Virtual Treaty Walk Reflection

Due to covid-19, my ECCU 400 classmates and myself did not get the pleasure to go for our physical Treaty walk. However, we still had the chance to have a virtual treaty walk and read everyone’s scripts of the places they chose for the Treaty walk. Considering there is a large amount of scripts, and I do not want to make this post terribly long, I will be reflecting on one place that stuck out to me the most. I am not originally from Regina so I was not familiar with a lot of the locations, however a set of my classmates chose the statue of Sir John A. McDonald in Victoria Park. I have never heard of this and I really wanted to know what my classmates knew about it.

This one stuck out to me because I was shocked that there was a statue of him in Regina. I cannot believe that it would not be taken down by now. I was not shocked when the script included the fact that it is the only statue of John A. McDonald in Western Canada in a major city. This statue represents how much work still needs to be done to reach Truth and Reconciliation. McDonald was Canada’s first Prime Minister and he had a hand in horrific events such as residential schools. He is a symbol of colonialism in Canada’s history.

As a white settler, I would like to learn more on colonialism that took place in Canada’s history. Not only that but I would like to learn more about other statues or anything else that represents colonialism. I want to learn more on these things because it is important that I understand what aspects I must come to terms to. It is important for people to face what was done so we know what steps we can take to Truth and Reconciliation. This location on our virtual Treaty walk has really helped me realize the changes I want to make. I want to take my knowledge of this statue and teach my students about it for it is important that students know about this colonialism that is represented through this statue because they are the ones that will continue to make changes and continue to take steps towards Truth and Reconciliation.

 

Treaty Book Talks

The Elders Are Watching is an amazing children’s book that impacts children’s minds the importance of listening and respecting the knowledge that Elders pass down. It also has a message on how we have to take care of the land that we occupy. This story is about humans and how they misuse the land and the resources that the land provides. Elders are watching this in anger but they have hope that they can fix it. This book was written by David Bouchard, a Canadian Metis Author who was born and raised in Saskatchewan. He used to not speak of his Ojibwa and Osage roots which was not odd. In past times there was many Canadian Metis authors who would not share their Indigenous backgrounds. Roy Henry Vickers was the man who illustrated The Elders Are Watching. Vickers was born in British Columbia and owns a gallery in Tofino, British Columbia. Vickers is a Grammy Award nominated Canadian First Nation Artist.

One of Vickers’ art pieces:

The Elders are Watching is recommended for grades k-4. The outcomes, from the Saskatchewan Treaty Education curriculum, that best suit this Indigenous children stories are:

HCK3: Explore the connection all people have to the land as expressed through stories, traditions, and ceremonies.

HC13: Explore the many ways people meet their needs from nature and the land on which they live.

TR21: Examine how the Treaties are the basis for harmonious relationships in which land and resources are shared.

TR31: Examine the relationships between First Nation peoples and the land, before and after the signing of treaties.

HC43: Explore the historical reasons why people entered into treaty.

I chose these four particular outcomes because they are all linked through the aspect of land. Indigenous People shared their land with non-Indigenous settlers and very quick the settlers took their land and started disrespecting the land and mis-using resources the land offers. In the Kindergarten outcome (HCK3) and the grade one outcome (HC13), students can see how Indigenous Peoples connect to the land and see how they respect the Creator and its creations. Children at this age will see how the land should be treated through the story and they will understand the changes that have to be made. For the outcomes that contain Treaties, students can read the book and the teacher can run a lesson on the land that Indigenous People owned before and after the signing of treaties. All grades from K-4 will also see the respect and sacredness of knowledge that Elder pass down to others. Teachers can discuss the knowledge that Elders hold, the teacher can even ask an Elder to come in and speak to students about the land. All of this can branch off of Bouchard and Vickers’ story, The Elders are Watching and that is why I chose this Indigenous children’s story because it teaches children more than one aspect of Indigenous ways of knowing.

Attending a Pipe Ceremony

In ECCU 400, I was fortunate enough to attend a pipe ceremony. Prior to the pipe ceremony I was very nervous to be part of such a sacred ceremony. I had little to no knowledge on pipe ceremonies and the expectations that I had to meet. However, I became comfortable with feeling uncomfortable because it was such an amazing opportunity to build my knowledge on Indigenous culture. After listening to my instructor, having conversations with my classmates, doing research, and listening to the Elder, I understood the importance of pipe ceremonies and the meaning behind them. In the pipe ceremony I learned a lot on what spirituality and connectedness means to the Indigenous Peoples and how they relate to myself.

I now understand that everyone is connected spiritually. We have all smiled, laughed, and grieved over a lost one. Every single one of us has ancestors looking over us and together we want our loved ones to find peace and rest. I was able to experience an environment with my loved ones around me. I felt at peace and I felt connected to my ancestors whom have been watching over me. Not just during the pipe ceremony did I feel this experience, but afterwards as well.

After the pipe ceremony I wanted to find a place of peace on the land to put the left over food I had. From the pipe ceremony, I understood that you should find a place of land for your ancestors to enjoy the food. When I found land to place the food, I felt connected to my spirit and the spirits of my ancestors around me. The peace and love I felt throughout out this experience is indescribable and I now understand the importance of hands on experience when it comes to learning something so sacred.

As a non-Indigenous decent, I am extremely grateful I had the opportunity to be part of such a sacred moment. From what I learned, pipe ceremonies were banned in Canada and Indigenous Peoples would face consequences if they were caught performing a pipe ceremony. Pipe ceremonies allow Truth and Reconciliation and allowing Indigenous Peoples to experience their culture acknowledges the past and provides an opportunity to move forward.

Four Seasons of Reconciliation

I grew up in a small town, Raymore, Sk. Near Raymore was Kawacatoose, George Gordon’s First Nations, and Punnichy. In spite of the population of Indigenous peoples that I grew up around and befriended, living in a small town definitely introduced me to negative stereotypes on Indigenous people which clouded my perspective on Indigenous people. After reading the first two chapters of Chelsea Vowel‘s book, it motivated me to speak more about who I am in my first few blogs. In this blog post it is time I speak tâpwêwin and talk about the fear I have entering the course, ECCU 400.

When I would see an Indigenous person I would automatically have dark thoughts. I do not mean to have racist internal thoughts, I do think that the people I grew up has influenced my thoughts on Indigenous peoples. I do not like to admit this because it was non-Indigenous people who spoke on these negative stereotypes and I just believed them. I am also scared to hear about the history of Indigenous people, especially the mistreatment that they went through. If I do not know any historical or present issues, I end up ignoring it because it did not affect me personally. However, it is time I face these issues and accept the fact that my ancestors had a hand in dark Canadian history.

This process has helped me realize the steps I need to take to reach reconciliation. Even though it may make me feel uncomfortable to admit and accept, it is necessary to do so. This way I will be able to understand what steps I need to take next to Truth and Reconciliation.

My certificate to 4 Seasons of Reconciliation: 

Seeing Myself as a Treaty Partner

I grew up in Raymore, Saskatchewan located on Treaty 4 Territory. Treaty 4 was negotiated in 1874, and signed in Fort Qu’Appelle, ranging from the southeast corner of present-day Alberta through most of southern Saskatchewan to west-central Manitoba. There are 35 First Nations Communities in Treaty 4 including the Cree, Saulteaux bands of the Ojibwa peoples, and the Assiniboine. I have never been educated, in high school, about Treaty 4 land and the importance of living on the land. It was not until I started university where I started understanding how fortunate I am to be living on Treaty 4 Territory. I find it problematic that it took 19 years for an educator to teach me about First Nations land, especially Treaty 4 land. I think as Treaty Partners everyone should acknowledge and respect the land we all live on. I hope that as people gain knowledge on this topic, they take their knowledge and educate others.

Understanding Treaty 4 and learning the history of it is a step in the direction of me gaining more knowledge and becoming a stronger treaty partner. Treaty 4 was signed only roughly a hour away from my home town which I find very interesting that such a big piece of Canadian history was so close to home. Negotiations for Treaty 4 did not start off well for the Cree, Saulteaux and Assiniboine’s tribal lines were divided. There was conflict when it came to choosing a main leader for Indigenous Peoples for the negotiating of Treaty 4. A lot of the negotiations had to do with the land that the Hudson Bay Company stole and sold to the government. The Saulteaux people demanded for their money back considering it was their land to begin with. Although it was signed, there was some aspects of the Treaty that were not kept. For example, Indigenous Peoples were told that their children were to be kept safe however, residential schools killed a horrific amount of Indigenous children.

Now, how I fit into it all is just as important. It allows me to create a connection and relationship with the land. As I am a white settler, I understand that I am a Treaty person. I do experience privilege which creates my own lens of how I view Treaties. I believe that I could do more as a Treaty Partner, not just by understanding the history of Treaties but learn from others who hold more knowledge than myself. Although I have my own views of Treaties, I understand that to expand my learnings I need to also look at Treaties through other people’s lens. This will allow me to understand more about Treaties as well as who I am and what I can do as a Treaty Person and a Treaty Partner. I hope to learn more so I can do my job as an educator and teach my students the truth. I want to honour the Indigenous Peoples of the Treaty 4 land that I am blessed to be living on.

Exploring my Identity

In every education class I have been enrolled in, I am always asked to introduce myself. I automatically start with my name, what I am studying, where I work, my hobbies, etc. Starting ECCU 400, I have realized that list is not who I am, it is what I want people to know about me. So, who am I? Who am I as a Treaty person? After reading Chelsea Vowel‘s first few chapters of Indigenous Writes, I feel ready to explore who I am.

I have really never thought of who I am as a Treaty person due to the fact that it is something that I have never really been educated on. I have always been aware that I am on Treaty 4 Territory but I never knew what that meant for me as a Treaty Person. I come from German and Polish bloodlines and I am a white settler living on Treaty 4 land. Something that I cannot deny is white settlers do take majority of Canada and with that I am aware that I am privileged. I know that my family, who have settled here, does not own the land that I grew up on and call Canada. I know that there are routines and practices that have been incorporated into my everyday life that has been created by settlers who are part of my family ancestry.

Further from being a Treaty person, who else am I? What is my identity? I am a White, middle-class, straight, Canadian female.  I was given privilege due to these characteristics and I understand that I have unearned privilege. I understand that based upon my identity and appearance, I withhold benefits that not all people in Canada get. With my identity background I am aware that I am part of Canada’s majority.

I am a Treaty person because my European ancestors signed the treaty agreements and I am currently living on Treaty 4 Territory and benefitting from Treaty rights. Admitting these things can be uncomfortable but it necessary to realize and it is time I take the privilege I do have and make a difference in this world. It is time everyone comes together and together as Treaty people we can takes steps that lead to Truth and Reconciliation.

The Final EDTC 400 Debate!

The topic for the last edtc400 debate was Educators have a responsibility to use technology and social media to promote social justice and fight oppression: Agree or Disagree?. On the agree side we have Jesse Simpson and on the disagree side we have Daniel Lee. As usual, we’ll start this post off with a glance at the prevote results.

The agree side is carrying 68.4% of the votes while the disagree side has 31.6%. I really have appreciated these debate topics because it allowed me to learn more about certain topics that I haven’t thought about, including this one. With the knowledge I had prior to this topic, I voted for the agree side. Let’s take a look at the points Jesse addressed.

A G R E E     S I D E

Jesse’s Video 

The main points Jesse makes are:

  1. Staying neutral is problematic: When teachers are problematic
    http://neatoday.org/2018/12/11/political-neutrality-in-the-classroom-shortchanges-students/

    they ignore the fears, interests and concerns of their students. Ignoring your students and their feelings can be damaging towards students. This is a very good point because what if a student’s opinions do not matter at home and school is the place where they feel like they can express themselves. If a teacher is neutral, a student’s feeling of being valued no longer exists. In my class EMTH 200 I did an article presentation and my article was about diverse thinking. The main message in the article was educators should  be aware and accept different perspective. Educators will then understand that there is no wrong answers and everyone is right for different reasons. In Tim Walker‘s article, ‘Education is Political’:  Neutrality in the Classroom Shortchanges Studentshe states how neutrality is a political choice and these choices, as Jesse stated, can result in avoiding fears, interests, and concerns of students. Alyssa Dunn addresses her concerns of the neutrality that results in avoidance of such topics such as racism, inequity, climate change, or gun violence. These controversial issues can put teachers into uncomfortable situations so teachers often avoid these conversations with their students.

  2. Risks of staying silent online: Throughout edtc400, my classmates and myself have realized how big of a part technology has in our lives and how it is only going to increase from here on out. So, what are the risks of educators staying
    https://practicalphilosopher.prinzing.net/facts-and-opinions-are-not-contraries-3da8d787885b

    silent online? It doesn’t give the opportunity to model digital citizenship for students. Educators staying silent online will allow for misinformation to spread through classrooms. In Matthew Lynch‘s article, Modeling Digital Citizenship in the Classroomhe talks more on digital citizenship within a classroom. Using technology to help student’s learning gets students to appreciate the capabilities of technology. Teachers should teach their students how to search the web and indicate whether information is fake or real.

  3. Using technology/social media effectively: For educators to use technology/social media effectively they much show and teach their students an active digital citizenship. This way your students know how to use social media properly and appropriately. As Jesse said in his video, sharing is key and educators should speak out and talk about issues that they think need to be addressed.

D I S A G R E E     S I D E

Now it is time to take a look at what Daniel had to say!

Daniel’s Video

The main points Daniel talks about are:

  1. Teachers are under constant scrutiny: Daniel talks about how
    http://neatoday.org/2016/08/04/no-zero-policy-pro-con/

    people believe educators are overpaid because they don’t work the normal 9-5 jobs and they get summers off. Everyone has spoken to a teacher, whether it was a good or bad experience, this exposure gives people the sense that they know what teachers do. In Richard Worzel‘s article, Why Parents Don’t Respect Teachers, he takes these points Daniel has stated and puts them altogether. For instance, Worzel talks about how people look down at teachers because they do not work a 9-5 job. Considering everyone has been in a school, parents seem to know everything teachers do. They go to their jobs, talk to their students a bit, then get to go home around 3:00. How about getting through to students and making sure they understand? What about the assignments that must get developed? The lesson plans that need to be made before class? All the papers that need to be marked? There is a lot that educator do behind the scenes that parent’s don’t see!

  2. The education system is political: Here Daniel talks about how a teacher was fired because the school she taught at found out she had sex ‘outside of a heterosexual marriage’. This article goes deeper into the controversial issues that are tied into this.
  3. Students are easily influenced: Teachers have a big influence on students. Teachers are the leaders of classrooms so I wasn’t surprised when Daniel brought this up. Educators teach younger people the ways around different subjects in the education system. Educators actually hold a lot of power and because of this they are considered to be ‘always right’.

Now that we have taken a look at both sides, let’s take a look at the post vote results.

Now the agree side holds 84.2% of the votes while 15.8% of the votes go to the disagree side. I stuck with the agree side because we live in a very much digital world. Educators cannot stay silent online because all of the misinformation and flaws about technology and social media will reign and there will be total chaos. Both debaters did an amazing job and I was presented with another topic that I didn’t give much thought prior to the debate! Always learning 🙂

Until next time,

Miss. Lorenz

Being Too Dependent on Technology… Now That’s a Thought

 

This week’s EDTC 400 great edtech debate was on the topic, We have become too dependent on technology and we’d be better off returning to the “good old days’ before the Internet and smartphones took over”. For the “pro” side we had Jayden Lang and for the “con” side we had Kiera Eastley. This debate reminded me of my social media vs childhood debate but now it is more generalized to everyone.

I myself sometimes wish I was raised in the 80’s mostly because I like 80’s music (lol). I have also heard the line “Well back in my day…” way too many times. But the thing is, this world is so evolved that us adapting to the ‘good old days’ will never happen. So, have we become too dependent on technology?? I voted for disagree, let’s take a look at the pre-vote results to see what my other classmates voted for! 

Alright so as we can see, 76.5% of the votes were for disagree and while 23.5% of the votes were for agree. This is quite a difference, this will be interesting!! Let’s take a look at what Jayden had to say!

A G R E E   S I D E

Jayden’s Video

Jayden‘s main points are:

  1. Internet & Smartphones are affecting our mental & physical health:  Jayden starts this point of with sharing some statistics on texting injuries. She states that more than 1500 people end up in emergency rooms for texting injuries. Additionally, 78% of American’s believe texting while walking is serious and it is being banned! Not gonna lie, I myself have ran into an object or two while texting and walking.. oops.  Moving onto mental health, too much technology use can result in feeling anxious, isolated, lonely, and depressed! In Shainna Ali‘s article Could You Be Addicted to Technology?there is a list of problems, mostly health related, that is created by an excessive use of technology. Vision is one thing on the list I can relate to the most. If you look at a screen for too long you can develop a headache. I get the worst of migraines and guaranteed technology has a part in some of those! I personally have glasses and my eye doctor said that with all this time I spend studying and researching on my laptop, my eyesight is going to be way worse by the time I graduate from the University of Regina.. damn.
  2. Society are losing skills once valued: Technology has gotten in the way of socialization. Jayden uses LivePearson Survey results that shows 74% of Americans would rather send a text than having an actual conversation with someone. Okay… what? That is crazy!!! Jayden makes a strong point when she says that we are losing navigation skills. Today’s society has become so reliant on GPS’s. We may be reliable on them, but are they reliable for us? Jayden makes a list of GPS failures which includes jammers, typing in the wrong address, or the directions not being very safe. This is too accurate!! I was in Saskatoon last summer for training and I never go to Saskatoon so I pulled out my GPS. I missed my turn and the GPS lady kept telling me to do a U-turn on a chunk of grass that was separating the lanes on Circle Drive. Like okay first off… that is probably not legal???
    https://www.vox.com/2016/4/10/11379698/gps-navigation-brain-problems

    Brad Plumer‘s article Have we become too reliant on GPS? lays out some problematic situations when it came to people relying on a GPS to navigate them. There was a Belgian bus driver that took 50 tourists 800 miles in the wrong direction because he put in the wrong address. (This individual probably shouldn’t be a tourist bus driver if he doesn’t know where the main attraction spots are lol). I really like how this article states that hikers use their smartphones as a navigation system. May seem super handy until their phone dies. These hikers are now in the middle of nowhere with a limited amount of water and food. We must be careful and realize that GPS‘s are not always going to give us a 100% satisfaction.

  3. Technology may not actually be beneficial for students: Technology has definitely gotten in the way of student’s learning. Jayden stated in her first point of this argument that technology effects memory because there is no need to learn or remember something when you can find the answers on the internet. This is a big issue for students and the line, “Just Google it” is used quite common in schools. Stephanie Petit does a good job at laying out why internet use isn’t very beneficial for students in her article, Is Our Growing Reliance On Technology in the Classroom Healthy?Not only does Petit talk about how students are not learning anything because they are just quickly finding the answers online, but how these answers can be incorrect. As the saying goes “You can’t always trust what you read on the internet”.
  4. We are missing important moments in life: People do not truly experience moments in life because of technology which makes sense! You’re at a hockey game, a carnival, a concert etc. and you are worried about the quality of the video you just took or the aesthetic of the picture you just snapped. You’re done looking at you’re phone and the game is over, carnival is closing, and the band just finished their encore. That was fun…  (and scene). In this TedTalk video about being a digital zombie, Patrik Wincent does a great job at talking about how people now a days are missing out on the moments of life. When parents are out with their kids, they aren’t playing with them or watching them!! They are sitting on their phones and missing out on spending time with their child. Take a look at the video I included below! Joey Salads abducts a child in front of a father that was too busy look at his phone… Go off your phones, play with your children, and PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR CHILDREN!

D I S A G R E E    S I D E

Kiera’s Video

Kiera‘s main points are:

  1. Connection: With the technology we have today, it allows us to connect with people across the world. Technology allows us to go beyond the limits of distance, time, and more. Dex Torricke-Barton‘s does a great job at explaining how the internet has made one big community in his article, How the Internet is Uniting the WorldWith the internet, communication has spread worldwide and has created the largest community in history. Dex states in his article, “It crosses every border and culture . . . The tools and knowledge of one nation now belong to all nations.”
  2. Power and Opportunity: With technology there has been 140
    http://time.com/3107510/ice-bucket-challenge-als-we-need-to-do-better/

    million new jobs have been created (as of 2015). The internet has given 600 million children an opportunity to receive proper education. Again, in Dex‘s article, he also states how powerful the internet can be and the internet allows for movements to change the world. For an example, Dex talks about the ALS ice bucket challenge and how more than 17 million videos watched on Facebook by more than 440 million people . Not only that, but more than $100 million was raised during this movement! This is what the internet can do and this would not have happened in the ‘good old days’.

  3. Efficiency: Technology saves us a lot of time and money. It is a great tool to keep everyone organized because of what it all contains. A smartphone can be used as a book, a camera, even a wallet! It can even be used as an iPod (or a tool I use that makes cleaning my room into a dance party). Zaryn Dentzel starts of his article, How the Internet Has Changed Everyday Lifewith a strong  point on how the internet has revolutionized communication. Communicating with someone hours away from you is so easy to do and only takes seconds. I am constantly amazed with technology and the fact that I learn something new about it all the time. The limits of technology itself is endless and so are the boundaries of social communication through our devices. As Zaryn says, “The future is brimming with opportunities, and the future of the Internet has only just begun.” This is only the beginning and there is so much more to come!
  4. Facilitation: Technology is used as a powerful tool and serves us the three points I have stated above. With such a powerful source, it gives everyone the opportunity to build communities. Kiera assigned us a TedTalk video with speaker Eric Whitacre. In this video he talks about this choir program where anyone can take part from any part of the world. Technology makes everything so easy, and is a great facilitator when it comes to creating relationships, gaining a powerful platform, creating opportunities, and so much more! Life on the internet is endless and it’s only just beginning!

MY FINAL THOUGHTS

Now before I go on about what I think of this topic, let us take a look at the post-vote results!

Jayden was able to turn some heads and raise the agree side to 35.3% while the disagree side has 64.7% of the votes. Both of these ladies did a great job this debate and both raised very good points. I ended up sticking to Kiera‘s side and voting for disagree for a few reasons. The debate topic I was involved in had me researching all the great things the internet maintains so I already had this mindset walking into this debate. Although Jayden made some wonderful points, I was not

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/markets/2018/02/24/a-foolish-take-nearly-80-of-americans-own-smartphones/110342918/

convinced that going back to the ‘good old days’ is the right answer. Just a few weekends ago I lost my cellphone and let me tell you, I was able to do everything just fine without a cellphone or the internet. I do not think society is dumbing down and I do not think we heavily depend on technology. I think it comes down to the fact that technology makes things so much easier and us naturally lazy humans will take the easy route. Without my cellphone I was unable to use a GPS and I had to drive to the North side of Regina which I was very unfamiliar with. I surprised myself with how I was able to navigate around without the use of a smartphone. With me losing my cellphone I learned that I can do anything without it and I promise…. if I can do it, I know you can too!

Until next time,

Miss. Lorenz

Is Public Education Becoming Absorbed Into Corporates?

This weeks debate topic in EDTC 400 was “Public education has sold its soul to corporate interests”. Debating on the “pro” side was Liz and on the “con” side was Shaleen. Before I get into each side, let’s take a look at the pre-vote results.

57.9% of the votes went to the agree side while the disagree side had 42.1% of the votes. I was one of the students that voted for the disagree side. I was unsure what to think of this topic, but I automatically thought of sponsors that schools get and how schools get money from other companies. As a person who was a student in a small town, my school never had the luxury of getting sponsorships from big companies. For the most part, we fundraised EVERYTHING. The odd time our town bank would put in a donation, but a lot of the things that needed upgrading was from fundraising and saving money. With my own experiences I voted for disagree.

AGREE SIDE

Liz’s Video

The main points Liz discusses are:

  1. The Common Core Standards: Liz talks about how everyone learns the same curriculum. She talks about how the hidden curriculum never was built in, it kinda just showed up. As stated in The Inside Story of How Bill Gates Bought the Common Core Standards, Gene Wilhoit and David Coleman went to Bill Gates and gave him the idea.
  2. Push for Standardized Testing: Liz here states how Pearson, a textbook company, supplies most of the textbooks in North America. Considering their textbooks are what majority of schools hold, they also create the Standardized  Tests. I did not realize that Pearson actually gets money based on all the tests that are written!! That is so crazy, and some students rewrite tests due to a failed mark.
  3. Corporate Sponsorship: Liz included some results from a survey that states that “in 2005, almost 50% of public elementary schools and 80% of public high schools were sponsored by either Coca-Cola or Pepsi“. Drinking pop everyday is extremely unhealthy, not that kids are drinking it everyday. But if Pepsi and Coca-Cola is plastered all over the school, students will start to crave it. My little sister has Type 1 Diabetes so if she has a pop she will drink a diet pop. Even she knows that too much diet pop is unhealthy so it wouldn’t be beneficial for students to switch to a diet soda. Tom Philpott shares in his article, 80 Percent of Public Schools Have Contracts with Coke or Pepsi, the research he found on one of the contracts between Coke and a school. Tom shares, “under the existing 10-year contract, Coca-Cola paid the district $4 million upfront and an additional $350,000 a year to sell its beverages in schools”. That is a lot of money, and I am sure it is great for the school but is it worth the health risks the students are going to be facing?

This video above does a good job on giving people a better understanding of standardized tests and how it is beneficial for Pearson but not the students. Once you hit the third grade and fail these tests, you fail grade 3. I find it bizarre how these people are applying so much pressure on these kids!! They know they will fail if they do not pass so that is already increasing anxiety for students. There is such a thing as test anxiety and students are developing this at such a young age because there is so much pressure to pass a single test. For students in high school, take a grade 12 class, already have so much stress built up. This is the time where students are applying for university and figuring out their future. On top of that, they have six tests to worry about and they need to hit a certain grade to graduate. This video states that students will retake these tests at least three times!! With the costs of the tests being $15-$30, depending on the test. Pearson is getting so much money just by implementing so much stress and pressure on students.

DISAGREE SIDE

Shaleen’s Video

Shaleen‘s main points are:

  1. Technology In The Classroom: Schools rely heavily on technology due to sources like Google and Microsoft Office. Although schools get many financial offers, they do not say yes right away. Schools ask “Is it beneficial for students on and off campus?”, “How reliable is it?”, and “Is the tool easy to use?”. These questions are necessary to ask because schools and teachers should be looking for benefits for their students. Shaleen says that schools look after their building first, not the company. In the article, Ask the expert: smartly investing in education technology, it talks about how schools want the best for their students. With constant updated technology and the costs of it all, it is becoming impossible for schools to give the best to their students.
  2. Moving Away From Bad Business: There are schools in New York, and even Texas (who was a big buyer for Pearson) that are dropping out of their deals with Pearson because of all the cons it comes with. Shaleen states that elementary students are getting tested on high school material. This is outrageous considering that grades three students get held back if they fail. In Valerie Strauss‘ article, Pearson loses huge testing contract in New York – and gets more bad news, she gives us readers a better understanding of what Pearson is asking students on their tests. One is grade fours are to explain the architectural design of a rollercoaster and explain why rollercoasters are designed with cables instead of chains. This is something I cannot even answer, and Pearson expects grade four students to know the answer? This is completely unrealistic, good for the school that dropped their contrasts with Pearson. They are definitely looking after their students and not the money.
  3. Ethical Consumption: Shaleen makes a great point by saying that if education has “sold-out” to corporates then everyone has as well. We all use cellphones, laptops, apps, etc.

As you can see, there was a drastic change in the post-vote results. At the end the agree side held 88.9% of the votes while the disagree side held 11.1% of the votes. I was one of the students that changed to agree from disagree. My vote changed because of the class discussion. My classmate Daniel made a good point that the University of Regina‘s 1 million dollar sign was a not so smart move. I think everyone in this class can agree and I think this changed the votes because of the fact that a lot of our tuition money went towards it. (I am actually not too sure but where else would the University of Regina get that much money for a sign?). One of my classes in the classroom building had a bucket in it because the roof was leaking. This shows that the University cares more about the looks of their campus than the quality. Besides the University, I  believe that schools truly care about their students and look for what is best for them! This topic was very interesting and has me thinking more about it!

Until next time,

Miss. Lorenz

Biases… Something We Need to Admit

In this week’s ECS 210 lecture we talked about the “traditional” definition of literacy which is the ability to read and write. The class furthered this and talked about how society must be able to read and write in the dominant language to become successful. The Saskatchewan Curriculum states, “Literacy is the set of knowledge, skills, practices and behaviours that allow all of us to interact with each other. Literacy and learning are keys to employment, higher wages, better social and health outcomes and active participation in society.” Now, if there is an individual that isn’t originally from Saskatchewan, or even Canada, that does not have a great understanding with English language, does this mean they are illiterate? Does this mean they will not be as successful as me? I personally think, of course not!!! Besides reading literature we talked about how people “read the world” based on their upbringing and personal experiences.

How do I “read the world”? I grew up in the town, Raymore SK and I attended Raymore School, a grade k-12 school. Around Raymore were places like Kawacatoose, Day Star, George Gordons, Punnichy, etc. Therefore, I grew up with Aboriginal people in my class and school my entire school experience. Have I witnessed racism and bullying due to “differences”? Yes, but it has always confused me. I don’t know if it is because I grew up around different cultures but I never really understood what made white people different compared to First Nations and vice versa. In school, I never really understood the “hatred” that took place in school and in town. I have heard of the stereotypes “First Nations drink alcohol” or “First Nations don’t work”. I never really believed those stereotypes though because I also knew white people that drank alcohol and that didn’t work. It has been a lot of back and fourth for me as I grew up in a community with different cultural backgrounds.

Growing up in a small town, I grew up in an “olden day” community that didn’t really talk about the LGBTQ community. However, when this topic was brought up, I was taught that being a homosexual was wrong and unacceptable without any valid reasons as to why that was. I did not give this much thought nor did I believe what I was being told. I remember in English 20 presenting my thoughts about the LGBTQ community. My personal view on this subject is that other people’s choices do not affect my life, so why should I get involved in those choices and judge the people making those choices? However, considering I group up in a community that was against this topic, when I see a male in female clothing I will do a double take. I do not judge this person nor do I think this person is wrong for that choice, it just takes me back when I see it.

As I review what I have typed up above, I think of the word “different”. In my classroom how do I work against these differences?  I believe the best way to fight these biases is to collaborate different perspectives and understandings in my classroom. I think it is important for myself and my students to feel comfortable looking at things in different perspectives and learning why these perspective are the way they are.