In response to “Chapter 7. Examples of English Literature (Kumashiro. (2014). Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice, pp. 61-68).”
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?
My upbringing/schooling shaped how I “read the world” because I am open-minded and open-hearted. My family raised to be kind, respectful, and responsible person, and in school I was taught to be a good citizen and a “good” student in my teacher’s eyes. My upbringing/schooling allowed me to realize the many different types of stereotypes that surround me and how there can always be more than one side to every story someone may say. Before attending University, I look back and realize that myself I have biases towards people, but now I have become more accepting and ignored these biases and stereotypes that I had. I have become more anti-bias towards situations in my life. Even though throughout elementary and high school I loved learn and I feel my identity was created by what I learned and what I liked learning. However, I have come to realize that what I was learning is just one way and there is a bunch of different learnings out there that I could be educating myself on. When I think of the biases I may bring into my classroom I am hopeful that with learning more on anti-bias education and being an open-minded person will help eliminate biases I may bring. I do hope that all my students will work their hardest, try new things, and succeed in my classroom. I feel that people can unlearn/work against biases just by simply opening up their minds and not just focusing on the single story that they have been taught. Rather than people need to focus on the many different stories out there and look from other people’s perspective on things.
Which “single stories” were present in your own schooling? Whose truth mattered?
In my own schooling the “single” stories” that were presented were ones about certain countries being poor, or books that were focused and geared towards white middle class males. I never read stories that were based on other cultures, they all consisted of white males who either were middle class or very wealthy. The only time I can remember learning about another culture was during the multicultural week, and where each student was assigned a different culture to research and create a poster board project on it. Even though this was a good way to get us to expand our knowledge on others cultures I think it creates a problem because the students are only seeing what is on the internet. Taking all the information from the internet tends to only show the stereotypes or the single story of that culture. Usually the students do not learn about the turn culture they only learn about the stereotypical ideas that fall into the different cultures without really thinking that these may not be true for every person. However, I believe that as educators we need to be learning and deepening our understanding of other cultures regardless if in that year, we have students who are of different cultures. The year after that or ten years down the road we may so we need to constantly be expanding our knowledge. I think we need to learn about each individual student’s culture and what their background and home lives are like rather than using social media and books to tell us which usually end up just being stereotypical ideas. Just having one week and one project where students learned about another culture is not enough because in schools we are still on taught that one “single story” which was based towards white middle class males. We should be learning about others celebrations, the norms for them, the gender roles that play out, their beliefs and values, as well as the expectations that parents may have on their children that are in our classroom. When I try to look for times where I was not taught just the “single story” it is hard and upsets me that my teachers did not expand my knowledge and had only used this “single story” to teach me. By looking at my own experience and after reading I have seen how important it is to not just have this “single story” in my classroom and to do all I can for my students to ensure they all belong within the four walls of my classroom.
In response to “Bear, L. L. (2000). Jagged worldviews colliding. In M. Batiste (Ed.), Reclaiming Indigenous voice and vision (pp. 77-85). UBC Press.” And “Poirier, L. (2007). Teaching mathematics and the Inuit community, Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 7(1), p. 53-67.”
- 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?
Thinking back on my experience of being taught mathematics I never thought of it as being oppressive or discriminating until after this reading. While I was in school, I had always learned numbers and the symbols used and always heard mathematics is universal so I always assumed that this is true. In my mathematics class I took in University I was able to learn Mayan numbers. I learned that they used an acorn for zero, a dot for one, two dots for two and so on. Once the number got to 5 it became a line so after 6 is a line and one dot and so on until 10 where it turns into two lines. In the reading, Little Bear states “one can summarize the value systems of Western Europeans as being linear and singular, static, and objective” (p. 82), I would say that static school is how I was taught throughout my schooling. My teachers would write the question / equation on the white board while we copied down it down and worked out the answer to the question. Simply put I did what I was told “and that’s the way it is” (p.82). I was also give quizzes and tests that followed once we finished a chapter in the textbook. When we were working on the math problems the teachers allowed us to have a calculator, and on occasion we were able to have a “cheat sheet” with formulas on it to help us out, a piece of paper along with the booklet of questions, and a pen or pencil. After I have read Little Bear’s article I have come to see that there are many different ways to learn and teach mathematics and that mathematics is not universal but is different for many people.
2. 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.
In Poirier’s reading, I found that Poirier goes against the “norms” of mathematics and challenges it against the Western European ideas. The Inuit culture has provided a more open concept to learn mathematics and introduces a new way of learning it as well. Inuit mathematics allows the students to learn a different method for mathematics. Throughout the article there are many ways in which Inuit mathematics challenges the Eurocentric ideas about the purpose of mathematics and the way we learn it, the first is their counting, when the students are taught Inuit mathematics they are taught in their mother tongue up until Grade 3 and after continue to be taught in either English or French. When counting they use different words to express quantities – Inuk as one person, Inuuk as two persons, and Inuit as many people. Their counting system is a base-20 numeral system, and “the numbers 20 and 400 are pivotal numbers, as other numbers are built from these two numbers” (p.57). Another way was the sense of space, I found it so interesting how they develop “an outstanding sense of space to help orient themselves” (p.59). They used the space around them to navigate between places, “they have learned to “read” snow backs and assess the direction of winds. I was told that they can say how far they are from the bay by smelling how salty the air is” (p.59). Last was their traditional calendar, and how they are divided into months and “based on natural, independently recurring yearly events” (p.61). Their calendar is different from the Eurocentric calendar because ours is always the same where their months’ may be shorter or longer depending how long or short these natural events occur. I do not think Inuit students should have to follow the Euro calendar when the days do not match up.
In this blog post I have created a response to an email received from my professors students.
During fall semester last year, I (Mike) received an email from an intern asking for help. Here’s part of it:
As part of my classes for my three week block I have picked up a Social Studies 30 course. This past week we have been discussing the concept of standard of living and looking at the different standards across Canada . I tried to introduce this concept from the perspective of the First Nations people of Canada and my class was very confused about the topic and in many cases made some racist remarks. I have tried to reintroduce the concept but they continue to treat it as a joke. The teachers at this school are very lax on the topic of Treaty Education as well as First Nations ways of knowing. I have asked my Coop for advice on Treaty Education and she told me that she does not see the purpose of teaching it at this school because there are no First Nations students. I was wondering if you would have any ideas of how to approach this topic with my class or if you would have any resources to recommend.
This can be difficult but there are a few suggestions I am able to give to help you approach when wanting to use Treaty Education in the classroom. I believe that the purpose of teaching Treaty Education especially for living in Regina, Saskatchewan located on Treaty 4 Land is to allow our students to gain a better understanding of the country and the lands history and become more aware and knowledgeable about the history of Canada. Even if there were few or no First Nations, Metis, or Inuit peoples in a classroom I still believe that Treaty Education should be taught because it is important for all students to know the content and perspectives is a huge part of Canada’s history. The students should be learning about the Treaties because we are all Treaty people. It is important for educators and learners to all be aware of Canadas past and learn they are all Treaty people. As in Claire’s video and in the reading “for as long as the sun shines, the grass grows, and the river flows, we are all Treaty people.” For my understanding of “we are all treaty people” I think of how we all need to be learning Treaty Education and First Nations, Metis, and Inuit content and perspectives. Explain to your students saying “we are all treaty people” is like saying “I am Canadian.” It is who many of the children are just like they are a Treaty person. From my experience, I was unfortunate that I was never able to learn Treaty Education while I was in school so it never dawned on me that I was a Treaty person until I attended University. I believe that telling your students at a young age and explaining to them why they are Treaty people you can include it to their identities. We are all Treaty people and we need to start educating our students on this so they all know who they are. Treaty Education is an important part of Canada’s history. For yourself, make sure you have a good understanding and knowledge on Treaty Education so that all your students can know the truth and learn ways for their future.
The article suggests that a “critical pedagogy of place” aims to:
(a) identify, recover, and create material spaces and places that teach us how to live well in our total environments (reinhabitation); and (b) identify and change ways of thinking that injure and exploit other people and places (decolonization) (p.74)
In response to “Restoule, J.P., Gruner, S., & Metatawabin, E. (2013). Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing. Canadian Journal of Education, 36(2), 68-86.”
1. List some of the ways that you see reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the narrative.
Throughout the narrative “Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing” there were many different ways I saw reinhabitation and decolonization. The youth, the adults, and the elders all came together to all learn about the land, culture, language, and the history and meaning of everything around them. They were trying to reinhabit their traditional living of their culture however there were instances of decolonization that occurred. Here are some examples and reinhabitation and decolonization that occurred throughout the narrative.
One of the first ways I saw reinhabitation throughout the narrative was bringing together the youth and the elder, “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). Another way was elders sharing their knowledge with the youth about the way of living off the land and the rivers around them and mention important sites along the way. The elders and the youth would travel the land and explore the rivers around them and while doing this they also explored the language, the history of the land and river, issues within the government and management. There was a project presented in this reading that brought together the elders and the youth and allowed them to share their knowledge between each other. In the narrative, it says “Bringing generations of community members together on the land advanced the community’s recognition and reclamation of Mushkegowuk knowledge and culture, and in the process of these community building activities, an informed critique/resistance to externally defined forms of economic exploitation, accumulation, and development” (p.68). This is a great representation of reinhabitation that was focused on throughout the whole reading, I believe that it is beneficial for both the elders and the youth to talk about how important the land is and coming together as a community to do different activities. I have seen how storytelling and sharing knowledge is so important to reinhabitation because if we continue to ignore the past we cannot continue to learn and grow for the future.
In the narrative, there is another example of reinhabitation by bring together the youth and elders to create a documentary about the social, cultural, and economic perspective of the Kistachowan (Albany) River. They focused on the river for its cultural and the historical importance for the Mushkegowuk Cree people. In the documentary, the youth and elders went on a trip along the river to reintroduce the traditional ways of knowing to the youth and allowing the elders to remember and pass on their knowledge. The river is a way of life for the Mushkegowuk Cree people, Kellert (2005) says “connection to nature is important to children’s intellectual, emotional, social, physical and spiritual development” (p.70). Connecting to the land the youth are able to get an understanding about how to live and survive with what the land has given them. When the elders and youth were on their trip they shared their linguistic, historical, cultural, and their geographical knowledge about the river and the land.
The word paquataskamik is a word in Cree meaning “the ‘natural environment’ and draws attention to the whole of traditional territory” (p.77) in the reading it was clear how sacred the land is for the Mushkegowuk Cree people. It was seen how they rely on their land to help support them in their daily lives, many of the individuals in the reading were skilled to understanding the land around them and explained why the land is so sacred. Everyone appreciates the land and uses it for safety and knowledge. The Mushkegowuk Cree people would use the land to provide for them and share their knowledge they have about the land and the nature living on the land.
One of the ways that decolonization was presented in the narrative was the elders and members of the community coming together because they were scared the paquataskamik was falling out of the young people’s vocabulary, but they educated them and explained why the word was so important. The youth tended to “used noscheemik instead, which pointed to a loss of important linguistic distinctions related to concepts of territoriality…” (p.78). But the elders wanted the younger generation to use the vocabulary as them so there would not be any more language loss. Another way was when “the Mushkegowuk people [defined] development on their own terms, and [continued] to build in a historical identity in a vast area that was never “given up” to European settlers” (pp.77-78). It is really about sharing the knowledge and history of the land and culture from the elders to the young generation so they can continue to gain knowledge and when older share their knowledge and the history they have learned to the younger generation and so on. The narrative gives us a sense of place, and gets the reading thinking of their sense of place and being aware of others.
2. How might you adapt these ideas to considering place in your own subject areas and teaching?
As a future educator, I may adapt these ideas by bring in stories in my teaching to show my students the knowledge about Indigenous people and why story telling is so important. I can use stories in English class, explain the different regions and locations of the treaties and where different Indigenous groups live in social studies, and in science class explain to the students how the land is used and why it is so sacred. Another way is learning from place by going out and experiences the land around them, it could be as simple as going out to the surrounding community area and learning about the land or taking a field trip farther away to learn. Another is always encouraging children to keep their identity and never forget it, I can do this by teaching about individual child’s culture during the school year. It is up to educators to share their knowledge with the students and ensure that they have a better awareness for this, we need to all start pushing towards reinhabitation and decolonization and hope that one step at a time we can achieve this. I believe it is important for us to educate our students about the importance of place for Indigenous people and why place is important overall for everyone.
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.
In response to “Westheimer. J., & Kahne, J. (2004). What Kind of Citizen? The Politics of Educating for Democracy. American Educational Research Journal, Vol.41(2), 1-30.
While I was going to school from grade K-12 there are only a few citizenship education examples I can recall. One that I remember was in elementary school where the teachers and a few students from the older grades (Grade 6-8) created one of our school dances to be a neonatal dance. When I got into the older grades I was fortunate enough to be a part of setting up the dance and encouraging students and teachers to donate money for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. As a school, we would raise money through asking family members to donate some money or selling candy and other little miscellaneous stuff for money. Students would get to go to the dance in the afternoon and hangout and dance, the best part the money that was raised all went to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the hospital. Too insure that the students knew what the cause was everyone was encouraged to wear neon and were giving glow sticks to glow up the gym. This is one memory from elementary school that I remember, another example I can think of is the Beat Cancer Week my high school and the SRC would put on to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. For two weeks, there would be different activities you could donate money to such as movie afternoon, or pie your teacher in the face and at the end we would have a assembly to reveal how much our school made. Each TNT (homeroom) came up with their own idea to raise money and at the end of the two weeks the TNT that raised the most money got a pizza party put on by the SRC. From Grade 9-12 I was with the same TNT kids and every year we would sell spring rolls one of the girls’ mom would make. Everyone loved them so our TNT always raise a lot within the two weeks. It was awesome to do something good for someone else and knowing that even if it was not a lot of money it would still help someone in need.
In regards to what type of citizenship both education examples focus on I would think the participatory citizen because both “emphasize preparing students to engage in collective community-based efforts” (Westheimer, J. & Kahne, J., 2004, p.4). In both students were doing good for the community and the people around them. However, there could be some impossibilities because in elementary school the younger students would not have understood the exact point of the neon and glow sticks since they did not fully understand what the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was and what it was used for. I think teachers should have explained in more depth as to what the NICU is or simplifying it and letting the students know it is for babies who are sick. In one year of high school our TNT teacher did not care about what your class did to raise money which could have become an impossibility because she did not care enough to tell us why it was so important. We were older so we knew why it was important but with her not caring it could have caused the whole class not to care about what we picked. But our class stuck together and did what we had always done and sold spring rolls. I think it important for teachers to incorporate all three kinds of citizenships within school because if they do not educate students on them it will be up to them to learn themselves and some may not do that. When I become a teacher, I want my students to all grow into good citizens which is why I will incorporate all three into my class and be constantly challenging the world with my students to improve the world one step at a time. Even if it something little, that little change or effort could make a huge difference for someone’s life.
In response to “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”
Before you do the reading ask yourself the following question: 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 believe that school curricula are developed by the government and Ministry of Education. Which is moved down to each individual school where the principle and teachers implement the curriculum varying in how it is taught for each subject and varying between which teacher is teaching that lesson/subject.
After doing the reading, please write your blog entry. Reflect upon: 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 Chapter One: Curriculum Policy and the Politics of What Should Be Learned in Schools I learned that the curricula are developed and implemented “by governments or other sanctioned authorities for standard use in schools across a state, province, or country” (p. 7). The government is not the only ones who implement the curriculum, teachers also have a huge role in the developing and implementing the school curricula. Once a curriculum has been developed teachers test it out within classrooms to see if it is a good fit. Curriculum is revised by many and tried out in order for the government and teachers to create this curriculum.
New information and perspectives that the reading was able to provide about the development and implementation of school curriculum was that the government is the one that implements the curriculum even if the teachers and Ministry of Education and others help to develop the curriculum. Another new information that I learned was how much the curriculum is revised and altered – “review and renewal processes have been altered to be more consistent with wider education programs” (p. 14). There is a lot the curriculum go through before it becomes implemented into the schools, by being reviewed many times with graphs, and information from teachers so once the government does implement the curriculum it will be what they believe to be “perfect” for the students and their learning.
I found that this reading really opened my mind towards the curriculum than I had ever thought before. Even though teachers have a little bit of a say for the curriculum gives me hope that I will also be able to do as much work as I can to make sure my students will get the best education they can. Except what did concern me and surprise me about curriculum is the government who is not in the schools, and the teachers stand and teach in the classroom but nowhere does the students opinion and ideas help develop the curriculum. I think what the government and teachers should think about when developing the curriculum is talking to the students and creating a curriculum that will interest them and help them to reach their full potential. The government and teachers may think the curriculum is “perfect” for the students, but if asking the students, they may realize they are completely off. Since the students are the ones learning the curricula I hope that in the future they will get a say in what matters and what they feel is important to learn because for some students the curricula now do nothing for them.