Curriculum as literacy

A. For me, my upbringing/schooling shaped me into someone who is empathetic, caring, and nurturing. For the real world though, my parents prepared me for that. They are the ones who got me prepped for life living on my own, being a car owner, etc. My schooling did not prep me for the real world. They taught what they needed to in conjunction to the subject they were teaching and nothing further. With this, I was never taught treaty ed either. When I came to university and we started to talk about treaty ed, it was all new to me. With my schooling experience, the majority biases were taught but they always left out the minorities including the indigenous perspectives. With that, I did have some biases coming into university but how could I not when I was never taught from another perspective? In my eyes, my schooling failed me in the sense that I was never given a well rounded education from an indigenous perspective or any other perspective for that matter.  As I go through university, I am trying to undo all of these biases I have carried with me and the ones I have been taught throughout the years. I attempt to unlearn these biases through educating myself on various perspectives, educate myself and my students various stories not just the white settler stories, and to talk to people with these varying perspectives to get a hands on insight into their lives.

B. The “single stories” that were presented in my own schooling were the white single story. Throughout any science, history, or english class I always learnt about the important white people in our history. There has been few times where I was taught about other stories and if I did, I found out later that they were often inaccurate. Until university I never got the stories of other people rather than the white majority. It has opened up my horizon to see that there is more out there than the majority, that the minority has just as much rich history as we do and it should be taught and shared. While going through my schooling it seemed that the only truth that mattered was the white majority truth. In my perspective, everyones truth mattered but the truth that matters that sometimes remains hidden is the indigenous truth. This should not be happening and it is so wrong because their truth should be expressed and shared due to the many years of oppression and colonization and for the fact that their truth is also very important. As a whole, we should become knowledgable of their past because their past is our past too and about of our history as Canadians. After all, we are all treaty people and therefore should be educated on this matter.

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Challenging Eurocentric ideas about mathematics

Little bears article:

Prior to this reading when I initially read the first question I was puzzled. I never knew that mathematics could be oppressive and/or discriminatory. We were always taught that mathematics is a universal subject meaning that is the same worldwide. After reading this article though, I realized that mathematics can in fact be oppressive or discriminatory to students. The way mathematics is taught is very european and does not include how any other culture goes about teaching mathematics. The fact that we were even taught that there is only way to teach/learn mathematics is oppressive in itself. Once I got to university, I had to take one mathematics class and in this mathematics class we learnt about Mayan numbers. I learnt that they used different symbols such as dots for different numbers. Furthermore, in ECS 100 I did a paper on teaching indigenous ways of knowing through mathematics. Although it is proven to be difficult to incorporate, it is possible. You need the right resources such as an elder and do some research but it is possible.

Poirier’s article:

Three ways that inuit challenges Eurocentric ideas about math and ways in which we learn it:

1.) Measuring length: Inuit women use certain parts of their body to measure length rather than using tools or units. For example, Inuit women use the palm of their hands to make atigi (parkas).

2.) Counting: In Eurocentric mathematics, we have a base-10 counting system. This means that every thing is counted and measured in accordance to 10. While in contrast, in the Inuit culture mathematics is a base-20. So for example 40= twenty two (times), 60= twenty one (times) and so forth.

3.) Oral mathematics: The Inuit people would furthermore use a system in which you express mathematics orally. This means that math wouldn’t have needed writing tools and would only be expressed orally.

Week 8 We are all treaty people

Within this blog you will find a response to the following email:

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.

 

Good afternoon,

I can understand your frustration and concern from this issue. There are a few suggestions I can give you to try and approach this situation with some ease. I, and many other educators, believe that the reason we do teach treaty education is because we are on treaty four land. A part of the reason that we, as a collective, are here today is because of the indigenous peoples. By teaching treaty education, one can grasp a better understanding of the history of our land and of the history of Canada. Even when there are no or next to no indigenous people within the school it is still important to teach treaty ed because it is overall apart of our history and their perspectives and culture are apart of our culture as a whole for Canada. Their culture is apart of what makes Canadian culture what it is. Along with that, we made a promise to educate the youth on First Nation’s perspectives and ways of life so therefore, we should uphold that promise since it is apart of our formal duty as an educator. It is also important to be educated on Canada’s past, the good and the bad. The good so this knowledge of their beautiful culture is passed down and integrated into society and the classroom and the past so history does not reiterate itself. Overall, all students need to learn that we are all treaty people because “for as long as the sun shines, the grass grows, and the river flows, we are all treaty people.” My understanding of “we are all treaty people” means that we are all Canadians who live on treaty land and we all should ideally have these important relationships with one another that fosters the ideals of indigenous culture. I like that statement for the fact that it is a very inclusive and allows everyone to feel included with the culture. Overall, I believe that you should present these arguments to your students and showcase how their cruel past is in fact not a joke and that their overall culture is one of the reasons their country as we know it is the way it is. Without the indigenous people, nothing would be the same and that is an alarming thought. Thank you for emailing me your concerns and I hope this helps.

Regards,

Kelsey Middagh

Week 7 Decolonization and Reinhabitation

 

Throughout this article it makes a point that decolonization and reinhabitation solely rely on one enough to exist and that one without the other is nearly impossible. The author states that reinhabitation is to “identify, recover, and create material spaces and places that teach us how to live well in our total environments” and decolonization is “identify and change ways of thinking that injure and exploit other people and places.” Both are important to live in harmony with ones own culture and to be able to fully express their culture in any which way that they please. Throughout the article, ways that reinhabitation and decolonization happen are the following:

Reinhabitation:

  • The elders and youth would come together to allow the elders to formally talk about their culture and what is known to be important to pass down to the youth. By doing this, the youth was then able to document the elders experiences, stories, and way of life and overall asses this way of life and learn how to live even better within their environment. By doing this, it will only create a stronger relationship between the elders and the youth which has a positive impact throughout the community.

Decolonization:

  • By the elders sharing these important things about their culture, experiences, and ways of life to the youth it not only creates a stronger bond but it also gives the youth the ability to take this knew found information and change their perspective and way of thinking. Furthermore, gives them the ability to be fully emerged in their culture and grasp a better understanding of it. In the end they can take this new found information and use it to pass it on to further generations once they too become elders.

Personally I believe since we are on treaty four land, it is in our duty as teachers to educate our children on the how Canada came to be what it is and it wouldn’t be where it is without the indigenous people of Canada. Once students understand the history, they will then come to know and understand what it means when “we are all treaty people” is said. There are various tools one can use to bring these ideas into your subject areas and teachings but a very efficient and interesting way would be to bring an elder into your classroom to share important stories, messages, dances, and songs. Another excellent way would be through field trips like the one to fort Qu’appelle in the fall. Through these hands-on learning experiences children will be engaged and will more than likely be able to fully grasp this concept through people and experiences that are apart of the Indigenous culture.

Citizenship

Within my K-12 schooling, we were taught that citizenship had a sense of belonging and community to it. When you are a citizen, you are associated with a certain group of people and therefore need to obey the law set in place within this group of people. Examples that we have been taught are obeying all laws, putting your trash in the trash can, and shoveling your walkways. The types of citizens within the reading and within our lecture that were talked about were the personally responsible citizen; the participatory citizen; and the justice-oriented citizen. These each demonstrated how, in different ways, one can be included in being part of a citizenship. Different curriculums may approach citizenship in various ways and will not always be cumulative. For example, one may teach to be a personally responsible citizen but may not teach how to be a justice orientated citizen. Although these three different types of citizens are different, they are alike in the way that they all have a main goal of shaping an ideal citizen to do whats right in the contexts that they are under. To be a personally responsible citizen means to be a person who will pick up garbage, giving blood, or recycling. Essentially means to do right by your community. The participatory citizen is one who is involved within the community and civic affairs. As described within the reading, the justice orientated student would be ones who “need opportunities to analyze and understand the interplay of social, economic, and political forces” (p. 4). So in regard to which type of citizenship is the focus within my mentioned experience would be the personally responsible citizen. From a young age, we were taught how to be an ordered, lawful, and correct person within society. By teaching children to not litter and to help shovel walkways you are doing just that.

As an educator, I believe it is very important for them to include all three into the curriculum because with these concepts and ideas it allows students to grasp a strong understanding of what a citizenship and being a citizen is and how to act accordingly when you are a citizen.

Curriculum development

Before reading:

I believe that school curriculum is developed through a collective thought. This collective thought is usually by people who are in the school board and they get together and assemble together main outcomes and indicators for each subject that is suitable for each grade level. They have an end goal in mind for children to attain certain knowledge. I also believe that curricula is developed by the government as well.

After reading:
School curricula is developed and implemented through “governments or other sanctioned authorities for standard use in schools across a state, province, or country” (p. 7). Along with the government, there are educators who have a role in developing the curriculum. They play an essential role because they are the ones who will be hands-on to use the curriculum within the classroom. The curriculum goes through various trials and errors with the teachers and government officials to see what needs to be included and what needs to be taken away.

The new information and perspectives that this reading provides me is the perspective of the government. As a future educator, we typically only get the perspective of the teachers. This was interesting because we were able to see how they also play a role and how they are crucial with making the curriculum. Something else that surprised me was how the curriculum goes through so much trial and error before it is perfected.

What surprised and concerned me with this reading was derived from this quote: “While many people decry negativity in politics, politicians use this strategy not necessarily because they like it, but because they think it works. If voters believe negative portrayals and vote accordingly, then political parties will use them. If conflict is what attracts public attention, then conflict is what politicians will create since public attention is what they must have” (pg. 13). This quote surprised me because I never realized that politicians use negativity as a strategy to get more votes. This seems like a very unfair way to win and should not be used.

Moving Away from the Traditional ways of Teaching

In accordance to the commonsense, to be a “good student” is to do as they are told, respectful, engaged, and wanting to learn. Throughout the reading “Preparing Teachers for Crisis: What it Means to be a Student” it highlights that this is the ideal type of student that any teacher wants since it is considered to be a “good student”. Throughout my experience in schooling, this is what you are conditioned to become and what is so hard pressed into your brain as being the only way you can effectively learn and be successful is if you have these qualities of a “good student”. If a student, like M, are one to not follow instructions, are restless, and only did things on his/her terms you would be considered a difficult student who did not want to learn. Causing teachers stress and frustration, feeling as though they have failed to teach you effectively. In reality, M is like many other students in the sense that she isn’t a bad student, she/he still is a good student but may require to be taught in a different way than the rest because she/he may need different accommodations to allow the student to learn efficiently.

The students that are privileged by the definition of the “good student” are those that can effectively learn in a “traditional” learning environment. These are the students that can sit still for long periods of time, listen to instructions, and that always respect the teacher. These students are privileged because the of way the school system is structured, fits their educational needs and how they learn. Therefore, if a teacher only teaches in this traditional method and does not take into account the students who may not effectively learn under this traditional teaching method, the “good students” would therefore be put at an advantaged and be privileged. They would be considered as privileged because they would be the students that would actually get a quality education.

The bigger picture of teaching has become impossible to see/understand/believe because of these common sense ideas that a good student has these certain qualities and the only way to teach is through the traditional method of lecturing to the class and not accommodating to students diverse needs. In reality, the bigger picture of teaching is not just getting through the lesson, but getting through the lesson effectively. Having ALL students grasp an understanding of what you are trying to teach and going to whatever lengths to make this possible. In hindsight, the teacher in this reading can tell now that M is actually a good student because of M being able to colour on their own and asking good questions after the museum. This teacher just needed to take a step back and think of ways to further bring out M’s knowledge and figure out where this student has the most difficulties and where they are triggered when they stop paying attention during class. Teachers across the board need to understand that this traditional method is not cutting it anymore and that there needs to be a change in the way that they teach and approach children’s needs in order to see a positive change in their education.