ECS 210

Week 10. Single Stories

  1. 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?

Both my elementary and high school consisted of mainly white students and teachers. I believe that my initial biases on other cultures are a result of not growing up in a racially diverse environment. I also believe that this is due to the way my teachers chose to present the curriculum. Our current curriculum separates other cultures in a way that subjects them into a category of “other”. This is especially present in the social studies and history curriculum. We are taught about how white settlers “saved” African people from the slave industry, or how we separated our Indigenous peoples by forcing them into residential schools. This way of thinking suggests that white settlers are always the “heroes” or “saviours” for other cultures. As future teachers we must stop separating cultures in a way that suggests one needed saving. Instead of focussing on the differences between cultures, I argue that we need to begin focussing on what makes us similar. We must focus on how we relate to one another and find connections to broaden our lenses.

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

One of the most prominent single stories that was presented in my own schooling would be that countries such as Canada, United States, United Kingdom countries and Australia are better off economically than all other countries. As I am sure you noticed these are all countries that are predominantly white. It was not until I had the opportunity to travel across Europe that I had the opportunity to see the other side of the story. I met people from Mexico, Argentina, South Africa, Asia, Columbia, etc, who all had the same; if not more opportunities available to them than I ever have as a Canadian. I had the assumption and bias that all people who lived in countries like these had to struggle poorly through life. If it weren’t for my traveling experience I would have never been exposed to the other side of the “single stories” presented in my schooling.

ECS 210

ECS 200 – Week 9 – Saskatchewan Teachers Federation

3 Things I learned:
1. This week in lecture we talked about our future salaries. We learned that there are 6 different classes that determine your salary. After completing an education degree at the University of Regina you are qualified to be a class 4. It is exciting to see that the rate of the salary rises every year continuously for a total of 11 years. Overall I am pleased with the salary and I believe it is a good reflection how the government has grown to recognize the determination and pride teachers have in their occupation.

2. The STF website taught me about the benefits available for teachers. We have a health plan, dental plan, disability plan, insurance, maternity and parental leave, pension plan, and numerous more benefits that we acquire through this occupation. These benefits allow for teachers to live blissfully in our current economic state; we can live without fear of putting food on our families tables and ensure that our families receive proper health care.

3. I learned that the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation is made up of teachers who were elected by teachers. I believe this is important because it ensures that the people who are in control of the federation are ones who have had first hand experience in the field. They know what teachers need in order to be successful in their occupation.

2 Connections I made:
1. I was able to make a connection with the salary class 4. When I graduate from the University of Regina I will be eligible for the class 4 salary. I think it is important to know what kind of income you will receive in your occupation to help you prepare for your life expenses.

2. I appreciate that the STF has a link provided for Beginning Teachers. Starting a new profession can be a nerve wrecking process and I believe that this link helps relieve some of that stress. This link provides tools and resources that provide both assistance and advice.

1 Question:
Do you have to be a teacher for a certain length of time before you qualify to be a part of the STF team?

ECS 210

Week 9. Challenging Eurocentric Mathematical Ideas

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 learning experience in the mathematics field was extremely linear. From as early as grade 3 I remember being told to begin with chapter 1 in the textbook and continue on until the end of the year, when we would reach the end of the book. Our current mathematic classrooms tend to rely directly on the textbook. This results in a type of learning where you must know one concept perfectly, before you are qualified to move onto the next concept. This linear path of learning disrupts students from authentically making connections between concepts. I believe that this type of learning can be oppressive for many students regardless of age, gender and race. If a student is lacking in confidence in one mathematical concept, the fast linear pace of a modern mathematics classroom will prohibit this student from excelling in math.

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. Eurocentric ways of learning suggests that we should teach all citizens who live in Canada in the English or French language. In Poirier’s article they disrupt this way of knowing in 2005, when they began teaching the Inuit Community mathematics in their first language Inukitut.

2. Inuit Communities do not believe in using paper and pencils to acquire their knowledge. In their culture they learn best by “observing an elder or listening to enigmas”. (p. 55) In my own educational experience, I was taught that if I wrote something down 5 times in a row I would be able to memorize the content. The Inuit Community is challenging this point of view by saying that there are more natural ways in which a student can understand and memorize content.

3. The Inuit have a base-20 numeral system. Until university I was unaware that the base-10 numeral system was not the only one. I believe that by using other numeral systems challenges the Eurocentric ideas by informing students that there are endless possibilities when it comes to mathematics. This way of knowing promotes the ideology that there is never one right answer

ECS 210

Dear: Intern (future me)

It is unfortunate that our education systems still lack to see the importance of including proper First Nations education in our classrooms.  First, I want to applaud you for recognizing your voice as a coop student by choosing to continue to pursue these topics in the classroom. I can imagine it would be difficult process if your coop does not withhold the same views as you. It is irrelevant whether the students you are teaching are of Indigenous decent or not, we are all treaty people and all need to learn the truth behind Canada’s history. The purpose of teaching all Canadians a proper Treaty Education is to provide knowledge of the injustice that is the product of colonialism. We must educate our students on Canada’s past to prevent it from reoccurring in our future.

Although you are teaching a high school class I think it is important to realize that these students may have minimal background knowledge on the treaties and Indigenous ways of knowing. If it were me I would give it a completely fresh start. Perhaps for the subject of standard living you could begin by introducing the Treaty Map of Canada. I believe that many Caucasian students are apprehensive to acknowledge that they are indeed Treaty People because their previous education experiences explained treaties in a way that only indigenous peoples could make and be a part of treaties. By showing this map, you can explain that Canada became the country it is today due to the treaties both Westerners and First Nations signed together.

When approaching an Indigenous ways of knowing lesson plan, I would consider trying an approach that does not require a textbook and writing notes. I am a true believer of learning through experiences and this is a type of subject that is most definitely best learned through doing. If possible invite an Elder into the classroom to explain the importance of storytelling in their culture. I would also invite you to practice embodiment with your students. Take your students for a walk outdoors and allow for them to use all five of their senses and enjoy the environment the world has given to them. During this time you could read your students Indigenous stories about nature and nurture. The outdoors are known to have significant benefits on one’s physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Embodiment is something that all people of all cultures could practice more of.

 

ECS 210

ECS 210. “critical pedagogy of place”

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)
1. List some of the ways that you see reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the narrative.
2. How might you adapt these ideas to considering place in your own subject areas and teaching?

1..

  • Bringing youth and elders together
  • Audio Documentary Project
  • Choosing the Kistachowan (Albony) River as a theme
  • Not using western ways of documenting through data, but instead through Indigenous ways of knowing
  • Outdoor excursions
  • Naming places in the Inninowuk language to bring back original names
  • Using Cree words and concepts

2. I believe that the first step to integrating these ideas into my classroom would be by introducing the treaty map of Canada that was shown in lecture. It is important for students to understand how Canada’s ‘place’ looked like prior to colonization. I love the idea of telling stories through audio documenting. I think that this is a strong movement towards understanding why First Nations people choose to share their knowledge through story telling.

I also think it is extremely important for us as teachers to begin teaching our lessons outdoors. Western ways of knowing has constricted us into spending the majority of our days locked in a building for far too long. When we think of school as a place, you think of a building with dividing rooms, with chairs and desks, and only a few windows to view the outdoors. We are situated in one of the most beautiful countries, yet we rarely allow ourselves to spend time outside. I believe that it is time that we use the lands given to us to give our students the opportunity to utilize and love the land we have been given.

ECS 210

Week 6. Curriculum as Citizenship

I feel as though my grade k-12 schooling provided opportunities for people to become the personally responsible citizen and the participatory citizen. The most common being a personally responsible citizen, this is something that schools ensured all students were a part of. This type of citizenship asks for the person to fulfill their social and civic responsibility. Which in my opinion is taught through individual grades, assignments and exams. We are taught that our individual work ethic is the most important quality to have in order to succeed academically. The only way we can move forward in our education is to finish the work load that is expected to be completed, and it is our responsibility to ensure we do so.

The second citizenship identified as is the participatory citizen, is someone who plays an active role in community organizations. Students have the opportunity to engage in this type of citizenship through extracurricular activities such as, student government, sports, band, etc. These are the students who want to go out of their way to participate in activities in their own free time, at their own will. The issue with this type of citizenship in education systems is that not all students qualify to participate in every extra curricular organizations.  For many of these activities there are try-outs or a voting process that determines which students are able to participate to their full potential, or even at all. I went to a large high school and I was one of the students who participated on many different sports teams. I can remember the stress that accompanied the beginning of every new season when we had to wait for the list of names of the people who made the team. Since my high school was quite large there was always more people trying out than there was people who made the team. This prohibited many talented athletes from participating in the sport they loved, as well as strongly affecting their self-esteem. Systems such as try outs prevents students from wanting to further their career of being a participatory citizen.

ECS 210

ECS 210: Week Five

BEFORE READING:

I think that school Curricula is dependent on the worldviews of the society that the curriculum is being used in. What ever is considered important or essential for students to learn in order to thrive in society will be implemented in the curriculum.  I believe that the current curriculum is a product of trial and error instances that have been used as a learning experience to decipher what works and does not in educational systems.

AFTER READING:

At the begging of Curriculum Policy and The Politics of What Should be Learned in Schools by Ben Levin, we are given the definition of curriculum as “an official statement of what students are expected to know and be able to do.” (p. 8) This definition is a product of government policies, and for many teachers it is difficult to realize that education and curriculum are too developed from politics. Even if you do not identify as a political person, teachers are inevitably involved in politics. The government leaders play a large role in making educational decisions based on the cultural viewpoints. In order for a politician to be elected they must provide educational practices that the majority of citizens expect to receive. Citizens want the government to give them a curriculum that suffices their idea of importance and provides opportunities to thrive in society.

What I find the most worrisome about the relation between politics an curriculum is that “what people believe to be true is much more important than what may actually be true” (p. 13) in the mindset of politicians. The influential authority and power that politicians withhold may result in votes but in return the citizens may never receive what they were expecting to get in return.

This article also lead me to realize that it is dependent on policies whether a teaching technique will be approved to enforce in curriculum or not. Not only does this leave teachers with minimal opportunities to creatively engage their students in curriculum, it also results in ongoing debates on what subjects should be prioritized. I was not aware of the ample controversies caused by differences in opinions on what subjects should be given more time to improve on. Or the debates on what age is appropriate to begin teaching subjects such as sexual education and other health classes.