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.

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Respecting Different Perspectives in Mathematics

I enjoyed this week’s readings and lecture for ECS 210, mostly because I love math and am majoring in it. Between the readings Jagged Worldview’s Colliding and Teaching Mathematics and the Inuit Community, and Dr. Gale Russell’s presentation, I started thinking about math in my high school and how it was taught. I loved math throughout school, it was always something I was naturally good at. For me personally, I never experienced math as oppressive or discriminating at my school. As I make connections with other classes and other readings this semester, I can see how math can be oppressive and discriminating.

When doing research for the curriculum critique paper in this class, I was reading other mathematical curriculums. I noticed that the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit section were written word for word in every math curriculum. With the lack of effort in writing this section, it shows that the people writing the curriculum did not want to add this in, but felt like they needed to. Just from the curriculum alone, we can see that mathematics can be discriminating. Although the people writing the curriculum do not support equity, that does not mean teachers don’t have to either. Educators need to remember that different cultures contain different beliefs and understandings. Educators must get to know their class and find different and diverse ways of teaching mathematics. Students cannot learn something if it doesn’t line up with their beliefs and understandings.

In EMTH 200, one of our main focuses is the importance of developing a deep understanding for mathematics. You are not only asking yourself “How?” but now thinking of “Why?”. This is important because math is known as a class where students say “As long as we have this formula memorized we will be fine”. To ensure that discrimination is not in my classroom I need to let students know that it is okay to have different perspectives on a question. I will let my students speak and let them express their thinking and let them know their opinions and thoughts are valued.

After reading Teaching Mathematics and Inuit Community, I was able to identify three ways as to how Inuit mathematics challenged Eurocentric ideas on mathematics and how we learn it. In this reading and Dr. Gale Russell’s presentation, I learned that Inuit people do math in base 20. This is due to the fact that they have ten fingers and ten toes. I found this to be so interesting, I would never have thought to use my toes as a tool for math! Western math is done in base 10! When it comes to measuring length in a Western math perspective, people use tools like rulers to measure. While Inuit people use their body part to measure things! I really enjoyed the traditional calendar section in this reading. A Eurocentric calendar contains 12 months with one month being 30 days then the next month having 31 days. These days are constantly alternating except for February which has 28 days, 29 days every four years. An Inuit calendar also has 12 months but the amount of days for each month is always changing. In the reading it says that September is the month where caribou’s antlers lose their velvet. September will end when caribou’s antlers lose their velvet. Therefore, their months are based on natural, recurring events.

This week I have learned how important it is to include all cultures in my classroom. I have learned how different cultures can have different perspectives in mathematics. I have learned that it is okay to think different in mathematics compared to everyone else. Educators must remember the different cultures in their classroom and the influences it can have for the subject of mathematics.

Until next time,

Miss. Lorenz

The Three Types of Citizenships

This week in ECS 210 we took a look at citizenship. We questioned ourselves,”What is good citizenship?” and “What makes a good citizen?”. We were assigned a video and an article based on Joel Westheimer‘s view on citizenship.

For Joel, the idea of education was to guide students on “improving the world”. In the video Joel talks about how it is important to teach students controversy and to “come together to air differences and move forward”. Joel mentions this is a great way to introduce politics into the class because it will help students understand that everyone will not agree on everything.

In Joel’s article, What Kind of Citizen?, he talks about three types of citizenships: personally responsible citizen, participatory citizen, and justice oriented citizen. The main citizenship Joel talks about is the justice oriented citizenship because I believe that this citizenship is one the gets ignored in the education systems. It did in mine at least.

Personally Responsible Citizenship

Personally Responsible Citizenship is someone who volunteers, gives blood, recycles, stays out of debt, obeys laws, etc. This citizenship builds character, honesty, self-discipline, etc. In my grade k-12 schooling I remember this being the main type of citizenship that us students would practice. My school would do bottle drives, parents would drive us students around collecting bottles, then everyone at the end would sort out the bottles and can we collected. We would have fundraisers and I would always choose to be a part of it. I would say in my elementary experiences I was very much a personally responsible citizen. I always volunteered to help around at school, always volunteered to be a part of fundraisers, etc. Whenever there was an opportunity to help in school I would take it. In high school I would always take part in yearbook where I would volunteer to take the pictures. I volunteered to be part of the senior football team by filming all of their games. I was very much a person that liked to be active in my school and community. I believe schools have the best opportunity for students when it comes to volunteering and shaping your personally responsible citizenship.

The Participatory Citizenship

Participatory Citizenship is someone who participates in the social life of the community, a planner, and a leader. In the educational systems, this is where students develop a knowledge of strategies and skills to help play an active roll in their communities. Personally responsible citizenship would volunteer in a food drive while the participatory citizenship would be the one that helped run the food drive. In my schooling experiences, abilities of participatory citizenship were introduced but not as popular as personally responsible citizenship. Around middle school is when us students learned about voting, leadership, and debates. We had a day where we would have boxes around the classroom and all vote and put our votes in the box of our choice. I gained some abilities within the participatory citizenship. I loved helping out so much, I wanted to become a leader and help out even more. I helped organize pep rallies, activities for students, movie nights at the school, bakes sales, etc. I have always been a person that loves making change and helping out make the change. With my school experiences, it way very easy to become a participatory citizen but I think it is also up to the students. A student needs to want to become a leader and feel comfortable with that role.

Justice Oriented Citizenship

Justice Oriented Citizenship is someone that has the ability to communicate with and learn from those who hold different perspectives. These people are work related to the life and issues of the community.  Justice oriented citizens look at the bigger picture, instead of just volunteering or running the food drive, they are seeking the reasons as to why people are hungry. From my memory, I never really learned much about this type of citizenship. By the time I learned and gained the abilities to become a personally responsible and participatory citizenship, I was graduating high school. I predict that it was like that at a lot of high schools considering this section of Joel’s article was longer and the most talked about. I believe this citizenship is unlikely to be taught in schools because to get to this level of citizenship, a person must be comfortable with who they are as a personally responsible citizenship and participated citizenship.

Based on what I talked about, my school experiences to actually LEARN about these citizenships were low, but I was able to have a lot of opportunities to create myself into some of these citizenships. In regards to personally responsible citizenship, I’d connect this to the product curriculum because the idea of these two is to create good and responsible citizens.

 

Treaty Education

This week in ECS 210 we did not have lecture so to make that up we were to watch a video and read an article on Treaty Education. For this post, I am going to discuss the importance of teaching Treaty Education in schools with or without First Nations, Metis, and/or Inuit peoples.

Just like every other class offered in schools, Treaty Education is a class teachers are required to teach. This is normally not taught and I can testify to this because I did not get taught Treaty Education in high school. I have done my research on the topic but when it gets brought up in my university classes, I often feel out of the loop. I have learned a lot more with this week’s video and readings. I also learned that people believe that Treaty Education should only get taught to Indigenous peoples and not non-Indigenous peoples. I find this to be ironic because Indigenous peoples learn about white people in high school. It is important to teach non-Indignoeus peoples Treaty Education because people do not know the history of Treaty Education and/or treaties.

In Claire’s intro video, Claire talks about how Indigenous students want their classmates to learn and know what they know about Indigenous peoples and Indigenous lives. Indigenous students do not want to be stopped and asked by

https://educationalliance.ca

other people, “What are you?”. Indigenous people do not want to continue to feel like they do not belong. Claire says that these situations are not a non-white problem, but a white problem. Educators need to focus on the non-indigenous students and introduce Treaty Education to their knowledge and stop racism becoming the underlying curriculum!

In a video posted by Michael Cappello, he interviews Claire Kreuger and they talk about Treaty Education. Claire mentions that she has been in hundreds of math classes and she knows what a math class looks like. This shows the lack of Treaty Education that is involved in schools and classrooms. Claire herself said she is still learning about Treaty Education. She mentions that teaching Treaty Education give educators great opportunities to connect to Indigenous peoples and their communities. This reminds me of my field placement in ECS 100 at the Regina Huda School where the school got an Elder to come in and share information on her culture and ceremonies, and do some storytelling.

https://mfnerc.org/product/we-are-all-treaty-people/

I breathe, sleep, learn, (one day) teach on Treaty 4 land. We all do. Treaty 4 belongs to a family of settlers that were here before me. That makes me a treaty person. They were here before you. This makes you a treat person. We are all treaty people. As a future educator and someone who has not had a good education on Treaty Ed., I really want to make sure I corporate it into any subject I teach. This week I have learned so much important aspect on people learning about Treaty Education. I believe that Treaty Education should not be something that  seems forced into a lesson, but something that belongs there. Let’s be honest, it does and should belong there. This week has got me excited to start working on assignment three in ECS 210 because this will give me a chance to learn how to incorporate and Indigenous’ perspective in any subject and lesson. I have a lot to learn when it comes to Treaty Education and I am willing to do anything and everything to expand my knowledge on this topic so I can share my knowledge on Treaty Education with my future classmates.

 

Learning from Place

Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing is an article that discusses the importance of learning from place. This article is based on a research project dedicated to “Mushkegowuk Cree concepts of land, environment and life in Fort Albany First Nation”. There is a story of youth, adult, and elders going for a trip down the river. On this trip is where the people learn the meaning of traditional territory and everything that contains within.

From this reading, I can see the river trip as a whole being an example of reinhabitation and decolonization. As they go on this river trip, all the people are revisiting and reclaiming location that hold a traditional territory significance that they are learning about. During this process, the people are diving into reinhabitation. Reinhabitation aims to “identify, recovery and create material spaces and places that teach us how to live well in our total environments” (pg. 74). In the essay, the elders share that a river is more than just a body of water. The river holds emotional, physical, and spiritual meanings. The river is also used as a way to remember the people that one has lost for the river is used as a cemetery. This powerful moment in the article is a part of decolonization. Decolonization aims to “identify and change ways of thinking that injure and exploit other people and places” (pg. 74).

This article gave me a deeper understanding on how something as such as the environment can have a much more deeper meaning to some people. This article shares that there are some knowledgeable facts that are more important to other students. Knowing this, when I am a teacher I should keep in mind that knowledge just is not found within textbooks and the curriculum. Information can be found in within our community and environment. There is no limitation when it comes to knowledge and learning. This reading helped me understand that.

Who Writes The Curriculum? Who Should Write It?

BEFORE THE READING:

How do you think that school curricula are developed? 

I think the school curricula are developed by people that THINKS they know what is best for students and what they need for the “real world”. Sadly, I think the people that created the curriculum are people that have never taught a class before or have never experienced leadership in a classroom.

AFTER THE READING:

“Curriculum is defined as an official statement of what students are expected to know and be able to do” (8). The curriculum is developed by the government and other authorities. There are also subject experts that take part in the creating process of the curriculum. Although there are people that are experts in their subject, the curricula people do not have the average day teacher on board. Due to the absence of teachers, the curricula people do not know what it is like to be in a classroom. They do not know the time it takes to learn something, and that is why teachers are always in a rush to get the material completed. The curriculum decides what is being taught in school and how far the subject gets taught. One thing that does comfort me is if the government does not think the curriculum is good enough, they will make sure it is edited or revised so it can be started all over. This comforts me because it shows they actually look at the curriculum and care about the quality of it. Another thing I learned through the reading is how deep the curriculum is in the political world. I never realized how big of a say the government has in the curriculum.

I am concerned with the fact that the curricula people do not have teachers come in for some tips and input. Yes, they have experts in subjects coming in but when it comes to the curriculum in grades k -12 schools, the teachers are the real experts. The teachers know exactly how much information can be taught in a hour, in a month, in a semester, and in a school year. Teachers know how a classroom is ran and they would be the best people to ask for help in the writing of the curriculum.

Reference

Levin, B. (2008). Curriculum Policy and the Politics of What Should be Learned in Schools. In F. Connelly, M. He & J. Phillion (Eds.), pp. 7-24. Found online from:

https://www.corwin.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/16905_Chapter_1.pdf

 

 

How Common-sense Shapes a “Good” Student

What does it mean to be a “good” student according to common-sense?

Common-sense shapes a “good” student as a student that everyone should try to be. These “good” students are people that show up for class and sit down at their desk and sit there quietly. A “good” student is someone who gets their work done quick, efficiently, and at their best of their abilities. A “good” student is someone that the teacher does not have to pay attention to because they behave in a way the teacher wants them to. A “good” student is a person that will raise their hand to speak. A “good” student is a person who portrays positivity throughout the classroom.

Which students are privileged  by this definition of the good student? 

The students that are able to sit quietly and still in their seats for long periods of time are privileged for this label of a “good” student. Students who are fidgety will struggle with this task. The students who are able to work fast and efficient are privileged for this label of a “good” student. Students who do not grasp the material quicker than the rest will have a hard time finishing assignments quickly and on time. The students that accept the fact that they think and learn based on the teachers are privileged.

What is made impossible to see/understand/believe because of these common-sense ideas?

These traits that are created by the common-sense of a “good” student make it impossible for students to express themselves. Students sitting at their desk and being quiet stops them from sharing there opinions during class. Students getting their work done quickly and almost perfectly applies a lot of pressure to students and applies unnecessary stress. Theses common-sense ideas create robots for the world to control. When I become a teacher I want the exact opposite of this. I want all my students to express their opinions and strive for their individuality.

 

Breaking down Montessori

“The greatest sign of success for a teacher… is able to say ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.'” – Maria Montessori

I chose this quote because this is what I want for my future classroom and my students. As a teacher I don’t want my students to just memorize the material I introduce to them, but to understand it and know how to use it. This quote represents growth and individuality which makes complete sense for someone like Maria to say this line. Maria believed in hands on learning and she would give her students activities to help them expand their knowledge. This shows that with Maria’s teaching method, students were able to know the   information, use the information, and completely understand why and how the information is used. With this, students are able to take their knowledge and use it on more complex questions.. and they will be able to do it on their own.

As a future math teacher, I believe that students should not just memorize information. I want to introduce Maria’s teaching method by creating activities for the kids to do. It adds fun to the classroom and at the same time students are communicating with one another and sharing their knowledge. They are able to look at a math question and see multiple ways of doing it and they are able to pick what method works best for them. I think it is great when students can learn from each other and work like the teacher is not there. This means the teacher did their job and the students understand it so well they can do the work themselves.

It Has Always Been Like This…. Doesn’t Have to Stay Like It

This week in ECS 210, I read the article, Curriculum and Theory Practice. Within this article it talks about Ralph Tyler and his rationale.

1. What ways have I experienced Tyler’s rationale in my own schooling?

Thinking back on my entire school experience, it’s shocking how similar my experiences were with Ralph Tyler’s rationale. Every day at school it was common sense to sit down at your desk and be quiet. Students would sit, quietly, and write out word for word of whatever was presented on the chalkboard. In elementary, our art class would sometimes get cancelled so we can work on other subjects like Math, Science, English, or Social Studies. Starting in elementary students were slowly losing their creativity. Not only were those four classes prioritized, the way we were to learn those subjects were out of our control. There was a certain way to learn those subjects and only that way. Throughout elementary and middle school students grasped onto the idea that right answers on tests meant you got to move on to the next grade. I realized my classmates and myself were not understanding the material being taught, but memorizing it. Most cases students just wanted to memorize the unit being taught so when it came to the test, it was an easy pass.

2.  What are some major limitations of the Tyler rationale? What does it make impossible?

It is not surprise that all students learn differently. Considering that most schools follow the guidelines of Tyler’s rationale, a lot of students are not able to learn the content that is being taught. It will become discouraging for those students to see everyone succeeding. A lot of this unfairness is what causes students to drop out of high school and this is where inclusive education is flawed. All students have a favourite subject and a lot of the time students want to build their career around that subject. Considering there is texting in subjects like math, science, etc., students priorities lean to those subjects. For students who are interested in art and want to make a career out of it, it becomes impossible because of Tyler’s rationale. Tyler’s rationale strips creativity and individuality. Everyone learns the same and does the same: memorize the content, write the test, and hopes to pass.

3. What are some potential benefits?

This question was very hard for me to think of, I am not for Tyler’s rationale. I was able to think of a couple benefits that come with Tyler’s rationale. The curriculum and the guidelines of Tyler’s rationale makes certain that all students in different schools are learning the same thing. (That is if the students are able to comprehend it in the ways they are supposed to learn it). I do not think that a student’s knowledge should be based around tests. However, I do think it will take some time for a change in that aspect. With that being said, this is a good way for students to prepare for tests like a written drivers exam. Tests will especially prepare students that head to university because university is very reliable on exams.

Common Sense: What is it doing for the educational system?

I always believed that common sense was knowledge of the obvious. For example, it is common sense to own a winter jacket when living in Saskatchewan. It is common sense to pay for your products before exiting a store. After reading Kumashiro’s article, “The Problem of Common Sense” I learned that in the career of education, there is a separate definition for common sense. I believe that the common sense that Kumashiro shares is a way to hide everything that is wrong with school systems.

When I was reading Kumashiro’s experience as a teacher in Nepal I couldn’t help but think of Professor Hildebrandt’s first teaching experiences. Hildebrandt taught at a grade k-6 school. Whenever Hildebrandt would take her kids to a different part of the school, they would have to walk in a single filed line and be absolutely silent. If her kids would speak in line she was told to stop the class from walking and stand there until the kids became silent again. Their lunch times were exactly the same. The students in the school would all sit in a cafeteria in complete silence. Hildebrandt would get told that some of her students were getting suspended because of the fact that her students spoke DURING LUNCH TIME. Kumashiro’s experience was very familiar, except the students were the ones pointing out what he was doing wrong. The students were encouraging him to make sure to hit students when they were misbehaving. He wanted students to participate and engage in learning, overall just have fun with it. The students would just write word for word whatever was on the board. The staff and students in these two experiences believed that this behaviour within the schools was common sense. Not common sense in a way as in this is day to day knowledge, but in a way that it overshadows what is clearly wrong in the education systems. Teachers and students are feeding into “normal” school behaviour which consists of no talking, writing out what is on the board, not engaging in what is being taught, etc. I think this “normal” school behaviour is what I would call “educational common sense”. I think this is how Kumashiro is defining common sense. As Kumashiro says in his article, “Common sense does not often tell us that the status quo is quite oppressive” (36).

During this week’s lecture professor Cappello said, “Our belief of curriculum is relatively common sense”. When he said this I never really understood as to why he was saying it. After reading the article I made some connections as to what I believe common sense is and how it connects to the curriculum. As I said above, the common sense that people have within schools is a way to make sure people do not catch what is wrong with school systems that are being introduced.

There is a section in the article titled Anti-Oppressive Education. As I was reading this section I kept thinking of when the class in this week’s lecture were sharing our ideas of our own definitions of curriculum. There was one that stated that curriculums are guidelines but we can make them our own. Doing so, this is what differs teachers from one another and this is how educators can cheat the curriculum and create an education system that is less robotic and more interesting and fun for the students.

It is important to pay attention to these different types of common sense. The sooner people realize that this common sense is hiding the flaws of our school systems, the sooner we can make change. No more sitting/walking in single filed rows. No more raising your hand if you want to speak. It is time that students are encouraged to speak in class and participate in what is being taught. A few months back I came across a YouTube video that brings awareness to everything that is wrong with the school system. I get so inspired by it and I am going to link it down below for anyone who also wants to get inspired to make a change.