Crazy to think it is February already and we are almost half way done the semester. This semester is the beginning of the end in a way. After this semester, I only have 1 spring class and my internship before I am officially a teacher. This is also the semester of big changes and new exciting things. I have been placed at Vanier Collegiate in Moose Jaw for my pre-internship with my peer Steen. We are excited to hear about what we will be teaching and actually get in there and teach. Heres to new and exciting things.
After a great semester it was awesome to wrap up the semester in our digital story!
Thanks Katia, Mike and of course our peers!
Briana and Drew
- 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?
- Which “single stories” were present in your own schooling? Whose truth mattered?
I went to most of my schooling in Regina. I transferred to Yorkton for grades 10 to 12, but the majority of my schooling was done in the city. I think that has greatly affected how I view the world. I am not someone who has a lot of knowledge of farm life, animals or what life outside of the city is like. I know that the “city girl” lense is one that I bring with me everyday. In school I learned in a very traditional environment, so that is something that comes back to me while I am planning and thinking of education. (We also did a lot of journals, so I always want to use journals in my lessons) This is something that I am realizing affects me and that this is present in my life. As I realize this, I think it is best to challenge myself to step outside of what I already know and try something new. This can help me to unlearn some of what I learn and challenge things that might not be as correct as I thought. One specific “story” that I was told was that Canada was AMAZING! Canadians were the nicest people, we did no wrong and only wanted to help others. As I have been in University, I have realized that it is not exactly true. We have made mistakes and did some bad things on our own land. Working towards understanding this helps me unlearn and think in a new way. I think the more we realize the biases and lenses in our own lives we can work to understand it even better and work towards a more truthful idea.
Please respond to the following in a blog post: 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.
This article has been brought up in multiple of my classes this semester, so it has given me a chance to really think about how this applies to my learning and what a “good” citizen is. The idea of creating good citizens is something that is something that we are supposed to do as teachers, or led to believe we are supposed to, but is not told a definition of what a “good” citizen is.
When I was in K-12, the type of citizen that my teachers were trying to create were participatory students. We were not pushed to do great social justice work or go out of our way to do anything amazing, but they wanted us to participate in our society. Teachers would have us donate to the food bank, thus just taking food that our parents bought not us, or volunteer for 10 hours in our community. Never were we pushed farther. But we were made to believe that we were doing what was right and doing our part in the community. The article states that “educational programs designed to support the development of participatory citizens focus on teaching students about how government and community based organizations work and about the importance of planning and participating in organized efforts to care for those in need” (p. 4). This is exactly what my teachers were aiming for with their creation of “good” citizens. Sometimes there would be a hint of personally responsible citizen creation, but for the most part, my educators were just concerned about creating students who were part of the society that we lived in.
The idea of creating “good” citizens is often heavily explored when talking about social studies education. As that is my major, I have had some great conversations about this and how it fits into the curriculum. The curriculum documents can be analyzed to show what kind of citizens the document is aiming for. This is not solely on the teacher. The curriculum documents have a clear type of citizen that they are aiming for depending on the section, grade and unit. In regards to the social studies curriculum for grades 10-12, the curriculum states that teachers may teach “some, all or none” of the curriculum. So this makes it possible for teachers to aim higher on creating students who do more, but often will lead teachers to do less. This approach to curriculum creates problems in who is deciding what kind of citizen should be focused on and then also what constitutes a “good” citizen.
Overall I have plenty to say on this topic because it is my major and something that I am passionate about, but I think that there is a lot to explore when thinking about the creation of “good” citizens and what we are teaching in schools today.
When I was in school, the one phrase that I heard most in math class was “that’s not the way you are supposed to do it. Do it the way I taught you”. I had very good grades throughout school and I was good at listening to my teachers, but math was the one subject that I got the most push back in. I had the right answers, but did not have the “right” process. My teachers wanted me to do math the way that they were teaching, not the way that made the most sense to me. This caused a lot of frustration on both ends until usually my teacher gave up and just told me to at least show my work if I wasn’t going to do it their way. This frustration though was the thing that drove me away from math the most. I used to love math but being frustrated is something that I couldn’t handle and it eventually led me down a path that completely strayed from math. Now I have accepted it and I’m happy with where my path has led, but it was super upsetting at the time that math had gone from something that I enjoyed to something so upsetting. This felt slightly oppressive at the time but now as an educator I get it. I understand why they were trying to get me to do it that way.
Poirier’s article was super interesting and I had no idea about the way that Inuit peoples did math and how it differed from our ways of knowing. It truly gave me a new outlook on the ideas of math that have been so deeply ingrained in me.
- Instead of seasons, they talk about the things happening around them. Such as when they hunt animals, when to walk on the ice, or when flowers are blooming
- They would use parts of their body to measure when they needed to make clothes.
- Using base 20 instead of base 10.
These are just three ways that the Inuit ways of knowing vary from eurocentric ways of knowing and allow for a interesting and new understanding. If these were introduced in a eurocentric society my guess is that people would be very confused and possibly even upset that this is what was brought up. I think that is a very interesting idea.
I guess what I am left still wondering is what would happen if these ways of knowing and these ideas about math were brought into Canadian society and how people would react.
- 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?
- What does it mean for your understanding of curriculum that “We are all treaty people”?
- Spend at least one paragraph making some connections to TreatyEdCamp – What did you hear/see there that might help you to enact treaty education in your future classroom?
I think that the purpose of teaching Treaty Ed and/or First Nations, Metis, and Inuit content and perspectives even if there are no or few First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples is because of the history between Canada and these peoples and also because these peoples are still living in Canada today. While I have been in school and around people in my life, often I have heard the phrase “Why do we need to know this? It happened so long ago, they get their money so can’t they just be happy?” This is really something that makes me upset. Many people love learning about the wars and other facts of history, but do not care about the history of the people in our own country. The Indigenous peoples of our country have a large history and it is important to recognize that history and learn about it so we aren’t ignorant. I have been in classes where there was no indigenous peoples in my class and I think that at that point, it is even more important to be learning Treaty Ed and learning about these peoples. Some communities that have no or few Indigenous peoples can be very ignorant to the Indigenous peoples. Whether or not this is their fault varies. Some communities do not have any Indigenous peoples so they are not exposed to that group and their knowledge. Some people are just outright rude and choose to be ignorant about the Indigenous peoples because they believe that they should not have not learn it or it doesn’t matter to them. So I believe that even if there are no or few Indigenous students or peoples in the community that it is very important to be teaching Treaty Ed. I lived in the city my whole life and thought that I knew a lot about the Indigenous peoples and Treaty Ed, but once at the university, I learned that I didn’t actually know as much as I thought. There is always more that you can learn. Conferences such as Treaty Ed can really help teachers realize why it is important to teach these ideas and also gives them more ideas about how to teach Treaty Ed.
In the last year, I have been introduced to the phrase “We are all Treaty People” and I have been grappling with this phrase specifically. When I first heard it, I was very on board and my first response was “YEAH!!! We ARE all Treaty People” but once I have been talking to some Indigenous and Metis peoples my ideas concerning this have shifted slightly. Since the treaties were a commitment and agreement between the First Nations peoples and the government, the Metis people were not included in the treaties. This is something that I didn’t actually realize for a while and I am glad to have realized that before I am in the classroom. Although I am grappling with the idea of us all being treaty people, I do believe that I am a treaty person. I think that because I believe that I am a treaty person, it is even more important to be teaching Treaty Ed. I think that in terms of curriculum, it means that I can relate and understand even more to these idea about Treaty Ed. I learned a lot at Treaty Ed Camp and I know that I will be able to bring that into my classroom in the future.
I found that Treaty Ed Camp was a great experience and I really enjoyed getting to go. I learned a lot from getting to volunteer as well as attending. The ideas that I gained from the camp was fantastic. I found that volunteering really allowed me to see all of the teachers and pre-service teachers that cared about Treaty Ed a lot and how they are really interested in teaching young people. I got to have a lot of really great conversations with people who were presenting and why they chose to present as I was checking them in. I also got a chance to talk with a few in classroom teachers who came. These were awesome conversations and I learned a lot from them. They are very knowledgeable and cared a lot, which was encouraging. I also got to see Keith, which was AWESOME!! I came away from the day with a lot of great information to bring into my classroom and great people that I connected with, all while having a good time. I hope that I can come back for Treaty Ed Camp in the future and also volunteer so that I can make even more connections and learn even more because Treaty Ed is very important to me.
The article suggests that a “critical pedagogy of place” aims to:
(a) identify, recover, and create material spaces and places that teach us how to live well in our total environments (reinhabitation); and (b) identify and change ways of thinking that injure and exploit other people and places (decolonization) (p.74)
- List some of the ways that you see reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the narrative.
- How might you adapt these ideas to considering place in your own subject areas and teaching?
Some of the ways that this article is speaking to the ideas of reinhabitation and decolonization are:
Learning the language and culture.
Having skill building workshops
By working with the youth they are able to have a more realistic narrative and work with the students to learn from them
As well as many other ways that they are working towards decolonization.
I think that decolonization is something that is talked about a lot in my classes because I am a social studies major. This is something that I think is important and that I am striving towards. I want to continue to learn more so I can be a more understanding educator and so I can do my part towards the truth and reconciliation. These ideas I think are great. I have a great yearning to learn more so I want to do whatever I can to learn and educate myself so I can educate others. I know that I can adapt my ideas and the ideas given to me to help create a better narrative in my classrooms and work towards being an teacher that strives for decolonization ideas to be present in my classroom.
I believe that curriculum is developed by having a group of people from the government, teachers, specialists and other people who are invited to the renewal or development come together and work to create curriculum ideas. There is many meetings and discussions around what should be included and how. Then, once the ideas have been narrowed down, they send the information to curriculum writers to develop the formal curriculum documents. After the documents are created, it goes to pilot teachers who try it out and give feedback on how it worked or didn’t work. This may happen a few times before the curriculum is made public and mandated.
There is a great deal of politics involved in the creation of curriculum. Government platforms can be affected by what the public wants and that can also affect that curriculum that comes from those platforms. If the policies are not implemented as the public wants, there can be problems with the next election. The influence of government is quite great in curriculum development and therefore, because the public can influence the government, they therefore can influence curriculum to a point. There is also a lot of behind the scenes people that are influencing curriculum without most people realizing that they are. The creation of curriculum is very intertwined with the government and many other people that are changing and influencing curriculum either publicly or privately.
This reading provided me with a lot of new knowledge about the policy side of curriculum development. I knew the government was involved in the creation of curriculum before, but never realized just how much impact they really were. I also never really knew about how the public and non government people could affect the government people in the creation of curriculum. The policy side of curriculum was a very eye opening reading. Although it slightly surprised me to begin with, the more I thought about it, the more this reading made sense. The government influence makes sense to me and although I think it is maybe slightly concerning that they have such a impact, I think it makes sense.
The idea of the good student can have multiple different contexts depending on where the student is and what the commonsense in that area is. In the commonsense here in Saskatchewan, to be a good student would be a quiet student who sat in their desk and worked at their work diligently. The good student would not struggle with focus or working on their assignments. The good student would then get good grades and would “easy” students for the teachers to educate. This means that the student would not cause any problems for the teacher in their classroom.
This idea of the “good” student really privileges the student who does not have any problems going on at home and the students who don’t have any problems such as ADD or ADHD. Students who have problems at home and are escaping to school sometimes will bring their problems into the classroom with them. These problems that they bring in can sometimes have affect in their own learning and can cause them to be disruptive in class that can cause problems for the rest of the students in the classrooms. That can be a struggle for those students because they might just be trying to express themselves. Some students who have problems at home do not even come to school regularly because they have to stay home for various reasons. Not only does the commonsense idea not privilege these students but students who are struggling with ADD or ADHD and students on the autism spectrum are just some of the children that are not privileged by this idea. I struggle with this idea because if this was true, I would not be considered a “good” student because of my own challenges. But some of these students are actually very smart and do well in school. But what the commonsense idea would say is that these students would not be good students but instead the students who are considered “normal” and are good listeners would be considered “good” students.
If these ideas of commonsense are put into place and we as future teachers and the teachers working today believe that these ideas are true, then we are discrediting a lot of students. Many students might struggle with focusing, but are very bright and eager to learn. Some students might be on the spectrum, but they care about their education and want to get as much information as possible. Some students who sit quietly in their desk might actually be completely zoned out and not getting anything from the lesson that the teacher is learning. If we use the commonsense idea of what a “good” student is, then we could be discrediting students who really do care or privileging students who are not truly caring or soaking up the information.
I have been diagnosed as an adult with ADHD and struggle with focusing and not fidgeting. Yet, while I was in school, I was a great student. I worked hard and got all my work done, usually early. I was well liked by my teachers because I would finish my work and then help other students. I talked a lot, but I got my work done so my teachers did not usually care. If I had been diagnosed as a child and my teachers found out, I worry that I would have been pushed aside and that my teachers would have expected less of me. I work as a swimming lesson instructor and work with many children who have ADD, ADHD and some students on the spectrum and I learned very quickly that just because a student may struggle with something does not mean that we should discredit them or expect less. I think that although we, as educators, might have an idea of what a “good” student is, we need to challenge those ideas and work towards treating all students with love and respect to help them succeed in whatever way we can.
“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all” -Aristotle
This quote is one that was told to me shortly after I decided to go into education. Most of my high school years, I believed that I was going to either be a mortician and embalmer (dealing with dead bodies) or I was going to become a OBGYN (delivering babies and dealing with women’s bodies). They are two very different things, but things that I had always considered to be what I thought would fit me best. Then I turned 16 and had a bunch of big changes come all at once. I started working at a summer camp and also became a lifeguard and swimming instructor. It was during that summer that I found my passion for working with children and decided I wanted to be a teacher. This quote was then told to me after I told someone close to me about my decision to switch my path in life and it has stuck with me ever since.
Education is now one of my biggest passions and is something that I truly love. I think that every student should have the chance to an education, but I also think that when thinking about education, we need to be working to educate the whole person. There are a few teachers who stick out to me when I think about who really made an impact in my life. Those teachers are all educators who wanted me to be the best that I could be and worked to have me grow not only in my academics, but challenged me to grow in my personal life and heart as well. I think that this is why I chose education and why I believe that if we as educators choose to educate on only the curriculum or “The 3 R’s”, then we will not have a society of caring individuals and good citizens.
For me, this quote makes the idea of making an impact possible. The hidden curriculum is something that has always fascinated me and I sometimes struggled to know if I was thinking about it in the right way. The more I am learning in my years at the university, the more I am realizing that the things we want to be educating our students on that would be considered in the hidden curriculum are the things that are more about the person and not the subject. Part of my educational philosophy (so far) states:
I believe that each student is unique in their own way which provides a need for adaptive educators who are willing to work with and care for each student in an individual way.
I think that because of the uniqueness of each student and the adaptations that we should be showing to our students, it is in those moments showing them love and respect, that the hidden curriculum will be taught. But I also think that when we are adapting for our students and showing them love and respect, that they will learn better and want to learn more. Which then opens up the possibility for even greater learning. I wrote a 16 page final on fullscap paper for one of my favourite teachers, but yet struggled to write 2 for teachers who I didn’t connect with.
I think that this quote also makes it possible for me to think about how I am treating my students. I teach swimming lessons and even if a student is testing my patience, I try to treat them with love and respect because I know that they will learn better that way. I think that in the classroom it is the same. Working with your students and educating their hearts as well as their minds allows for a greater experience for the teacher and the student because they can connect and learn together. I am still learning lots from my students and I cannot wait to be a lifelong learner in my classroom by connecting and learning with my students and hopefully encouraging them to be lifelong learners as well, by not only educating them on the curriculum and educating their mind, but also their heart.
Edit: Relating this to what we have been talking about, I think that this idea has the most to do with the idea of progressiveness. The idea of integrating thinking, feeling, and doing relates to the idea of this quote. I think it also relates to the idea that education is the experience, not preparation for future experience, which is a progressiveness idea.