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.