Digital Summary of Learning

Here is my final assignment for this class! There was supposed to be music in the background, not a series of muffled sounds.. technology is hard.


Week 10: Colliding Worldviews Teaching Math

1. 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?

For me and like many others math was not my strong suit. I struggled with it for as long as I can remember but I always aimed for honor roll so I worked hard at math. I can remember many days spending my recess or some time after school to get extra help in elementary school. There was not any oppressive or discriminating factors that I can recall. One thing that stands out from those days were when we would go through the work as a class and each individual student had to provide an answer. I can remember counting along so I knew which one I would have to say so I could double or triple check my work to ensure that I was right. However, I do not think this was done in an oppressive manner. It was not to embarrass or single anyone out (although it felt that way at the time) it was simply to check for understanding.

Grade nine was an interesting experience for me and a few of my friends. At my school they were testing out a new concept of teaching called “T9 Groups”. They chose a select group of the grade nines and grouped them all together where we spent the morning all together to study English, Social Studies, and Math. There was three groups in total that rotated through each subject. Then in the afternoon we were seperated and put with the remainder of the grade nine class. The “groups” were comprised of our intellectual levels. My two best friends and I were in the “advanced” group or the “smart ones” as everyone else liked to call us. The teachers never shared how the groups were made or even what they were called but we soon figured it out for ourselves. My group was given extra work and pushed harder. The less advanced groups were given less work and more time to do assignments. Looking back at these groupings now I realize that my “advanced” group was made entirely of white kids. The Aboriginal kids were found mostly in the least advanced group.

My school had a high Aboriginal population. As I went through my high school years I began to notice the steps that were being made in regards to these students. We offered Native Studies, drumming circles, beading, and had an elder there regularly. My grade nine year was the only negative or oppressive time I can recall.
2. 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.

There are many ways in which the Inuit math is different from our Eurocentric ideas of it. The three domains that are investigated in the article include counting, localization, and measuring. For starters, children in this community learns in their native language until grade three. After that grade is when they start to learn in English or French. Depending on where they are living will determine if they continue to learn in English or French. Secondly, everything that the Inuit do is orally, they borrowed the symbolism of numbers from Europeans. They depend on their stories and oral traditions to uphold education standards. This is opposite of what a European math class would look like. A Eurocentric idea is to learn quietly on our own in our desks. The Inuit also use a base 20 system instead of the base 10 system that Europeans are accustomed to. This was because they were able to use their hands and feet while doing math because it was often hot in their homes.



Week 9: We are All Treaty People

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?.

It is important to teach Treaty Ed in our classrooms because it is a huge part of our history as Canadians. Treaty affects everyone whether they realize it or not and the sooner we are able to realize it the better. If we are not learning about Treaty education in our classrooms there is a cultural bias at play. There are also many negative stereotypes associated with Aboriginal people. One of the best ways to eliminate these is to educate our students. Teaching and learning more about Treaty Ed will help salvage and develop relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. A large part of the Truth and Reconciliation act is built or designed upon forming relationships and connections to rebuild trust that was lost in the past.

The present and the future is tied together very intimately. I think we are all connected in one way or another. Dwayne shares his cultural background with the group where he explains that his mother and that side of ancestors immigrated from Norway. His grandfather that came from Norway and his last name was Peterson. He says to someone sitting in the front with a laugh, “hey we could be related”.

I know I am guilty for questioning why I had to learn about this in school. However, looking back on it I am thankful for the experiences and learning opportunities I had. I am a non-Aboriginal person but by learning about Treaty Ed I am able to understand why things are the way they are. I am more culturally sensitive and aware of the history behind treaties, residential school, and broken or unfulfilled promises. I can now use this to my advantage to teach others in order to avoid stereotypes and continue to build relationships both in and out of my future classroom.

2. What does it mean for your understanding of curriculum that “We are all treaty people”?

For me the concept that we are all treaty people has resonated with me more deeply over the course of this semester. It is a phrase that I have heard  before but never truly understood. From a curriculum standpoint there is Aboriginal content in our mandated curriculum, it is often minimal and looked over but it is there. Curriculum is the same for everyone in Saskatchewan. We are taught the same outcomes and indicators across the board; because at the end of the day we are all equals.

We are also all considered treaty people. Dwayne Donald says, “The way that you think about the relationship (between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples) has a distinctive bearing on how you take it up in the classroom.” Therefore, as teachers we need to be attentive  of the dynamics in our classrooms.

This video is a great resource  for opening up Treaty Ed in the classroom.

Week 8: Learning from Place

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.

One way this narrative focused on rehabilitation was the emphasis on the relationship between the youth and the elders. One of the goals behind this project was to bring the community closer together. As they traveled together they shared their relations to the land and the knowledge they have about it. They used nature as a way to connect with each other because it “is important to children’s intellectual, emotional, social, physical and spiritual development” ( Restoule, 70). Nature is a key aspect in  the cultural identity of the Aboriginal people. Another aspect of decolonization was the connection with traditional ways of knowing. The elders were their to share their stories and knowledge through oral storytelling. This was documented over the ten day journey to reform relationships and introduce traditional ways of knowing to the young people.
2. How might you adapt these ideas to considering place in your own subject areas and teaching?

As a pre-service teacher there are a few different options to incorporate these ideas into our practice. The first idea that comes to mind is bringing an elder into the classroom. I think every school especially highschool should have an elder that is accessible. They can come in to speak with the class, tell stories, share experiences, etc. Other options are to have someone to come in to lead drumming circles or beading lessons. These are traditional hands on ways of learning about culture. Lastly, you can get outside! You can experience nature firsthand and begin to use the materials in nature to teach your students. This may be something as simple as a nature walk or a bigger event like a field trip to something like Treaty days at Fort Quapelle.

Ideological Model

You have been asked to examine the curriculum of the subject area you expect to teach once you graduate. Re-read that curriculum with the frames of literacy presented this week: autonomous and ideological? In what ways are these two frames present in the curriculum that you examined? Which one is more prominent?

I examined the arts education curriculum at the grade four level. I believe that the ideological model is more prominent in this curriculum. The ideological view emphasizes the social aspect of engaging with literacy. I think the arts ed curriculum is very hands on which requires a certain degree of social engagement in the classroom. This model seemed to be geared towards diversity in learning where the autonomous model a cultural model. The arts education curriculum is based upon an inquiry approach that engages students in thinking about big ideas. As an arts ed major we spend a lot of time discussing ways of thinking outside the box and differentiated learners. This model of literacy being a social practice is evident in the curriculum that I explored.

Week Four: The “good” Student

So far in class we have learned that commonsense teaching is something we are all familiar with as teachers often fall back on it in the classroom. This way of teaching is something we are all accustomed to both as pre-service teachers and students. The “good student” is someone who does not challenge the teacher. This is someone who gets their work done in a way that the teacher would appreciate. The textbook states, “the closer a student got to saying the right things in the right ways, the higher that student’s grade would be” (Kumashiro, 21). This is often a sad truth in our school system, I know this because I was one of these proclaimed “good students”. I always aimed for good grades in school, even if this meant doing or saying something that I didn’t necessarily agree with. Too often I found myself giving the teacher what they wanted to hear in order to get the grade I was looking for.

He also suggests “the subconscious feeling of desire and resistance are central to the process of learning” (26). This idea suggests that this needs to become part of what the students are learning. When the students are engaged and interested in what they are being taught they will become more willing to learn. The students that learn in other ways are at a disadvantage in the classroom setting because too often educators are unable, unwilling, or incapable of fostering to their needs. Any student that required more time or explanation of what they were doing were set aside. Or if students questioned and/or challenged the teacher they were not seen as “good”.

I however hope the opposite out of my students. I hope they come to the class with their own ideas and pursue them. I hope they aren’t afraid to challenge me because I think that helps not only them learn but me too. I wish I was one of those students that spoke up and challenged the curriculum and teaching methods.

Week Three: Education Philosophy

Choose 1 idea about education that is meaningful to you, find a quote about education that connects with your philosophy. In a post, unpack that quote. Think about what it makes possible/impossible in education. What does the quote say about the teacher, about the student? How is it related to your own philosophical understanding of curriculum and of school?

“We as educators need to reconsider our roles in students’ lives, to think of ourselves as connectors first and content experts second.” – Will Richardson

I chose this quote by Will Richardson because it resonated the most with my beliefs of teaching. To me this quote meant that we as teachers need to think of ourselves as relationship makers before curriculum experts. While it is our jobs to teach the curriculum to our students in order for them to learn and succeed  and move on to the next grade or chapter in their life. I believe it is also our jobs to create relationships and connections with our students. By building those connections with our students first they will be more willing to learn.

Building relationships with your students will earn your trust, respect, and create a more positive environment. In doing so, this will make for an easier place to learn. Connecting with your students makes it possible for both educators and students to be more successful. This quote says that the teacher is a caring individual and wants to be more than just a content related expert. This quote fits quite well with my understanding of curriculum because I have always believed you need to build a foundation with your students, before they will want to learn from you. Connections will grow with your students as the year goes on. However, I think some teachers get so caught up in delivering the curriculum they forget to create those bonds.

Week Two: The Tyler Rationale

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? (b) What are the major limitations of the Tyler rationale? (c) What are some potential benefits?

A) Being a student for many years I have experienced the Tyler rationale firsthand. I have been on the other end of educators teaching me with the Tyler rationale in the back of their minds. As a pre-service teacher now I am also experiencing this rationale. To make lesson and unit plans we use outcomes and indicators to guide our teaching. We hope to create an easy and structured classroom. It is easy to follow the guidelines for this type of learning because I am so accustomed to being taught in this way.

B) One major limitation to this rationale is we are not catering to all of our students. The Tyler rationale does not leave much room to adapt to different learning styles. It is very organized and structured way of teaching, therefore not taking our students into account. Students have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to learning, therefore need to be taught in differing ways. Being in Arts education we are taught to explore different methods in order to be successful with all of our students.

C) A benefit to this way is that it is very organized and easy to use. It is structured in a way that you know what you want the outcome to be. It has been around for so long that people are familiar with it. Many people like things that are familiar to them which is why this method is still around today.

Kumashiro: Common Sense Intro

After reading the introduction to Kumashiro’s text Against Common Sense we were to respond to the following questions: 1)How does Kumashiro define ‘commonsense?’ 2) Why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘common sense’

Common sense teaching is teaching with assumptions. He believes that schools regularly support the dominant hegemony. Common sense was something that everyone was familiar with and was universally understood. The practices in Nepal had become so engrained in the fellow teachers and students heads that it become normal or “common sense” to everyone. When he went and challenged that common sense notion it left students frustrated and confused. Schooling has become a routine with the same structure and values every year without question. Common sense makes it easy for us to continue teaching in ways that are familiar to us and continue to let the oppressions play out unchallenged.

It is important to pay attention to the common sense so you are aware of the norms of teaching instruction in other places. By learning different and various methods of teaching we will improve as educators. We need to be challenging our common sense way of thinking because it should not be what shapes our educational practice. It’s important to pay attention to this so that we can continue to improve our practice in order to create a more universally accepting generation.