Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. ~Mahatma Gandhi

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ECS 210

Reading Response 10:

  1. 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?
  2. Which “single stories” were present in your own schooling? Whose truth mattered?

Growing up in a small town has got to be one of the biggest setbacks I have faced in university thus far. Because I grew up in such a small community and saw the exact same routine every day for over thirteen years, I know I definitely have biases and lenses that I bring to the table. I never saw diversity which also meant I never learned about it. My schooling barely touched on treaty education, so I have a European lens. My family upbringing has also shaped how I view the world because my family instilled values, virtues, and morals into me that I now carry out into my daily life. I learned the common westernized views, which of course shaped the lenses I look through. I bring the bias of being a Canadian citizen as I was born and raised in Saskatchewan as well as my parents. Therefore, I grew up with Canadian values and traditions. Although I have theses biases and lenses I by no means try to hurt or harm anyone in anyway. I now know that it is my responsibility to step up and learn from other cultures and through diverse lenses. Everyone is different and we have to respect and accept that. I need to realize that because people are different and unique so might their learning styles be. I cannot assume that my future students would want to or even be able to understand the way I like to learn. I need to get to know my students and work with them.

            The single stories that I experience in school came from the white majority. My school focused largely on studying western literature. This literature obtained to our lives which was easy and made it seem as more important. The only time we studied other literature of diverse cultures often included stereotypes and false information that we would then place on all individuals of that culture as the same. For example, if we ever discussed Indigenous culture, we heard about how they lived in teepees, ate buffalo meat, and lived off the land. Those three things were the main stories I remember hearing throughout my schooling. To think of it now, I was so ignorant to believe these stories I was being told.

ECS 210

Reading Response 9:

When I think back to mathematics, I was taught growing up, I do not remember any diversity in the way we learned. Other cultures ways of knowing or doing was never brought into the way we were taught. From kindergarten to grade three we worked on worksheets and little workbooks and grade four to twelve we had textbooks. I cannot remember our math textbooks having any signs of diversity in anything other than the standard Saskatchewan textbook way of learning. We say that math is universal however, mathematics is culturally biased, and it is never admitted.

            There are several ways to think about and solve mathematical questions. I remember doing workbook questions and coming out with the right answer, but the progress of getting the answer was wrong. My teachers would disagree with my way of figuring out a question and say I was not doing math the ‘right way’. Now to think of it, even my first year in university I took a math class (math 101) and on the weekly quizzes, we got marks for doing the ‘right’ progress on the questions and then marks for if the answer was right or wrong. This always confused me, because I was told that there are several ways to problem solve, however my teachers contradicted themselves by not allowing a diversity of progress.

            Growing up, I believed I was a mathematical person, until high school when the work became stricter and a lot harder. I then doubted myself and thought that I was not a math person and that I would probably never be one again. However, we are all mathematical people, as Gale pointed out in todays lecture “evidence proves that we think mathematically before we think linguistically.” That really surprised me and somehow gave me a new hope that I, along with many others are math people. Not only because evidence proves it, but also because “Mathematics is in everything, and everything is in mathematics” (Gale, PowerPoint). We are surrounded by math in our daily lives, that we do not even think twice about. Math is incorporated when we are watching Netflix but need to be studying and decide to keep watching because we only have a third of the show left. Math is incorporated when we finally do start to study and have a thirty-page article to read thinking ‘if I read 5 pages, that’s only 5 pages 6 times. Math is even incorporated in the commercials we watch, an example would be advertising that their product lasts 4x longer than others, or their food lowers cholesterol 2x longer. We are constantly doing and saying things that involve math and we do not even know it, it just happens.

           Inuit worldviews are different than Eurocentric worldviews, even mathematically. The first way in which I noticed the Inuit view of mathematics was different was that they follow a base-20 numeral system whereas Eurocentric follow a base-10 numeral system. I did not even know that it was possible to count in different base units until my first year of university where I learned that we count in a base-10 numeral system. I was actually shocked to learn that other cultures or places in this world counted different, that is how sheltered and ignorant I was of diversity in mathematics. Gale mentioned in lecture that Inuit follow the base-20 system as they have 10 fingers and 10 toes. Another point I noticed when reading through the article was the way they represented numbers. Counting is done in a completely different way than Eurocentric. They represent numbers orally, there are not symbols that are used. Each number has a different meaning, context dependent, as their tradition and culture are oral focused. The next point that caught my eye was the way Inuit measure. They Measure by using parts of their body such as hands, arms and feet to figure out measurements.

ECS 210

Reading Response 8:

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.

Thinking back to school, I do remember some citizenship education. For the personally responsible citizen (This person or set of people act in ways that show responsibility in the community), I remember in the younger years I we always had a reward system in place for people who did good to other people or did something helpful throughout the school. For example, the class with the most golden stars got a pizza party, or the student with the most golden stars got a prize of some sort. As well I remember that once a year every year the whole school would go out into the community and do a town garbage clean up.  We also had food drives every year. As well, in grade 10-12 we had to collect around twenty hours of volunteer work for physical education, which I think was a very important aspect to citizenship education as if it was not required most students would not have participated in volunteer hours. I believe that this type of citizenship is what most schools enforce as it reflects on helping out and this is what most of the students would partake in. I believe that the students would hear from their teachers to be a good community member and participate in activities such as listed above. Because of this I believe it helped create contributing members of society to be respectful and helpful beings.

            The second type of citizen talked about was the participatory citizen. This differs from responsible citizen as these citizens are the ones who actively participate in community activities whereas personally responsible citizens would just help out. Participatory citizens organize and take part in events, not solely volunteer at the event. I believe I was involved in this kind of citizenship as I was in many organizations (S.R.C, S.C.C, etc). Being involved in these groups meant I was involved in events such as community fundraisers. I spent time planning, setting up, volunteering, and taking down most of the events. I personally put in a lot of work into creating and implementing these events. This type of citizenship also allows for more engagement among the community as individuals work collaboratively with each other. However, I do not believe this type was taught much in school, only taught to those who were willing to be in organizations that allowed such type of learning.

            The third type of citizenship, justice-oriented. This type I imagine was the least likely to be taught throughout schooling. There were always rules in place in school; for the whole school, and then just classroom rules. I think the only time it was being taught was when we were taught to feel terrible for wrong doing and to stand up and say something when someone else was doing wrong. To teach this type of citizenship you would need to allow them to search about system and why they are as they are. Students would also need to learn about collaborative thinking to address social problems. I do not remember a time when I was taught about this throughout schooling.

ECS 210

Reading Response 7:

Teaching Treaty education is very important. This is a topic that is never going to go away, this is only going to come more important. The time that we spend thinking about this topic is time well spent. I now know this as I grew up in a school community, where I was surrounded by little to no Indigenous students. Because of this, I believe that Indigenous and Treaty education was always discussed from an outsider’s point of view. I believe that this has affected the way I view Indigenous education, and how little knowledge I truly have in this subject area. Because of this I also came into university with very little knowledge of indigenous culture and history. Because, the little information that I was taught, was taught by someone who was white, I believe that it is extremely important that students learn Treaty Ed at a young age before they learn misinformation, as I believe that I was taught misinformation. Learning distortions of history contributes to inequality and prejudice towards indigenous peoples from society. Teaching First Nations, Metis, and Inuit content and perspective is to ensure that we teach the history of Canada from a non-Eurocentric perspective to all students. As it is important to learn about our history, I think it is also important to acknowledge the early atrocities that were committed against Indigenous Peoples. All in all, Treaty education is important for every child not only important for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples.

            We are all treaty people. One important aspect that I believe many people forget or ignore is the fact that it was not only the Indigenous Peoples who signed the treaties. It was two separate parties (European settlers and Fist Nations) that signed the treaties, and both parties must honour the agreements, we should be equal in society and should have equal chance for resources. However, it astonishes me that the treaties were written in English and the first nations could not even read it fluently. As well, yes there were translators, but how well did they translate the agreements, what parts were left out or just grazed over. The Indigenous peoples hardly even knew what they were agreeing to. We should respect the people of the land, and all the knowledge they have to offer us. We cannot solely focus on the negative when we teach treaty education, yes, we need to tell the truth of history, we need the truth, but it is time now that we need reconciliation. We need to reconcile as Canadians with indigenous peoples and the land. All of us live on treaty land.

ECS 210

Reading Response 6:

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)

1. List some of the ways that you see reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the narrative.

2. How might you adapt these ideas towards considering place in your own subject areas and teaching?

Reinbahitation and decolonization was seen throughout the reading “Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing” through the elders and the youth.  A radio documentary was made by Cree youth that is called “The Kistachowan River Knows My Name” through interviewing elders. The elders liked to be interviewed as it allowed them to feel that their stories wanted to be heard. This radio documentary also made the community members excited about the spiritual, cultural, economic, and social value of the river. As the youth, elders, and community members went on a trip down the river many insights were shared. Elders shared knowledge with the youth about the benefits of the river. As well throughout the trip the language Cree was spoken, they even marked different places along the river in Cree. Decolonization is happening by educating the minds of the participants and changing their way of thinking.

            To help incorporate this into my classroom, firstly, I need to understand that I am partially responsible as an educator to make sure I am teaching in a way that contributes to decolonization and reinhabitation. I would allow the opportunity to incorporate indigenous ways of knowing. I would also take the opportunity to use the land as a teacher, going outside is simple, but very effective. Learn from the land.  As well bringing in elders, to story tell/ educate my students would be a key aspect.

“Strive for

Progress,

not

Perfection”

~David Perlmutter

ECS 210

Reading Response 5:

Before you do the reading ask yourself the following question: how do you think that school curricula are developed?

What a question! I have never thoroughly thought of it before. Every time I am in a class or lecture, I hear people voicing their opinion about how the school curricula is developed; one example I heard was a bunch of old, high-class, white men, which I thought could not be far off, however I have never researched it. My best guess would be that, first of all, curriculums for schools are different in each province. But province to province I feel like the government comes together and makes decisions as to what is “important” and should be taught. I do not believe that teachers, students or parents get much say in the matter at all! But I do think that as time changes the curriculum changes as I always see the confused looks on parents or grandparents faces when they hear what we are learning. My step dad said once, “we hardly learned half the stuff you guys learn now as technology was not as advanced and that just adds on extra knowledge you need to know”, which I never thought of before he brought it up.

After Reading:

After reading this week’s article Curriculum Policy and The Politics of What Should be Learned in Schools, by Ben Levin I was able to gain a better understanding of how the curriculum is formed. The article defines curriculum as an official statement of what students are expected to know and be able to do and teachers are expected to use curriculum as a guide to implement those objectives in their classrooms. According to Levin, “education governance typically involves some combination of national, local, and school participation.” So, with that, people of the society, school, and government have a say in the development of the curriculum. Which makes sense as this reading also mentioned how politics heavily impact the creation of the curriculum, so that would be societies say in the development. One of the things I did not know is that some groups such as parents, non-educators, students, and minority groups contributed but had little say in the curriculum development. The individuals who were apart of the reference committee were often teachers and other individuals apart of the federation. After I did the reading, I realized that there are many steps in creating and implementing the curriculum. As well, many groups are involved in creating the curriculum. The process is conducted by jurisdictions that layout important guidelines that one must follow when revising the curriculum. The individuals who often revise the curriculum are teachers and subject experts, and the revising is often lead by a certain government official. These groups of people start by reviewing the existing curriculum doing research and gathering data to learn what worked and what did not. Once that step is done, they then have to all agree on changes that should be changed with the curriculum. Because different groups are trying to create a new curriculum, often one of the greatest challenges is all groups agreeing on what is “supposedly” important and should be included in the new curriculum. Either a new curriculum or a revised version is implemented. Sometimes these processes can take several years as it is a lengthy process

A concern I have that we have talked about in lecture is that, the curriculum is written through the dominant perspective which obviously benefits the dominant learners in society. The beliefs and culture of the dominant group are the ones that are going to be evident. With that being said, education will only benefit the majority, dominant group of learners due to the people who create the curriculum. The curricula are often influenced by what we value as a society as stated before, but societies have differences from even province to province, with that being said, how could one curriculum cover important differences from different places. Having one main curriculum could be very dangerous and maybe involving smaller divisions could resolve that problem. As discussed in lectures, we need to really take into consideration the minority groups that are and have been at a disadvantage for a long and examine the curriculum to benefit everyone not just the dominant groups in society; the curriculum needs to be continuously examined, not just every so years.