- How has your upbringing/schooling shaped how you “read the world?” What biases and lenses do you bring to the classroom? How might we unlearn / work against these biases?
I know in my school experience there was not a lot of emphasis on the importance of understanding colonialism and the lasting effects it has had in Canada. Most of my education pushed the idea that Canada’s creation was fair and that First Nations people were treated and consulted fairly. This lack of an understanding of First Nations people in my early education created a biased view of Aboriginal people. Until grade 12 I had no real understanding of Aboriginal issues and I saw them as equals in Canada that are treated fairly. Because of my educations lack of in-depth teaching of contemporary issues that Canada’s Aboriginal people are facing it fostered a biased view of Aboriginal people in my classmates and me. Often because of how we were taught we grew to see Aboriginal people as whiners who should be thankful for what they have, when in reality that belief is farthest from the truth. It is incredibly hard to unlearn these biased views and many people my age still hold these opinions and ideas as truthful. I began to unlearn these ideas in my grade 12 Social Studies class and then continued to unlearn these ideas when I continued my education at the University of Regina a few years later.
- Which “single stories” were present in your own schooling? Whose truth mattered?
Most of the “single stories” that I noticed in my education were the stories of my teachers. Teaching is a political act and there is no doubt in my mind that the opinions and views of my teachers were transmitted to me and my fellow classmates. I can look back to my high school experience, it was a well-known fact that if you just reiterated what certain teachers wanted to hear you would get a passing mark. This no doubt reinforced certain political ideas and values on students who found them relatable. Instead we should have been taught to be critical and analyze things but that was not what we were taught to do. All of my teachers in high school were white so it was obvious to me that there truths are what mattered. Most of our learning was framed around colonial learning and had no aspect of that included Aboriginal perspectives. This lack of perspective created a feeling that the colonial truth was the truth that mattered.
What examples of citizenship education do you remember from your K-12 schooling? What types of citizenship (e.g. which of the three types mentioned in the article) were the focus? Explore what this approach to the curriculum made (im) possible in regards to citizenship.
I remember in high school that I had to do 20 hours of volunteering in the community; I ended up volunteering at a food bank and at souls harbour. We were told that it was important for us as students to be active in the community and to be contributing members of society. I also remember in my Social Studies classes that we learned about Canadas political systems and how our government ran. These classes really pushed how the parliament works, its importance and all the different people that work in parliament. We were also taught about voting and how our voting system works (first past the post), we were also taught about the importance of voting and that every vote matters.
To me the main focus of my education was a combination of personally responsible and participatory citizens. We were taught about how it is important to be active in the community by volunteering which is an important part of the personally responsible citizen. My education also focused of the importance of our parliament, electoral system and voting; these are aspects of the participatory citizens. I personally cannot think of times when my education focused on the importance of a justice oriented citizens or where we were taught or given assignments that promoted the creation of justice oriented citizens.
To me my education was partially successful in creating citizens but they failed to address arguably the most important citizen which is the justice oriented citizen. The justice oriented citizen is very important because it helps people build an understanding of social issues. Saskatchewan has arguably some of the most blatantly racist people in Canada and the educations systems failure to teach students about becoming a justice oriented citizen really shows; especially when it comes to topics about Aboriginal people’s rights (look at any Facebook comments section). I never really learned the importance of being a justice oriented citizen until I attended the university. Here I learned about Canada’s colonial past and the systematic racism that occurs every day in Canada and how we can work to change it. I personally think that learning about being a justice oriented citizen in university is way too late in a person’s life, especially since many people do not attend university. K-12 education needs to begin to incorporate aspects of the justice oriented citizenship into their teachings so we can successfully bring our province and country into the modern world.
- 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?
I cannot think of a time in particular where I felt that I was oppressed by my mathematics education. There was however a lack of Aboriginal perspectives when it came to my math experience. Math was never outwardly oppressed me, however depending on the teacher the homework could feel overwhelming. There are ways that teachers could incorporate indigenous ways of knowing into math. There could be deeper discussions about the roots of math and how it relates to Aboriginal ways of knowing. When it comes to math questions there could be questions created around Aboriginal culture such as using the Pythagorean Theorem to calculate the length of a teepee pole or calculate the circumference of a medicine wheel. This not the best way to incorporate Aboriginal perspectives in Math, but it was one of the first ideas I had. I feel like it would be best to work with a group of people to come up with a better idea for incorporating Aboriginal aspects into Math.
- 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.
The first way that the Inuit challenge the Eurocentric views of math is with their counting system. To the Inuit community Mathematics is a dialogue that occurs between people who are trying to solve Math’s problems. This is different than colonial math because the Inuit focus more on discussing and understanding math as a way to critique it and actually create a deeper understanding of math. Whereas the colonial form of math focuses more on formulas and solving problems as individuals.
The second way that the Inuit community challenges Eurocentric math is with their usage of measuring tools. In colonial education students use rulers, protractor or a compass as a measuring tool; whereas the Inuit people use parts of the body as a way to get measurements. This is contradictory to my colonial education because I was always told to use my ruler or protractor because using your body would not give you an accurate measurement. It turns out that Inuit women have been using body parts as a way to measure how to make clothing; an example is that they would use their palm as a way to measure a parkas neck hole.
Finally the Inuit calendar also challenges Eurocentric views of Math. The Inuit calendar is divided into months but the amount of days in each month changes every time. They explain that the European month of September is different than Inuit September. In Inuit their word for September means “when the caribou’s antlers lose their velvet” and the amount of days in the month change because the month goes on for as long as it takes for caribou to lose their antlers velvet. The Inuit calendar is not solar or lunar; rather it is based on natural reoccurring yearly events.
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?
Teaching Treaty Ed in schools where there is a low Aboriginal population is just as important as teaching Treaty Ed in schools where there is a high Aboriginal population. This is because in Saskatchewan we are all treaty people. In some way, shape or form treaty has had an impact on all our lives whether we know it or now and it is important for students to know that. When teachers say there is no purpose to teaching treaty education in predominantly white schools, they are missing the point that treaties are not just for aboriginal people, they also affect descendants of colonial settlers. Teaching Treaty Ed in predominately white schools is important because it can be used to guide students learning on the real history of Canada and is a great tool to incorporate Aboriginal perspectives and histories into lessons. By introducing Aboriginal perspectives to the classroom, we as future teachers can begin to reshape the colonial educational system into something better suited to the diverse history of Canada. This by beginning to introduce Aboriginal ways of knowing and learning more and more student in the Canadian education system will begin to see themselves and their histories being represented in a fair and positive way at school.
2. What does it mean for your understanding of curriculum that “We are all treaty people”?
Being a Social Studies major the phrase “We are all treaty people” means a lot to me and my field of study. A lot of my Social Studies electives have covered topics that relate to treaties and their importance in Canada. To me the curriculum should be based around the fact that we are all treaty people rather than people who acknowledge them but do not take them seriously. As a secondary Social Studies major I am very concerned with how out dated a lot of the high school curriculum is when compared to elementary school. The geography 20 and 30 curriculum is both from the 1960’s. Now think about how Aboriginal people were treated and represented back then, the outdated curriculum reflects this racism and bias. Many of the other outdated Social Studies curriculums teach the colonial history of Canada; where white settlers are heroes and Aboriginal people were savages. As a teacher and a treaty person I find it very contradictory that I am to teach treaty and Aboriginal perspectives when the curriculum its self does not represent these things. There is currently a committee meeting to re-evaluate and update the curriculum so that these perspectives and values are represented and I am happy for that, I am just disappointed that in some areas of the curriculum it has taken 50 years to update and make changes.
- List some of the ways that you see reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the narrative.
There are many examples of decolonization throughout the reading and his decolonization takes place in a few ways. First the reading mentions that many generations are coming together and sharing wisdom through learning experiences. Creating a connection to the land was also important because they find ways to incorporate resources the land provides to expand knowledge and understand the many generations and their historical relations. This connection with the land created a meaningful environment for people to learn and build relationships with each other. Decolonization also means recognizing the importance of language and cultural differences and making sure that they are treated fairly. There is also evidence of people beginning to reinhabitate the land by creating connections with the land and not simply placing emphasis on European colonial laws. Practicing traditional activities and engaging in meaningful learning from their culture was another example of decolonization.
- How might you adapt these ideas to considering place in your own subject areas and teaching?
After doing the reading I began to wonder how I could help my students make a connection with the land and how can I incorporate the land into my teaching. I thought back to my elementary school experience and how usually a few times a year we would go on an outdoor education day trip. On these trips we would be given a guide and we would go to nature areas or nature reserves and we would learn about the environment, animals and the ecosystem. These trips would also incorporate the culture, history and heritage of where we were. The one trip we went to a buffalo jump site and learned about the historical hunting methods of Southern Saskatchewan’s Aboriginal people I look back at these trips very fondly and I learned a lot about the land in Saskatchewan to me this would be a good tool to incorporate place and the land into my area of teaching.
I personally think that curriculum is developed when selected teachers are gathered together and create a plan of what is deemed important for students to learn. Teachers decide what to put into the curriculum based off of what society deems important. The teachers then take the lessons deemed as important and weave them into the curriculum. I do not think that when the curriculum is created the old one is completely thrown away. Rather they build the new curriculum around parts of the old one, while still removing the obsolete pieces of the old curriculum. Metaphorically creating the curriculum is like a phoenix. When it dies, it will reincarnate from the ashes of the old and create the new.
Education is highly political and the decision of what is implemented in the curriculum reflects that; even though these decisions are made with little to no public knowledge. Politicians, political staff and civil servants develop and implement educational policies across many nations. What I mean by this is these people craft educational policies that reflect the views and values of those who elected them or helped elect them. This is because if these officials fail to satisfy enough people they will be tossed out of office, so they create educational policies and other policies that reflect the views of their voters. This can also cause a conflict of interest because if people have strong views of how the schooling system should work it can actually end up damaging the system rather than improving it.
This really made me see through the perspectives of politicians and the teams they work with when they develop educational curriculum and implement it. This is because these people are asked to make difficult decisions about topics they may have very little knowledge on in a short period of time. This need to make decisions quickly results in important decisions being made rapidly with often very little information or discussion on the decision. This perspective made me realize that often when poor decisions are made in relation to education it is because of the pressure officials have to make quick decisions. Ultimately this ends up costing the students and teachers that are in this system because they are given a curriculum that does not reflect what the actually see as important to education.
This concerns me because in my mind teachers should be the one creating and implementing the curriculum because they have the most experience in classrooms. There should a little bit of political or government input, but a majority of the curriculum should be created by teachers that demonstrate exceptional understanding in their fields. This would mean that teachers who are seen as leaders in their areas would put together the curriculum with a representative of the government and a representative of aboriginal peoples. To me this would create a diverse set of views that could help form a curriculum that represents the diversity of our nation and our province.
What does it mean to be a “good” student according to the common sense? Which students are privileged by this definition of the good student? What is made impossible to see/understand/believe because of these common sense ideas?
According to common sense a good student would be someone who behaves exactly how a teacher desires. Often these behaviours are of someone who gets their work in on time, is quite and attentive in class and are not disruptive in anyway. Even physical things like dressing appropriately, cleanliness and historically skin colour can play roles in who is defined as a “good” student. The definition of a “good” student disadvantages children who come from families that have very little money, children with undiagnosed learning disabilities and children that are not white. Even historically girls were disadvantaged in the education system, often being treated as if their schooling should prepare them to be a housewife. Even more recently LGBTQ students were disadvantaged by the definition of a “good” student. This is because until students, who identify as members of the LGBTQ community feel that their schools fail to acknowledge their identities and choices, often brushing them off as confused teens who do not really know what they want. Some teachers even identify these students as trouble makers because of how “different” they are, when realistically these students just want fair and equal treatment.
To me it is impossible to see a school that is fair and equal to its students because of common sense and what is deemed a “good” student. Common sense claims that a good student is one that shows up, pays attention and does their work. But in reality common sense does a lot more to set certain students back and propel others forwards. As teachers it is important that we remember all our students are different and that not a single one of them will be perfect. But they will all have unique and different life experiences that they are bringing into our classrooms and we need to be sure that we accommodate, welcome and treat them with respect.
“Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: ‘You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.”
― Doris Lessing
I picked this quote because it really resonated with me and made me think about all that I have learned from the University about colonialism and school. A large amount of ECS classes that I have taken have discussed the ideas of colonialism in schools and how everyone is a product of that colonialism. When I saw this quote I was immediately drawn too it and how I have directly been influenced by colonialism in my education.
This quote makes it impossible for there to be individuals in our current education system. It says that in our current system, students who are individuals and do not agree with our current system are encouraged to leave. To me this really made me think of the people I went to high school with who dropped out. These people were individuals who did not enjoy our current educational system, so instead of staying in a system that would not accommodate those people left to pursue their own future or education. The quote also discusses that those who stay in our current system will be moulded and shaped into what our societies needs are.
The quote also discussed how it is actually possible to apologize for how children are being indoctrinated into our society using the education system. When I came to University I was surprised to learn about colonialism, privilege and how I had been taught not to see it through my schooling. If teachers are more willing to address these issues to students at younger ages it is possible to make a change. Then from here we would be able to “evolve” our education system as Lessing suggests.
The quote says that teachers are willing participants in passing off these prejudices on the younger generations. The quote also says that teachers are people who have accommodated themselves into a biased society created by their predecessors. I feel like this quote is referencing the older style of teaching that is more based off colonial history and values. More and more new teachers are going through universities that teach anti-oppressive education, so it is possible that we are already in the “evolving” stage that the quote mentions earlier. Students are seen as unwilling participants in the current education system that are being indoctrinated into society. Students are having societies current prejudices passed down to them through the process of education.
The quote I chose was related to curriculum and school in many ways. It talks about how school and curriculum are used as a tool to influence children and to remove their individuality. It also uses the term indoctrination when discussing the school system. I felt that this really related to my schooling from grades K-12. From the first day you are taught how to treat others and what is appropriate and what is not. These classrooms essentially become mini societies in which children learn the dos and don’ts. The children who are not able to fit in to this mini society fall to the wayside and eventually feel abandoned by the education system because of their individuality.
Curriculum development from a traditionalist perspective is widely used across schools in Canada and other countries. Can you think about: (a) The ways in which you may have experience the Tyler rationale in your own schooling?
I have experience the Tyler Rationale in my education probably since I was in kindergarten. The first level of the Tyler Rationale is “What educational purposes should the school seek to attain?” I have noticed this in my schooling because most of my teachers had the guidebook provided with the student text book. The guidebook had all the answers to the questions and even gave ways to check for students learning and understanding. My teachers also had their curriculum outlines on their desks. These would summarize the overall unit and lesson and would have the desired outcomes and indicators. Tyler’s second level “What educational experiences can be provided that are likely to attain these purposes?” I also noticed this level a lot in my schooling in the form of field trips, guest speakers, experiments and demonstrations. These experiences that I was provided with often reinforced lessons by showing me what I had just learned about and often showing me why it was important. The third level of the Tyler rationale is “How can these educational experiences be effectively organized?” Again this can be demonstrated by the daily outline my teachers always had. A lot of my teachers usually had a big monthly calendar on their desks with the breakdown of what their plan was for the semester. The final level of the Tyler rationale is “How can we determine whether these purposes are being attained?” I am not sure if I experienced this level in my schooling, but I would assume that my teachers had some method of checking to make sure we were attaining our goals. I feel like if I had to make a poster or a project for a class that would be showing if I attained the lessons purpose.
(b) What are the major limitations of the Tyler rationale/what does it make impossible?
Since I have an inclusive education minor, the first thing I thought about with the Tyler rationale was how it fits with students who have behavioral or cognitive needs such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). When it comes to education students that are affected by these disorders often have more needs than other students and therefore I feel that the Tyler rationale does not fit with these children. It may be adaptable to meet these children’s needs but it would probably have to be paired with another theory or rationale to ensure the success of the student.
(c) 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 quote from the reading that I really liked was from page 69, it says: “Modern education … has discovered the child, but it does not see him merely as a child. … It sees the man within the child as clearly as it sees the child. It sees its task as one of bringing into full and complete being this man within the child.” I found this quote really helped me understand the benefits of modern education and the Tyler rationale. Teachers need to remember that their actions are likely to impact their students in big ways. We need to be mindful that we are actually teaching these children to help them in the real world once they leave school and that they will be successful members of society. The Tyler rationale discusses a lot about educational experiences and students understanding the purpose of assignments. In a high school setting it is important to give your students experiences and assignments that can have some future relevance for them.
How does Kumashiro define ‘commonsense?’
Kumashiro defines common sense as something or things that everybody should know. Kumashiro also says that common sense in a traditional sense is presented as a way of being neutral. But being neutral can often perpetuate systems of oppression and privilege. Kumashiro talks about how the insistence that we use common sense is actually an insistence that we see things society has traditionally viewed things and that we should keep viewing things in a traditional way. This way of seeing things means that common sense does not mean the unbiased standard of society, but rather as a tool to keep the status quo.
Why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘commonsense’?
I think it is important that we pay attention to common sense because as society changes our understanding and ideas of what common sense are may change. Often when common sense is being used as a tool of oppression it is because the idea of common sense in this situation is that one group or another is seen as inferior. This creates a group mentality and beliefs that see this as true; a good example of this is segregation in the United States. The United States and even Canada saw African American people as an inferior people and should not receive the same rights as white people. It was commonly believed that African Americans were inferior that became common sense at the time. That is why it is important t that we as a society pay attention to common sense because if we do not then biased, racist and untrue ideas are assimilated into our way of thinking.
To me common sense means the ways in which you should behave and treat others. To me it should be common sense that you do not salute Adolf Hitler in a public park or ever in fact, but to some people that is just not common sense (https://regina.ctvnews.ca/man-sets-up-tent-in-wascana-park-gives-nazi-salute-to-protesters-1.4007473). I was always taught treat others how you would like to be treated. So when I am making decisions I always keep in mind the effect I am going to have on others and will it affect people in a negative way or positive way.