Monday, 4 November 2019

Ecs210 week 9

These are the prompts for this weeks blog post

     At the beginning of the reading, Leroy Little Bear (2000) states that colonialism "tries to maintain a singular social order by means of force and law, suppressing the diversity of human worldviews. ... Typically, this proposition creates oppression and discrimination" (p. 77). 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?
      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 of mathematics and the way we learn it.

     To start unpacking all this information, no. I never felt discriminated against in mathematics at any level. Even when I went from all French maths to all English maths, I understood that I needed to work harder to understand what was being taught to me. The only thing that really bothered me was I would get points taken off my homework and tests if I put the dollar sign after the number in a monetary sense (which is the French way to do it) however, I went to school in an English speaking area of Canada and needed to change my tune to get better grades. Overall, yes it was a challenge to me and I never got any accommodations to help me out. I worked hard and reaped the benefits. 
      When it comes to Inuit Mathematics teachings, they challenge our ideas of measurement (particularly when it comes to time) with what changes in nature around them. Their calendar depends entirely on nature, not on a numerical system set in place by others. They also just don't have the language for lots of words we use constantly in mathematics, as our language is made up of many different languages. It's pretty interesting to look over, and I can somewhat relate to the math language barrier, but clearly not on the same level. They also have a different sense of space, as they can read snowbanks and reorient themselves by smelling the air. It's all very interesting stuff, however I still cannot understand how our mathematics system is discriminatory against Inuit peoples.

Monday, 28 October 2019

Ecs210 week 8

These are the prompts for this particular blog post, my answers to both are below.
  1. 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?
  2. Which “single stories” were present in your own schooling? Whose truth mattered?

      Bias is definitely a tricky thing, well not all of us believe that we have a bias, that's just not true. I have many of my own personal biases, such as a bias for judeo-christian values, my generally conservative viewpoints, as well as other personal beliefs. I grew up going to a Catholic School which somewhat supported my biases growing up, as I come from a Christian family.
     For myself personally, despite going to a Catholic School my beliefs were constantly challenged and I was constantly told that I was wrong and that I needed to change what I believed from teachers to my peers. My politics were almost never welcomed growing up, or in high school as many people don't try to understand my "biases". It was not an enjoyable environment to grow in and I don't want to develop that environment for my students. While many people think Catholicism and Christianity are the same, they are not. And that caused a lot of issues for me in my early years.
      I always attempt to remain unbiased in a teaching environment, I think it's extremely important to do that so that children can develop their own identities and opinions. That's my overall classroom goal.
      When it comes to "single stories" my perspective on many things were shunned, and nobody bothered to try to understand anything I was bringing to the table. It was really toxic from all sides, luckily as I've grown older I've found better ways to introduce my values and I still always give the other person the ability to defend themselves and their position. However, religiously and politically motivated issues are all I can really speak on as that's all I remember from my early and later schooling. 

Monday, 21 October 2019

Ecs210 week 7

These are my personal responses to the prompts listed above both paragraphs, individually.

Part 1) According to the Levin article, how are school curricula developed and implemented? What new information/perspectives does this reading provide about the development and implementation of school curriculum? Is there anything that surprises you or maybe that concerns you?

     I found it extremely interesting how the article discusses the governmental issues that come with the government creating curriculum. I stated in the article the government doesn't always have the right to do whatever it wants to do it has to go through a lot of processes and there often isn't enough time to fully develop something that everybody can enjoy and benefit from. Although I already was aware of how the governmental system works surrounding curriculum, I still found it extremely important that it was involved in this article as not many people are aware of how it works and functions, which was also shockingly stated in the article. The article also discusses how much of what is passed depends entirely on the people in power and not necessarily their political alignment. A concern of mine is definitely the opposition, as people don't truly realize exactly what the opposition does in government their job as stated in the article is to oppose every little thing the government chooses to do. In some cases this can be very good but when it comes to curriculum I don't feel as though it can be extremely beneficial in many areas. For example, if someone were to try and pass something on treaty education, the opposition would need to oppose it. And if the opposition got the approval, that piece of curriculum would not be passed. With something as important as Treaty education, we would essentially be stunting our students, teachers and the Native population. Perhaps Canada should try and create a curriculum that doesn't involve too much governmental influence, however that would also come with its own slew of issues.
Part 2) After reading pages 1-4 of the Treaty Education document, what connections can you make between the article and the implementation of Treaty Education in Saskatchewan? What tension might you imagine were part of the development of the Treaty Education curriculum?

     After reading Pages 1 to 4 of the Treaty education document, I found that what students were to learn or develop an understanding of in all four areas of the curriculum we're extremely similar and extremely vague. I found it just gives teachers very loose stomping grounds to develop the ideas that the document requires. It doesn't give much information on how teacher should introduce these subjects, just that they should. I can definitely understand how there was lots of tension when creating this document, as there isn't much information going off of it. It just says generalize things such as "students will understand that Treaty relationships are based on a deep understanding of peoples’ identity which encompasses: languages, ceremonies, worldviews, and relationship to place and the land." Which are the first glance seems pretty detailed, however it leaves too much room for interpretation. I personally found that throughout the entire document.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Ecs210 week 6

Prompt 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?
Prompt 2: What does it mean for your understanding of curriculum that "We are all treaty people"?

In response to the first prompt, I find it important to teach these topics as it is literally Canadian history. While many people say "The victors write history" when it comes to Canada we have no "winners." People are still suffering from our history, and while it may not be the Canadians of today who are responsible, we must pass the messages through. 
      While it may seem like a joke to some, and nonsense to others, Native people are still here. They are still living on this land and they are still a part of Canada. Their stories, and versions, and history are just as important as the rest of the history we have. 
     When we treat Treaty education like a "pandering" of sorts, we are just hurting ourselves and others. I feel it's time to stop calling it "Treaty Education" and start calling it "Canada's full, uninterrupted history from all perspectives, and how many choices have impacted many Native peoples."
      I would also like to add, although there may be no "passing" Native students, there are still plenty with Native heritage. No student goes without being impacted by Treaty education and I feel it's extremely important just on that fact alone.

      As for the second prompt, for me "we are all Treaty People" means a few things, however the biggest one is how we all live on Treaty land. Just like we are to learn the Federal, and Provincial Laws of Canada, we must also learn of the "Laws" or promises of the Treaties near us. For me, it's more about being socially aware of what is going on around us. It's important to know about these promises our ancestors made, and how we can uphold them. It's our history, it's our promise, and it's our duty to make sure every student is aware of it through  a factual lense.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Ecs210 week 5

This weeks prompt was to: List some of the ways that you see reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the narrative. How might you adapt these ideas / consider place in your own subject areas and teaching?

Unfortunately I missed last weeks class due to weather (and my anxiety with ice and no winter tires) so I may not have understood it entirely however this is my personal understanding of it.

In the article we were to read for this week, it discusses a type of retreat for Native people to reconnect with their Native identities and culture. Two examples of "decolonization" I found were a reclaiming of some key cultural sites for Native people by doing a "mapping" of those places. They found "Names for places in the Inninowuk language [and they] were marked as an effort to bring the original names and Cree concepts to more common use among the youth" (76) they also wrote the words "The words paquataskamik and Kistachowan Sipi" (76) on a raft they took down the river which was the original name of the site. This is a very interesting activity that certainly means a lot to these people and seemed to help them reclaim what they had lost through colonization. They also discussed some areas they visited which were never given to settlers, and used this trip as a way to reconnect with their past and find another sense of their identity.

I see this as very interesting personally, however I don't see an issue with colonization as a whole and found it difficult to understand why so many people have a disconnect with themselves and their identity. When it comes to teaching about decolonization, I don't see a reason for it. We shouldn't be striving to decolonize Canada as we should be looking for more ways to all feel comfortable with what we have (as we are officially a "mosaic" of culture.)

When it comes to discussing these topics with students I don't want to use words like "Stolen" or "Decolonizing" or anything like that because it's not factual information. I know I need to discuss how Canada was colonized and the pros and cons of said actions however I want to do it through a factual lense and not use buzz words to make my students feel uncomfortable or shame for something they never did.

Something my class did in the past was go on nature walks and powwows to experience some Native culture and we had speakers come to discuss Colonization's pros and cons as well, and I personally feel as a Metis person this is the best way to go with these subjects. I also want to draw attetion to more "Indigenous ways of learning" and how we could implement those into the classroom. Making medicine wheels just doesn't cut it.

As stated above, I did miss last week so perhaps I didn't understand the prompts entirely but something about this topic and how it was most likely presented doesn't sit well with me. So hopefully my opinion and how I wish to discuss such topics is understandable based on my knowledge of the prompt without the lecture.

Monday, 30 September 2019

Ecs210 week 4

What does it mean to be a "good" student according to the commonsense? 
From my understanding of the reading, a “Good student” is one that does not question authority. They simply follow what is said, do not offer their opinions, and continue with their life like a little ball of “moldable clay” without any distinct shape or opinion to themselves. A “Good student” follows the grain, and in lack of a better term, the “Good student” is a sheep to educators to indoctrinate. However, that’s just my opinion. 
Which students are privileged by this definition of the good student? 
    The good kids that sit and listen patiently, participate in group discussion, hand all work to the best of their abilities and place themselves where they know they can succeed are the kids we all envision when we think of school. While those students very much so exists, they are also the students that thrive the most in school. Any students that suffer from a social anxiety would be less enthused with group discussion, or students who have their own opinions that don’t mirror the majority would definitely suffer in other subjects such as History or Social Studies. 
What is made impossible to see/understand/believe because of these commonsense ideas?
    In my experience, I’ve never been the “Good Student” and it’s always caused issues for me. I never applied myself, and never had any enthusiasm for things unless it shadowed my own interests. I know this is hard for teachers to understand, and they don’t want to believe their student is struggling with things everyone else was thriving in. It’s impossible to truly understand things you yourself are not struggling with and I think thats the main takeaway. Teachers and educators need to have more understanding for those not-so-rare cases, and not just label kids “problematic” because they don’t see the world you see.

Monday, 23 September 2019

Ecs210 week 2

What are the four models of curriculum described in the article, and what are the main benefits and/or drawbacks of each?

The four models to curriculum I found were
  • Curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted
  • Curriculum as a product
  • Curriculum as a process
  • Curriculum as a praxis

I personally found that curriculum as a syllabus to be transmitted to be the most common of the four simply because of the emphasis on vocal education. While it can definitely help knock out all the important bits in a class, not all students learn in a lecture setting and this area is very heavy in the one sided discussions that are lectures. “Basically it means a concise statement or table of the heads of a discourse, the contents of a treatise, the subjects of a series of lectures.” (Smith, 2) Something that should also be said or brought to light is that “A syllabus will not generally indicate the relative importance of its topics or the order in which they are to be studied.” (Smith, 2)
    Curriculum as a product is definitely not one of my favourites as it makes children out to be tiny robots you just need to program and let go. “Objectives are set, a plan drawn up, then applied, and the outcomes (products) measured.” (Smith, 3) I will however admit that it produces results. This was one of the more prominent areas of curriculum I faced in my early years at school.
     Curriculum as a process follows a similar dynamic as what I stated above, however I feel there’s more room for the individual rather than the hive. Though these differences are small, they are still slightly different. Smith states this best, “Another way of looking at curriculum theory and practice is via process. In this sense curriculum is not a physical thing, but rather the interaction of teachers, students and knowledge. In other words, curriculum is what actually happens in the classroom and what people do to prepare and evaluate.” (Smith, 4) However, this also falls into mandatory testing, which I personally despise, as I feel it doesn’t truly show anyone how much a student knows, it just how much they can regurgitate. I witness quite a bit of this in my elementary school years as well.
    Finally we have curriculum as a praxis. This one is definitely my favourite as it does focus on the individual, not the collective “While the process model is driven by general principles and places an emphasis on judgment and meaning making, it does not make explicit statements about the interests it serves.” (Smith, 11) However, this could lead to some kids being put on hold. It forces action and not all people may be okay with that. I never really experienced this as a child.