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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.