Summary of Learning: Around the table. Season 2 episode 10

On this weeks Education Wednesday Blake and Travis tackle the tough issues surrounding school curriculums and everything they include.  They do the always exciting “Whats hot on twitter? And of course ending the show by taking calls from their award winning listeners. The guys make time for a couple laughs along the way and what is sure to be another classic Education Wednesday.

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Week 9

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.

Throughout my schooling career, my schooling involved two different forms of citizenship education. Those being; personally responsible citizen, and participatory citizenship. These ideas were predominantly taught in Social Studies. The class was taught what it means to be a good citizen. This included the act of voting in all elections, giving back to the community in the form of volunteering. Ideas like these were presented to us, and I see that as an example of teaching us to be a personally responsible citizen, this was then reinforced by showing us to be a participatory citizen. That it is one thing to know how to be a good citizen, it is another thing to act on this knowledge. Throughout my high school learning career there were many food drives, volunteer programs that in some cases were required, and in grade 12 social we were given extra credit if we voted in the election that year. All of this taught us how important it was to participate in our community and engage in the activities that we discussed in class. The one type of citizenship that was rarely if ever considered was that of being a justice-oriented citizen. We never discussed the systemic issues that ran behind why we needed to volunteer, why we needed to donate food to the food bank. Why was there a dire need for food? Why is this such a prevalent problem? Those ideas were never expressed to us, we were merely told that we needed to help with the problem. We were taught the basic idea of how to be a good citizen and how to improve our society in a minimal sense, but we were never explained what was wrong with our community and how to solve it.

Week 8

1.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?

When I look back on my mathematics educational career, I am not filled with fond memories. I dreaded the idea of stepping foot in any math class. I would sit down in a row surrounded by classmates that were just as lost as I was or those who had a complete grasp of mathematics. I would then sink into my seat and let the demoralization begin, and I watched as the teacher drew out concept after concept. None of them I grasped. And this was math for me. I wanted to understand; I went after school often to get help. All I received though was a more lengthy explanation of what I heard in class. Eventually, I summed it up as I just was not math smart. I resorted to just trying to get by in math. I guess you could say some of this was discriminating. Not on purpose, of course, my teachers were not deliberately trying not to teach me. They only knew their way of teaching math and just showed it this way. This meant that I and some of my fellow students were left on their own to try to find their own way of making math make sense.

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. 

  • Measuring Length. In Inuit cultures they did not use European approved measuring styles. They would used parts of their bodies to measure lengths. For example using the palm of the hand when measuring lengths for making parkas.
  •  The Inuit calendar challenges Eurocentric ideas and ways of knowing as they base there calendar of natural events. For example a “month” may be based off what animal is born that month.
  • Just like with most of Indigenous ways of knowing much of it is done orally through their own language.

Week 6 and 7

Week 6:

1. List some of the ways that you see reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the narrative.

Throughout the reading, I noticed many ways in which reinhabitation and decolonization are conducted. This was done mainly through a 10-day river trip with youth, adult and elder participants traveling together on their traditional waters and lands learning about many different aspects of traditional ways of life. For example, at one point the group discovers the importance of listening to the animals in nature to know if water is safe or what type of weather is approaching (Restoule, p. 76). Ways of knowing such as these have been lost to the culture, and by relearning them, it helps Indigenous people’s reclaim their culture. This is, in essence, a tool of decolonization, by giving youth the information of their traditional knowledge, and the language they keep the connection with their culture.

2. How might you adapt these ideas to considering place in your own subject areas and teaching?

As a future History and English teacher place play a massive part in both subjects. For History, the understanding of place is extremely important. When teaching students about the signing of the treaties, it is essential that they can grasp the importance of area where it concerns the Indigenous peoples. A failure to understand the Indigenous people’s way of knowing does their culture a disservice by not accurately representing how they saw the land as a place to be shared and treated with respect. Understanding the importance of “place” provides an incredible aid to understanding history.

Week 7

1. What is the purpose of teaching Treaty Ed (specifically) or First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (FNMI) Content and Perspectives (generally) where there are few or no First Nations, Metis, Inuit peoples?

The purpose of teaching Treaty Ed especially in a class such as Social 30 is to show a complete history that is inclusive to all students. Just because there are few Indigenous people in the class does not make Treaty Ed any less important, on the contrary, it makes it all that more important. Through the use of Treaty Ed, the teacher is performing decolonization through the use of retelling the story of the colonization in its real truth. Its non-Indigenous students that need to hear this truth the most. It is unlikely that they would have heard it outside the classroom. If a teacher chooses not teach Treaty Ed, they are stating that they do not believe these truths to be important. They are making an active decision to continue the oppression towards the Indigenous peoples. The oppression that has been here for a long time.

2. What does it mean for your understanding of curriculum that “We are all treaty people”?

To me being a “treaty people” is an honor, to be blessed enough to live on these lands with so much history behind it is incredible. At the same time, there is an understanding of all the damage that was done to the peoples who originally inhabited these lands and those that still do. To be a “treaty people” involves understanding the intent of treaties from both sides perspectives. Being a treaty person along with being a future teacher places an additional role on me. It is my job to help educate my prospective students the importance of Treat Ed and teach them the entire truth of Canada’s history.

Week 5

Before Reading:

Before I looked at the reading I had a understanding that school curriculums were developed by people who were directly involved in my education. This being select department heads in the province, principals, and members in the school districts. Of course I knew that members of the government had a large impact on what was put into the curriculum, but not to the extent that it really is.

After Reading:

After looking over the reading it became clear just how far reaching the influences that go into the education curriculum go. This includes parents, and teachers these individuals all have personal investment into what will be taught. What surprised me in the reading was the influence of both text book producers and employers. Upon knowing this know it does make sense. The text book producers make their money off of having the proper information in the text book so of course they would want to lobby on their behalf on what goes into the curriculum. The most power belongs to the politicians though. The board of education which is handpicked by the government have the most power. What goes into the curriculum is a very political act. The in power party could be attempting to keep campaign promises ahead of an election to gain favour with voters. The changes made in cases like these are not always in the best interest of the students, and teachers. The people who it actually affects. It is a sad reality of how politics have a strong hold on what goes into the education curriculum.

Week 4: The Good Student

The automatic thought of what a “good student” is one who does what is instructed. A student that complies to instructions, only speaks when called upon, doesn’t fidget, and finishes assignment on time. The list goes on, but one thing is clear, it is not easy to meet the expectations of being a “good student”. Many students don’t and won’t ever fit into this category . Students who have exceptionalities are at a disadvantage as they do not learn or interact in the same manner in which these “good students” do. As a teacher you should never plan your classes solely for the “good students” and hope that the rest of the students catch up. If a teacher does this than they will be leaving a large portion of their class out of the learning. In summary a “good student” to me should never be something to expect in a classroom. Students are all different and will all require varied styles of teaching if they are to be successful learners.

Week 3: Educational Quote

Choose a quotation related to education. It might be a quote from lecture, a quote from the list posted here, or a quote you found independently. In a post, unpack that quote. Think about what it makes possible and impossible in education. What does it say about the teacher, about the student? How does it related to your own understandings of curriculum and of school?

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” -Magaret Mead

I did a quick google search of education quotes and landed on this. The quote jumped out at me. The message behind it aligns itself nicely along with what we have been discussing in class. To me this says our most important job as future educators is providing students with the necessary tools to be able think. Me in particular being a history major, english minor. My job is not to dictate to my students how they have to view a passage from Macbeth or how they need to feel about current events. Rather I need to provide my students with techniques to break down literature, history, and current events. There is no one way to view things, that’s the beauty of something like poetry, it can mean so many things to different people. If a teacher simply tells their students how to view something so it fits the curriculum, then the education system hurting students rather than helping them.

In my own experience I have seen education change dramatically from what to think to how to think. All the way up to grade 12 I would taught a one way narrative in social, but in my last year there was a drastic change. I was encouraged to voice my opinion, and analyze more rather than simply absorb facts and recite them. Now this change could have been brought on by a new teacher, a change in the curriculum, or the fact that I was in grade 12. I’m not sure, but I do know I felt empowered by this and was far more engaged in my learning.

In conclusion, this quote captures the struggle between education being there to fit the students to what the curriculum wants them to know and the idea that education is there to provide students with the ability to learn for themselves.

Response to: Oh, Canada: bridges and barriers to inclusion in Canadian schools

The topic of inclusion is one that has always interested me, I think this is due to the multitude of ways it can be handled. There are so many ways that as a teacher you can get it right or you could get it horribly wrong. The biggest thing I took away from the readings was how important being in a larger class, for the most part school is the first place that young people get to be in a larger social setting, where they can form and develop relationships outside of their family. These social skills are essential moving forward as students eventually head into the workplace. Looking back, I took for granted how lucky I was to always be able to participate in a classroom with all of my friends. I could not imagine what high school would be like if I was constantly removed and isolated away from my peers. For many students that are in need of special needs this is their reality, constantly being removed from class and made to feel different. The reading truly stressed the importance of this inclusion “Likewise, they defined social inclusion as each child being a full and respected member of the classroom community, including feelings of belonging, of being cared for and of being a part of something larger than themselves.” (Sokal, p.43). Now obviously some students do need adjustments to assignments and tests, but I believe it is up to each teacher to adjust his/her lesson plans to find ways for each student to have these adjustments while still keeping them in the classroom. A lot of the time it is the student who knows how best they learn, so it is up to the teacher to form the relationship to the point where these adjustments are made in the best way possible. The biggest barrier between full inclusive schools is understanding on the teacher’s part, teachers can be the biggest supporters of inclusive classrooms if they want to be. Moving forward I am excited to learn more strategies to promote inclusive classrooms.

ECS 100 Currere Assignment

I was 13 years old and a bunch of relatives were over, the casual conversations of what’s new with everyone was going on. My grandparents were asking me about school. My eyes lit up because school was going great for me and I loved to talk about it. So I went on listing the marks I had in every subject, making sure to emphasise that I was above the class average in all of my subjects. I felt such a rush from being able to talk about how good I was doing in school. Somehow the conversation transitioned into how sports were going, another chance for me to casually brag. So, I went on talking about how I was succeeding in football, lacrosse, and basketball. I continued to soak in the attention for what seemed like forever, I made it seem as if I did not want the attention, but deep down I really did. Eventually the centre of the conversation found its way to my brother who had been quite up to this point. My brother was never an overly successful student and he did not love sports, but he loved art. So my family found a way to include his art into the conversation, they asked him what he was drawing and insisted on seeing his work. I hated this, I believed that my achievements should be at the forefront. Minute by minute I became more and more bitter towards the conversation, slowly letting it known through my body language that I did not care for the conversation anymore. After about 30 minutes I simply got up and went down stairs to watch T.V. I may have thought this went unnoticed. And then again maybe I wanted this to be noticed. Regardless I got the attention I was yearning for. My mother came downstairs and sat down beside me and caringly asked what was wrong. I let her know that the lack of attention was bothering me. This did not make her happy. She let me know right then and there that this selfish attitude was not going to stand. She explained that we can’t talk about me all night or how would my brother feel. That had never occurred to me, why was I to care if no one talked about him I thought he should do better so my family would talk about him. I felt betrayed by my mom not taking my side. But I put on a brave face went upstairs and apologized to everyone for leaving, all while containing the anger and jealousy that was whirling around in me.

 When thinking towards the future I found it incredibly difficult to look too far ahead. Growing up I was always taught to be in the moment, this meant having your goals but living in the present to achieve these goals. Really throughout my life this is what I have tried to do. I had my goals of one day being a teacher and then moving into administration. For this I knew I needed to go to university, so my focus became achieving this. This went the same for football I put the work in, in the present to achieve my goals of going as far as I can in football. I find myself most comfortable in the present. The past gives me the emotions of anger (for past mistakes), and the yearning to go back to memories to relive them. Obviously, there can be lots to learn from the past, but I find spending too much time there leaves me unfocused. This is the same with looking to the future I would rather know my goals and do what I can in the present to achieve those goals. But I am completely off topic at the moment. Back to the objective of these assignment, after a while I was able to interpret the question and answer it. Well first of all the big question always when looking towards the future, what do I want to do? Luckily throughout my life this has been an easy question for me to answer, I have always wanted to be a teacher honestly since I was 12, I had zero confliction over this question. Lucky, I know. Lots of people often struggle with this question. As I have gotten older I have expanded that idea of what I want to do, it’s evolved into being in administration. My goal has always been to make the biggest positive impact on students and with me having two principals in my family circle I have seen how huge of an impact a principal has. So when looking to the future I see this for myself. But that is a far away goal, being a high school teacher that can have that positive impact is something I always get excited thinking about. Being able to interact with students every day, being able to form those relationships we always talk about in class, it’s an exciting thought. Along with this I always see myself coaching football, which has always been a huge reason for me being a teacher. I saw first hand how valuable sports are for kids. It gives a sense of family and friendship to everyone, physical activity every day is also huge, along with having great role models seeing you 2 hours every day and just knowing that they are there for you. That’s something I got from high school sports and the thought of being able to give that to a kid. Nothing makes me want to be a teacher more than that. When looking to the future of course I have visions of what my personal life looks like, married, kids, couple dogs, just the usual stuff. I also realize that a lot of that is hard to control, along with where I end up working and living so I try not to look to in depth with those goals. A lot of the time you need to roll with the punches that life gives out. 3 years ago I did envision myself living in Regina, that wasn’t in “my plan” but I am happy that I ended up here. Pulling from my religious background I have a belief that God has a plan for my life so I have always found it easier to entrust him with my future and continually work with what he’s giving me in the present and have faith that he has the rest planned out for me. This is the worldview I’ve grown into and it has had a calming effect on my life by teaching to control what I can control and let the rest play itself out. I doubt this is what you had planned out as a response but this is what I came out of my time of reflection.

If I was to take a picture of myself who would I see? A lot on the exterior differs from what is inside. On the exterior I try to portray confidence and a happiness that hopefully gives off an open feeling to those around me. Even on down days I try to keep this outward look, because I feel as if this is an expectation that I need to meet. Throughout my life I have been constantly called out if I look like I’m having a bad day or if I’m upset. Often friends and family will ask what’s wrong, I hate explaining my problems to people, it frustrates me to no end so to avoid this problem I constantly put on a happy face and get through the day. Now this isn’t to say I’m doing this every day, I’m generally a really happy guy I simply use this as an example to show that what this “picture” of who I am may not always show who I am. I continue though, this picture of how I appear in a snapshot. Playing on the university football team carries a lot with it, to some a lot of respect and admiration comes along with the title, to others negative stigmas are associated with being a football player. The jock stereotype has followed me since high school, I’ve learned to accept that people may view me in a negative light because of my athletics, I can only do my best to work towards showing people who I am and that who I am as a person is not dependent on the sport I play. Me as a person, there’s a lot to me that the umbrella of “athlete” doesn’t cover. For instance, I love the fine arts, drama was always a favourite of mine, in fact my grade 12 year I was part of a one act play that went to provincials. This is not something that would commonly be associated with a “jock”. Another part of me that a picture would not be able to capture is me being Christian. My religion is a huge part of my being and has had a dramatic impact on how I view life, so I cannot ignore this as being a part of my worldview. It is parts like these that are so often skipped when viewing people.

Now taking a step back to look at the past, future and present I definitely see connections between the three, things happening in the past that have had an effect on who I am as a person in the present and how I look at my future. In my regressive writing I talked about how I used to crave attention. When I looked back on that memory it kind of surprised me, because now in my present I never openly express wanting attention, most of the time when praise is brought on to me I hate it. I think this is because as a kid I was always taught to be humble and put the work in and good things will come, this idea was drilled into me to the point that I now clam up and blush when people praise me. One memory comes to mind, after I had signed with the Rams my dad was adamant about me agreeing to let the local media do a story about. I hated the idea of it, don’t get me wrong, I was very proud to have signed, but the idea of it being on TV and in the news didn’t sit right with me. I looked at it as, I still have work to do I haven’t done enough yet. The parallel of this mindset to as a kid me wanting everyone to sing my praises for the slightest accomplishments blows me away. My dad continually tells me to this day I need to be proud of what I have accomplished at this point in my life, but for some reason that’s hard for me to do. As I expressed in my progressive paper I’m always focused on what’s going on here and now I see the connection of how this limits me from taking moments to look back and relish achievements that I may have accomplished.

Looking at myself concretely as I’m asked to do I would have to say that I’m a lot of things, I’m a friend, a son, a teammate, a student, a future educator, and a man of God. I have many good qualities and many I look to work on, these all make up who I am. I’m not perfect and I continue to grow, and that’s one thing I take very seriously, growing. Life is trial and error, learning from where you went wrong. This mindset and the different parts of my life all affect me in diverse ways that to this day I’m still learning about. They affect the way I look at the world around me which will ultimately affect who I am as an educator. As I reread the previous three parts of this I definitely see the way I am in a different light, this was an incredibly reflective exercise, and I only choose to explore one memory and I learned all I did from that one memory is truly incredible to me. I’m excited to continue to learn about myself.

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