Summary of Learning

You can check out my summary of learning here on youtube.

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Blog response from Gale

Looking back at mathematics I cannot really say much, since math is my major, and throughout high school I was quite successful in math and really appreciate all the different ways of teaching mathematics brings. However I’m sure I’m not alone when it comes to how math was taught to us throughout our high school careers. Constant problems and practices learning from the textbook, board work, repetition, worksheets, then test, math never really tested my limits as a student it was generic and straight forward. My math classes really discriminated against other learners, people who never understood the concepts, but never helped these students, which led a lot of these students to believe they suck at math, when that is simply not the case. Math can expressed in so many different ways and from taking classes with Gale, its interesting to see these new concepts for how to teach math, because we are so accustomed to the traditional ways of teaching and learning math, we never reach our mathematics potential. So I think it is now my responsibility when I get into a school to teach mathematics that I don’t fall under the same colonization of the traditional ways to teach math.

After reading the article about math in Inuit communities, three ways they challenge Eurocentric ideas, are first and foremost the language, they do not use common mathematical language which is what Eurocentric mathematics is really based on, the concept that we are accustomed to we do not see them as much when they are being taught in this Inuit community. Secondly they are challenging the content behind mathematics where we are used to a simply base 10 system they work with base 20, and are not solving problems that revolve around their everyday lives. Lastly they do not call upon students who do not know the answer and they lecture instead of constant note taking this way the children will know when they are ready to answer a question and by not writing notes and notes can help the children appreciate math and not be bored by it. Which to me is really interesting because I think it will help math learners comprehend these concepts if they are more intrigued and actually have to listen rather then just copy what I am writing down on the board, this defiantly helps get away from Eurocentric Ideas.

Purpose of Treaty Ed, Teaching Aboriginal issues, etc.

This week was very informational to say the least, as we continue on our ECS 210 journey some major themes and major topics are coming up and being discussed. The one topic that has been brought up int he last couple weeks have been about the relations between First Nations and Non-First Nations people and the importance of teaching issues that First Nations people have dealt with in the past and are still currently dealing with in the present time as well. We had a guess lecturer this week who shared some great stories and the importance of discussing these issues. Not only did we have a guest lecturer we also were given a resource of Dwayne Donald and one of his lectures who highlighted this issue and the difficulty of teaching these issues or relating material to aboriginal ways of living/world-views.

Dwayne Donald made a really good point that when you sit down an Aboriginal person and non-aboriginal person to discuss these issues they always butt heads, or of they are not butting heads they have two totally different views, which goes to say there are two sides to every story, but unfortunately the non-aboriginal side usually is highlighted and deemed “better” or the “correct info” which is a little ridiculous if you ask me, I believe that both sides should be discussed into detail and then the students can form their own opinions about the matters at hand. We as educators is a touchy topic where there is one clear answer and there is the right answer and the wrong answer when it comes to discussing and forming opinions on these touchy topics, however it is frowned upon if we tell our students this is they way to believe or this is what is right, which can cause problems with parents, so how do we as teachers talk about these topics so that the right opinion shines without forcing our views on our students. This can also stem from Dwayne Donald’s definition of colonialism and denying relationship.

Another question we were asked to discuss was what is the point of/purpose of teaching treaty need when there is little to no first Nations people in the school or class? I feel as though the purpose is to educate students on the history of their country. Canada has belonged to the First Nations people since the start and they have impacted our country in many different ways, they have also faced several hardships due the government of Canada and deserve the respect and empathy they deserve. Another reason to teach treaty ed with few to no First Nation Students is they are treaty people too, the treaties affect the other students as well, we are all treaty people, and that along should be enough to incorporate treaty ed into our classrooms.

Which leads me to the final point of the definition of We are all treaty people, and like I mentioned, the treaties affect non-First Nations as well as First Nations and the impact treaties have had on aboriginal people, there has been a different type of impact to people who are not aboriginal.

In the end the hardships and abuse that First Nation people have suffered through out the years is heartbreaking and deserves to be discussed in our classrooms and incorporated into our school systems as well as curriculum.

Critical Pedagogy of Place

For this week we had to read an article that discussed decolonization and rein-habitation and to discuss these topics and list some examples that were apparent throughout the article.

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

Well it is said in the article that we read that these two go hand in hand and by these you can not have one with out the other. For starters I did not even know what reinhabitation even was before I read the article but after reading it and going through it I know what it means and for those of you reading who may not have an idea or understanding of what reinhabiation is, recreate peoples environment so that they can live well. Now decolonization to change the way we we think so that the main intention is not to hurt and exploit the people of these lands any means necessary. This article also talks a lot about relationships and just as these two words go hand in hand and have a relationship. In the article it also highlights the relationships between the youths and the elders which is very imprint in First Nation Culture as it is one of the main ways that the youth can learn from someone who has incredible life experience and can help the relate on a level that a school just can’t. Also by having this river trip that was mentioned it was great to see that the youth was learning where they came from and learning about the “place” which is something that may have been forgotten due the youth being colonized. Overall is quite eye opening because I never really thought about the word place in a literal sense, I never questioned the place I was learning or where the place I was learning in and the importance of the land. It is defiantly eyeopening and definitely something that should and needs to be considered moving forward in my educational journey.

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

This question made me really think, with my major being mathematics it is really hard to try and grasp the understanding of place when it comes to math, just because it is something that is so logical and math does not really have any kind of “big picture” or special meaning its very concrete. However that would not stop me from trying to implicate some of the lessons learned in the article and relate them to math for instance I would, have my students go out into the land and have them look for anything that they can relate math too, whether that be estimating how long the river is or how tall that tree was, and by also having my students apprentice the land and all that it offers, might give them a better perspective of using math in everyday life. They also could look at the space around them and see if they can relate math to the spaces around them, this could lead to shapes, area, volume, distance, scale factors, etc. Which are some of the bigger outcomes in the math curriculum. Hopefully by allowing students to actually just take a second and look around them and appreciate whats around them, then they can maybe take away some big ideas that math has to offer.

What is a good student

We as teachers have always had the “good student” in our minds. In another blog post we read an article by Kumashiro titled common sense, which detailed how we as teachers have this stereotype and “common sense” on how school should be. Now we have this stereotype and “common sense”  of what a good student is. Sadly when people are asked what is a good student according to the “common sense”, we get some answers that are just not true. When asked what is a good student people will answer most likely, a quite student, who always listens, does not question what they are learning and does not question the teacher, they always do their work and hand assignments in on time. Also most of the “good students” are stereotypically white students. Now this is something that I feel needs to be addressed because that is just not the case, Canada is a very multi-cultural country and has many different races that are in our school systems. By having this common sense of a good student the white students tend to be privileged more than other ethnicities, which is very upsetting to see but we are so accustomed to this type of “common sense” in our country that no one really bats an eye.

This common sense idea of what makes a good student really made me take a step back and look at what I feel is a good student. I personally believe a good student, is a student who is respectful, does their work, asks a lot of questions, takes responsibility for their learning and be able to laugh and enjoy their time at school, no matter what their race is if they have these characteristics they in my opinion are considered a good student, however even if they do not have these characteristics that does not mean that they are bad students, no one in my opinion is a bad student, its the “bad students” that need our help the most in order for them to be successful so it is important to try and help those “bad students” gain maybe just one or two of the “good student qualities”.

What makes this impossible or see is the “common sense” of being a good student is that again we are so use to being fed what a good student is, whether we see it in movies, tv shows, ads, posters, etc. The list goes on but we don’t bat an eye and are not even realizing that the “good student” image is actually incorrect and quite frankly racist. I think that we as teachers need to avoid the common sense way of seeing things in the schools and prepare for the students you have, because every year you will have new and old students and its going to be different every time you get a new class you have to be ready to adapt and have a clear mind and a clear concept of what makes a good student because that will change every year in my opinion.

Curriculum (Autonomous vs Ideological)

For this week we had to pick a curriculum that we will be following when we graduate. With myself being a post-secondary student. I decided to choose the Grade 10 math curriculum, with the grade 10 math being foundations and pre-calculus. Now math is such a complex subject and is usually the subject that students either struggle with or hate. Being a math teacher we face the same questions over and over. Why are we learning this? When am I ever going to use this? etc.

Looking through the curriculum and looking at all the outcomes and indicators I would have to say that the foundations and pre-calculus follows more along the lines of autonomous. The reason for that is the fact that the curriculum does not really allow a lot of breathing room in the ways that the material is presented. Of course there are several approaches to teaching math whether that be the Inquiry approach, open tasks, board work, etc. But as the definition of autonomous, higher cognitive skills and improved economic performance. I think that math will allow the student to gain these skills and hopefully help them in the future. As far as ideological, math does not really fall anywhere close to that, you do write and read in math, but you are reading equations and writing problems, you are not writing essays, or papers that require research and analyzing, so for math I think that Ideological form of literacy is very far off from math, however it is still in my opinion important to have those skills regardless. But with all that being said autonomous is the more prominent

Some examples I found in the curriculum of autonomous is there is lots of indicators that say relate this to ones self, life, family, etc, in almost every outcome there is a indicator that states that. To me that is autonomous, because it is thought out and requires cognitive ability. Math also is a subject that involves comprehension, and that is another example that goes with autonomous. I also think that math is a skill, it is a subject that requires skill in order to be successful, practice makes perfect in my mind when it comes to math, and developing that skill in math to be successful. Once again this falls in the autonomous category.

Curriculum Development

For this weeks blog, I have to first start by talking about how I think schools curricula are  developed. I think that the curricula is developed by the board of education across Saskatchewan have representatives for experts in said subject to come together and discuss what outcomes and indicators need to be met in order for the students to attain the required information. It also could be each representative develops a mock curricula and then as a collective group discuss what is good and bad and what is important to learn and what is not. That is how I think it is developed.

After carefully reading the document it came to my surprise of just how complex creating a curriculum is. For starters it is very political in sense of whose leading the workshop and pulling the strings, but from my reading and understanding the government pretty much has a control in every aspect of creating a curriculum there is. So how is a curriculum actually made? Well for starters is the organization of goals, those goals are the general goals, what everyone thinks needs to be accomplished, and the broader goals, the goals that are in depth, and require more detail and understanding. Then comes the discussion for all subjects, with questions that relate to things like, when should a student know this, when should a student know that, when should student should be to to do this, etc. Then comes the content discussions, this is the part in my opinion where debates can really start to get long and hard, by content this is understood to me as the materials, textbooks, history of our country, of other countries, certain criteria standards, assessment content, etc. Other debates include what values the schools want to present to their students and want their students to gain. It is one big debate and I could see this getting pretty intense and it may be quite a difficult process if you have several people on opposite sides. Now the people involved in all of these discussions stems to four groups, national, local, and school participants, as well as sometimes federal. These are the groups who will be debating this topics and having these conversations. Many curriculum also get tested as pilot basis, where it is trial by error, to see what works and what doesn’t and these are done by certain committees and experts in so called fields. From the reading this is the basic idea of how a curriculum is made.

This reading made it very clear on how curriculum is developed. I had no idea how much the government plays a part in curriculum development but then again I am not very surprised since the social studies curriculum lacks a lot of important issues. I wouldn’t say I was shocked by anything but I could imagine the stress and anger and intensity in these meetings where you are discussing everything that children should learn because there are people who will never change their mind and they are always right and there is nothing we can do to change their mind and that would make this process extremely difficult. Other than that it was a great article to read and very informational and a very good resource to have.