How has your upbringing/schooling shaped how you you “read the world?” What biases and lenses do you bring to the classroom? How might we unlearn / work against these biases?
I have always been somewhat of a book nerd, talking to the school librarian about her newest book and recommendations that she has for me to read next, and finding my own series and reading it from the first page to the last page of the last book. My mom was always reading so it is something I fell in love with at a young age and even today when I am not too bust reading text books you will usually see me reading some form of book. How I read the world, I guess as a young child to now I usually read like sad stories about people that are somewhat realistic. In elementary and high school I would read war books, settling books, books about people struggling.
Biases that when thinking hard I am aware of, but definitely not proud of are:
People from other times, countries, and races are sad, not in the fact that their life is sad but they have bad things happen to them. That maybe they deserve pity because of their misfortunes.
I bring to the classroom through reading, is that people who are white have relatively good lives, and if they don’t it is usually their own fault.
I think in many ways I have began to work against these biases (and I am sure I have a lot more and just aren’t thinking of them) is becoming educated. I believe who I am has a person as improved the more educated I have become.
B. Which “single stories” were present in your own schooling? Whose truth mattered?
Through school I only remember reading about middle – upper class white people, they were the utmost importance. White people mattered and always have mattered over everybody else… (what bologna)
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?
For many I feel like you either love math or hate math and there isn’t really an in-between, honestly before coming to University I hated math and was pretty sure that I was going to fail university math! However, that was not the case, it wasn’t the case because I had a teacher that was willing to work with the class, who answered all questions before moving on and who worked through the textbook at the class’s speed and not the teacher’s. Math through high-school was always worked through at the teacher’s pace or the math genius pace, never at the pace of the typical child. Also, my university teacher gave me marks wherever he could, as I was working through the equation and for the answer, where my other teachers always expected it to be done there way with the right answer. In high-school I was told not to waste the teacher’s time and my own by taking calculus because I wasn’t “smart” enough – even though I liked math, I loved working through the questions and when I finally got it and that light bulb went off, it was the best feeling ever, but no I was told not to take it. So, registering for math in university with those haunting words “you’re not smart enough” I was stressed and on the verge of an emotional mental break down and guess what…. I passed the class with flying colors and it was the class I have done the best in – so who was not “smart” enough?
I think so many teachers have the expectation that if they throw a bunch of math up on the board explain it then the students will pick it up and you can move on, but for so many math is a process that takes time.
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.
I think the most important thing that stood out to myself, was that they never called on a student who didn’t know the answer. I think having children explain the question to their peers sometimes is the best teacher. Putting students on the spot however is not an ideal situation for anyone.
Another thing that stood out, which doesn’t challenge Eurocentric ideas but it just puts more focus on the struggle that so many systems face. Is the fact that even though you can find a student’s strength, you still don’t focus on it. I think finding every students potential and the scaffolding off of it is beneficial for their learning!
The last thing that stood out to myself was the amount of materials they used to teach math – it wasn’t just a white board, pen, and paper it was materials and hands on learning.
I strongly believe that teaching treaty education is important for all people who are living in Canada, and the United States, in the regions when Indigenous peoples were forced to assimilate, where their culture and language were stripped from their very hands. I think the history of Indigenous people is a very crucial part of history that has shaped Canada to be the way that it is today and teaching about this history gives people an understanding and eye opener when it comes to our not so perfect history. I think regardless of who your students are as long as they are living on treaty land they should be learning the history about Treaty Ed or Indigenous history.
Similarly as being all Canadians, we are all treaty people, we reside and thrive on the treaty lands that we somewhat received through misconceptions with Indigenous people. Those misconceptions are Europeans created the treaties to be a contract to share the land and resources with Indigenous people and the Indigenous people believed that by signing the treaties they were gaining new relationships and new family with the Europeans. So, as long as we live on the land I believe that we should thank the Indigenous people that we took it from and work on re-conciliating our relationships with Indigenous people.
I was able to hear Dwayne Donald speak at the University last week and felt like his teaching style was a beautiful way to approach treaty education – to teach about the land through being on the land. Teaching about the land surrounding your school some way, some how it is going to turn into treaty education because of the history that it embedded in our soil, in our land. I also found it very interesting when Claire was sharing with us that her back wall in her classroom is covered with the curriculum documents and that she crosses out each outcome that she reaches – this is a great idea to avoid confrontation, as long as you can show that you are following curriculum then you have something backing you up.
Now in response to the letter:
I would maybe take a step back and start from the beginning – to teach about the history of Indigenous people and our land and how we established this land through the misconceptions and lies that were told. These students are obviously unaware of the history or have not been properly taught about Indigenous history in the past. I also would try to educate the COOP surrounding the importance of Treaty Education, attempt building a personal learning network on Twitter to talk and share the struggles that you have surrounding Treaty Education and as Claire said follow #100daysofcree.
- When they are working together to establish a relationship and understanding of their land and culture
- Learning through living in the area in which they are studying
- Studying the land through living on the land rather then just learning about it through books
- Listening to the information that the elders offered
- Using their language and establishing words again through language loss
I think through studying who you are and where you are is best done through living experiences, through talking and through indigenous ways of knowing. Not by sitting in a classroom and reading books and articles but by going out and being in the environment and that place, and providing opportunities to experience these places and who each person is. I think too acknowledging every aspect of the place, and what you see and hear while being in that place is a great way to learn about what it has to offer. I also think having people who have the knowledge to teach my students in a calm and inviting way is more beneficial then me standing up at the front and telling them all the information that I have on a specific place or topic.
I honestly have been thinking long and hard and I am not quite sure what types of citizenship education I received… maybe none? I don’t ever remember doing food drives or donations within my school and definitely don’t remember EVER talking about the struggles that so many other people faced. I guess my best bet to get to the bottom of my citizenship education is to potentially break it down by each type I read about.
The personally responsible citizen:
- I mean as many schools, my school had laws and rules and if we didn’t follow them we got detention, suspension or expulsion. Also, when bad things happened we were always guaranteed to have an assembly with the police ESPECIALLY around Halloween.
- We did the annual garbage pick up around town – basically we walked around town and picked up the odd piece of garbage but mainly did it for the fresh air and not having to do school work.
- We learnt about recycling and had to recycle but that’s where it ended nothing happened we it.
- We were definitely expected to be the best person that we could be and had to follow the “golden rule” which was of course posted in every classroom!
The participatory citizen/The justice oriented citizen.:
- Nothing really for this one we really didn’t go above and beyond the call of duty on being a good person – we weren’t encouraged to be amazing. We did the bare minimum and that’s about all…
Maybe it’s because reading week is around the corner, or maybe it’s because I am just drawing a blank, OR maybe just maybe it had nothing to do with curriculum. I feel like everything about being a good person had to do with the hidden curriculum and wasn’t necessarily something my teachers had to do. I honestly don’t really know what to say to ” Explore what this approach to the curriculum made (im)possible in regards to citizenship” maybe you can help me out, get my brain going for one last thing before reading week where I will be sleeping A LOT and doing some homework.
Before reading the article I thought that curriculum was based off of policies that were put into place through the Saskatchewan Teacher Federation, building off of prior years to plan for higher years. I believed it was scaffolded off of what was required each year to lay out what needed to be taught.
The reading explained how curricula is developed through government and academic scholars who lay out the importance of subjects and content. It concerns me that non-educators have an influence and impact on the curriculum that teachers teach their students. I think it is important that the top six scholars don’t have the final say on curriculum and having non-educated people probably level out the votes and content of the curriculum. I also feel like it is very important for specific areas to outline the curriculum that is taught and influence the region.
- This was very interesting in the aspects of how curriculum is actually built and influences.
What does it mean to be a “good” student according to the commonsense?
- sitting and behaving
- listening and following the rules
- doing EXACTLY what the instructions say
- Not being your own person
- Learning and absorbing all of the knowledge the teacher throws at you
Which students are privileged by this definition of the good student?
- the academic scholar
- the successful student with no disabilities or delays
- the student who is good at notes and good at absorbing knowledge quickly
What is made impossible to see/understand/believe because of these commonsense ideas?
- It is impossible to see every child’s full potential
- It is hard to understand what the child does actually know
- It is difficult to believe that every child can be successful
“Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ” – Paulo Freire.
This is a quote that I have been talking about and thinking about often within my pursue to getting my degree… Sometimes not saying anything is saying everything to the person that is powerless. In conversations within seminar and other classes we have talked about teachers not sticking up for students and letting the bullying happen and that’s not ok! As an inspiring teacher it is not just our job to teach our students subjects we need to teach them, help them, and guide them. I think it is heartbreaking to hear some of the stories of students struggles when teachers hear but don’t help, you could make the world of difference for one student!
This quote related to the hidden curriculum, not everything you teach is laid out within the curriculum but teaching them important life lessons is equally important. In too many children’s lives school is their safe place, so we need to be respectful of this.
The ways in which you may have experience the Tyler rationale in your own schooling?
The Tyler rationale was throughout many areas of my education, where teachers were more concerned about what they were teaching or telling their students then what they were actually understanding. As a child who struggled through most of her education as “being lost in the system” I have honestly said that none of my teachers really paid attention to how I learnt and only truly cared about what I learnt. Although I learned many coping methods and my mom assisted me throughout all of my schooling I made it through the test after test after test, but barely.
Another way that the rationale was used in our schools was those tests that the whole school division did to see what you learnt in specific classes and they didn’t even care what child knew what they only truly cared about what school learnt what. Like for instance we did one for math where this brown envelope was delivered and we didn’t even have to put our names on it, and we all did the test and it went back into the envelope marked “Whitewood School” and was sent to division to see what exactly we knew.
What are the major limitations of the Tyler rationale/what does it make impossible?
I think the limitations of the Tyler rationale is that many students will learning delays or disabilities it doesn’t take into consideration their needs to succeed, or students who struggle don’t have the supports that they need to learn best. Many students unfortunately don’t have a parent that will help them through their schooling (I believe it is even less now a days), so only focussing on the end results doesn’t help many students. This rationale isn’t stopping the trend of kids struggling through school until they eventually drop out, it’s not helping the teen that just moved to Canada who doesn’t know English, the times are changing and I think the school systems need to make changes as well.
What are some potential benefits/what is made possible?
I’m sure there are potential benefits to this rationale, seeing as it has been around for awhile however it doesn’t benefit enough students. I guess this rationale show’s exactly who knows what when teaching a specific way and it is an easy way for teachers to teach one way to 30 kids it’s just not practical especially in today’s society.