how to share and workwell. I learned how to do well on assessments such as assignments and tests in order to convey that I was successfully being modified to fit the goal of the education I was receiving.

The Tyler Rationale is designed to be efficient and to create adults that are suitable for society. However it does have its limitations. Tyler’s beliefs do not really allow for diversity. The goal of the Tyler Rationale is to create individuals who are proficient in society. The goal is not to enhance creativity or problem solving skills. It is based on standardized testing and is product oriented without any emphasis on the value of the learning process. The goal is to modify behaviors to fit a model that works well in our society. This does not allow for uniqueness or diversity.