A Single Story

Growing up in a small town in a class of 10 kids and a small school I have not experienced much diversity. When I was going into grade 11 I moved to Weyburn. I then went from a class of 10 to a class of 150. In this bigger class I started to realize that there were other cultures but still it was not a very diverse school. I was still unsure about diversity.

In my schooling, I was taught strictly from a single view. I rarely heard stories based on the First Nations view, only from the westernized view. When the finally did get to talk about First Nations the unity was quick and done in only a few days, whereas other units would be able to last quite some time. I believe my schooling was focused on the European view because they are what makes up most of the communities and many people feel uncomfortable teaching something that they are not comfortable with or teaching something that does not support their own personal background. I see the importance in teaching from different views but unfortunately it does not happen often.

My upbringing definitely has shaped my view on the world and unfortunately it is more negative than it should be. Often times I am not proud of it and I wish I could have learned in a non bias. Sadly, I cannot change how I was brought up, but I can change how I further my education and knowledge. While growing up children want to believe that their parents and teachers have taught them everything that they need to know and to trust what they were taught was accurate information. In a lot of cases this is not true. I can admit that I view the world through a white-privileged lens. I can also admit that I have biases from growing up that will always be with me, but that doesn’t mean I have to believe them and I can work towards challenging them. Sure, it is hard to admit these things, but the only way to challenge these biases and move past them is to be accountable. Understanding the wrong biases will lead to a better understanding of what is correct. The world can be seen in many different lenses, it is up to us to decide which lenses we choose.

Curriculum as Numeracy

1.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?

Oppression was present for me as well as other students. For me in school math always scared me. I always struggles to do mental math and figure out the problems and so on in my head without working it out with the long equations so I would always take a long time to do my math. I only took the math that I absolutely needed and nothing more than that because I knew that it was not my strong point in school. I found that we were only taught one certain way of learning math and it was expected to be understood by everyone. It was not the case for me. Most of the time I would not understand the particular way that the teachers would try to show us therefore I was not always successful in math in school. After reading the article it was apparent to me that my teachers were using an oppressed way of teaching. In university I thought it was so important how we learned so many different ways to learn math.

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.

Inuit students learn to add, subtract, multiply and divide in base twenty. I thought this was very interesting when I first heard this because when I tried learning math in these different ways, I found it very difficult to understand. When Gale was explaining why they do that, it started to make more sense.

The first measuring tools were the body. They would use a finger, a hand, a foot, etc. to measure the length of something. Today, you do not see this type of measuring very often but it does exist. For example horses are measured in hands and Inuit women still use their palms when making parkas.

The Inuit calendar is also different, it still has the months although the length of the month can vary. For example, the meaning of September in Inuktitut means “when the caribou’s antlers lose their velvet”, that number of days can change since it depends on the days it takes for caribou to shed their velvet antlers. The calendar is neither lunar or solar because it is based on a natural reoccurring yearly event.


What Examples of citizenship education do you remember from your K-12 schooling?

Throughout my time in school I remember quite a few examples of citizenship education. In some of the younger years we would have a day every year when we would go out into the community and clean up the community. We would do things such as Jump Rope For Heart and the Terry Fox run. We would have pot lucks and fundraisers in the school and the community for certain things around the community such as for the pool, the rec. centre, or hospitals. In high school we would be in charge of collecting volunteer hours. We had to collect quite a few in grade 10, 11, and 12 physical education class. I think that this was such a great idea because everyone should take some time to volunteer and if they did not have these volunteer hours I do not think many people would take the time to help the community by volunteering.

What types of citizenship were the focus?

In “What Kind of Citizen? The Politics of Educating for Democracy” Joel Westheimer and Joseph Kahne discuss three types of citizens. These include the personally responsible citizen, the participatory citizen, and the justice orientated citizen. Collecting the garbage around the community is an example of “personally responsible citizen”. Having the different fundraisers at school as well as the grade 10-12 volunteer hours are examples of “personally responsible citizen” as well.

Explore what this curriculum made (im)possible in regards to citizenship.

The curriculum indirectly addresses citizenship in a few ways. In History class citizenship was brought up a little but its centre focus was more on colonialism. On another note, often the curriculum will mention things about exploring yourself. This could lead to students realizing who they are in relation to citizenship; it could also bring them to realize how society views citizenship.

Treaty Education

  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?

Treaty Ed is extremely important to teach in schools. It is important to teach about Treaty Ed even if there are no First Nations, Inuit or Metis students in the classroom. In my schooling we learned very little about treaty education. I feel that the teacher actually tried to avoid the topic because it is something that they do not feel as comfortable talking about. Also, teachers do not have to be Indigenous to teach Treaty Ed. Clair is a great example of this, she moved out of province where Treaty Ed was never discussed, yet she stepped forward and taught Treaty Ed and was extremely successful. Teaching Treaty Ed is mandatory to be taught in any subject.

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

For me, understanding that we are all Treaty people is still difficult for me to completely understand. Fortunately, the past two years I have been able to get a better understanding of what it means to me. I do believe it is important that we are all trying to be able to identify ourselves better as Treaty people and not just looking at it as it is only for First Nations, Inuit, and Metis individuals but for all of us. We are all on the Treaty 4 land which makes us treaty people. Education children about how we are Treaty people will help them not only understand how we are on the land but also how the land has changed.

Curriculum as Place

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

Reinhabitation and decolonization happened throughout the whole article. It happened through the youth as well as through the elders as they travelled. On their trio they looked closer at the land, stories, history, culture, language and many other things. Cree youth developed a radio documentary called “The Kistachowan River Knows My Name”. This documentary made the community members excited about the spiritual, cultural, economic, and social value of the river. Throughout the trip they got many insights of: Learning about preserving a “way of life”, key ideas and issues in their community, importance in language, land economics and social well being, traditional ways in and outside of the classroom setting, relationships, and the list goes on. The elders continues to pass on stories to the youth throughout the article.

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

To help incorporate this into my classroom it is important to take into consideration the all types of conversation of Indigenous culture and ways of knowing. One way is to bring in an elder. As a teacher I could also take the children to a historical site to see things that are native to the Indigenous culture. Taking the children out side to learn about the weather and nature is a good way to learn about the Indigenous culture. Learning about nature is a great way to connect to the Indigenous ways of living.

Curriculum as a Public Policy

Before the Reading

Originally I assumed that the school curriculum was developed by the government and the school board members. They go off of what they believe that they know exactly what all students need across Saskatchewan. I believe that they sit around and are each assigned a subject and grade that they are experts in and decide the essentials for students to learn. I do believe that the school board would have the most say because they are the ones experiencing it first hand.

After the Reading

After reading this article I now learned how much politics is involved in creating the curriculum. Along with politics there are many steps that need to be followed. One thing I did not know before was all of the people to have a say in the curriculum such as text book companies, members of the community and church, businesses and many more. I found this quite interesting. It is crucial to have a wide range of opinions when it comes to the curriculum so the students are getting many different views than just one bias view. They all work together to collect data to find out what works and does not work in the curriculum.

Although they have many different inputs coming into the curriculum the ones that I see that should be values the most are the teaches and the school board because they are the ones that see the out comes first hand. They are the ones who would know what made the students successful and what did not work. It is important to have the ones who are living it everyday and are affected by it the most to have to most opinion.

Are you a “good” student?

Through common sense a “good” student is someone who is able to sit down through a lecture or lesson and take in the content that is being taught. A “good” student is someone who will talk when the teacher ask them and not any other time. They will be happy to be at school but be content and follow all of the instruction. They are willing to learn and will walk quietly down the hall ways as well as being exactly how every other student should be with minimal individuality.

The students that are considered the “good” students are privileged by it. the students that are white and wealthy. students who are able to follow the good student definition and are sitting there ready to listen. A student who has trouble sitting down or cannot stay quiet when walking or sitting in their desk would not be privileged by it. when taking exams into consideration the students that were able to do well and pass the exams were more privileged than the students who would not do so well.

The way all students learn for example having a student who does not do good on exams may be a brilliant student and the student that is doing perfect on all the exams may just be getting good marks because they are able to memorize things better than other students. Us as teachers need to take into consideration that students all learn differently and have to learn to be flexible in our teaching practices, assessments as well as our own definition of the “good” student.

Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori is a theorist that I heavily look up to. As a woman she has accomplished some unbelievable things in her time such as becoming a female doctor in the 80s. I found that quite a few of my ideas about education relate to hers.

“Education cannot be effective unless it helps a child to open up himself to life” -Maria Montessori

To me this quote is saying that a teacher can teach many different things in a matter of a school year but a child has to be able to open themselves up to learn and absorb the content that is being taught. She also believes that it is up to the educator to make sure that the materials and the education is helping the child open up to learn and absorb the content so that they can learn.

Maria Montessori mentions the “absorbent mind” stage when children develop a mental burst of growth. I think that this stage is important for teachers to know not only are people life long learners but important life skills need to be present when the mind is open and absorbing. I also enjoy how Maria is focused on children with varying abilities because that is something that I am passionate about. there are two things that I disagree about Maria Montessori and that is she considers children with a low economic class to be “unable” which is extremely not true. Another thing that I would disagree with is many of the “Montessori activities” are end goal driven to where there is only one right way to do something. I think that it is important to have many ways to meet an end goal because children all learn different and achieve goals in different ways.

Curriculum Theory and Practice

  • The ways in which you may have experience the Tyler rationale in your own schooling; 

I feel as though most of my school experiences followed many things that the Tyler rationale highlighted. I noticed that the core classes were much more or a priority than the arts and even physical education. Core classes such as maths, sciences and English. I do see that in the way that my school experience was that every unit and outcome that we followed there was a distinct end goal that we were to achieve. We had the assessments such as a test or a major project or evaluate and assess our progress. a curriculum is a particular form of specification about the practice of teaching. It is not a package of materials or a syllabus of ground to be covered. ‘It is a way of translating any educational idea into a hypothesis testable in practice. It invites critical testing rather than acceptance’

  • What are the major limitations of the Tyler rationale/what does it make impossible; 

I have found a couple limitations to the Tyler rationale. The one that really stands out to me is the evaluations and assessments. Not all students are comfortable or confident in writing tests. Personally, for me I would have excelled even more in school if I had an alternative to just writing standard tests. This system is not for everyone. Another limitation is that the curriculum is not “value neutral’ which it was stated that it was. Provided a scientific model to curriculum development. A rational, orderly, and systematic process that is “value neutral,” and, therefore, can be implemented across all subjects.

  • What are some potential benefits/what is made possible? Be sure to refer to the assigned article in your post; you may also include information from lecture if you wish.

            One benefit, although it can also fall under a limitation, is that there is set goals. The benefit to the set goals is that student have something to achieve for and it makes there work meaningful. Personally, I find that I do better on assignments and projects if I can see a main outcome or goal that it will be taking me to. For example, students would want to do good on their exams so they can get into university to help them get a goal that they are striving for. The other achievements are giving them motivation. With the clear curriculum plan teachers are able to know exactly what they are to be teaching and what the goals should be. 

References: https://drive.google.com/file/d/12yUit4yJm9nhWB_wYXGMTZNiCJumaT02/view

ECS 210

Week 1: January 10 & 11

The problem of common sense

How does Kumashiro define ‘commonsense?’ 

            Kumashiro defines as something that everyone should know. It is also defined as something that would be considered the ‘norm’. It is assumed that everyone has similar knowledge based off of common experiences. “…Common sense call(s) on us to engage in anti-oppressive forms of education”

Why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘common sense?’

It is so important to pay attention to the common sense because, simply, it might not be common to everybody. It is enviable that people have a different common sense. Students as well as teacher will have a different common sense which could influence the ways they learn and teach. It is important to pay attention to this so that the learning environment is a non-biased environment. Things such as race, culture, morals and other beliefs and values may have a different common sense. Common sense is based off of experiences which people share differently which leads to individuals having different common sense.  An example from the text is the norms about school such as when it is open, the materials are divided into disciplines and that the students are grouped based on their age, common sense is telling us that these are what it means to be in school. But, “if we were to learn that there are other ways to structure schooling, or that prevailing views of schooling are actually quite oppressive, we might end up feeling quite disoriented or uncertain or even guilty.” This ‘norm’ may not be normal to every student. How it is set up is that the everyday schooling processes track only certain students toward academic success. In conclusion it is important to pay attention to common sense because everyone may view the situation differently.