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.

Educational Quote Response

“We as educators need to reconsider our roles in students’ lives, to think of ourselves as connectors first and content experts second.” – Will Richardson. Out of the lost of quotes this is the quote really spoke to me and caught my attention. I never really thought of education in this perspective but when I unpacked the quote, it really got me thinking not only about education system, but how I want to teach in a classroom and how this lines up with my philosophy. 

First I am gonna unpack this quote the first part of the quote is, “We as educators need to reconsider our role in students’ lives…”, which I think is very important to have success in a classroom, the teachers who I did not like in my educational experiences are the teachers who don’t care about students, they don’t make an effort to establish a relationship with a student or try to connect with a student on another level besides education. I think as an educator and teacher it is very important to be able to connect and build relationships with students, because then you are not just someone telling a student information, you are guiding them through the information. I think back to all the best teachers I had in my schooling experience they reached out to us as students and really got to know us, and this is very useful because then you know what type of student and learners you would have in your classroom, and that will help you be able to reach out to your students and help them in any way possible. Which brings me back to the point of changing the role we play in students lives.

Now what makes this quote possible in education is we as teachers have the freedoms and the creative minds to relay information in anyway we see fit, this will help us connect the students to information instead of content experts. Being “content experts” in our so called major or minor, we need to know the content, but it is up to us on whether or not we are going to put in the effort to make sure we are not just shoving information down our students throats because we are the so called “experts”, when in fact we should be connecting them to information and guiding them to what suits there needs and that again is where we need to reconsider our roles in students lives.

What makes this I wouldn’t say impossible but I would rather say diffiuclt in education is the fact that some students are students may not want to explain why they might be struggling or talk about how they learn and what they want out of their educational experience, and some students are simply not gonna try, and there is not a whole lot we can do about that. Kids are stubborn the only thing we can do is be there for them when they are ready to share, however we still have to try our best to get through to those students, without putting the other students behind. I think that is where in the quote that we have to be the connectors really comes to light, we as teachers are their to connect the information with our students and to connect with our students.

I would say this quote speaks a lot to teachers are very involved in their schools, I don’t want to be known as a know it all in my subject area, I don’t want to come off as arrogant and teachers know everything, because teachers don’t know everything, teacher learn just like students learn and I personally think that it is important for students to know that, that teachers make mistakes, and we are not higher than they are, however we still are responsible for their learning and have to realize that students look up to us as educators and authority figures. I think students wold appreciate this quote because it would make them feel like they are being heard which they are. It would also make the student feel like they aren’t just having information shoved int heir face, by connecting and guiding the students to the information it will have a more positive affect on the students wants and needs to learn, not only does it give the teacher more freedom to do what they want with the information but it also gives the student more freedom to learn.

This quote connects with my philosophy as we as teachers need to connect with our students and try our absolute best to help every student be successful, now I know that it can’t happen for every single student but as long as we try our absolute best I think it is possible. I think the best way to be able to reach every student comes form this quote, where we have to rethink our roles and be connectors of information instead of experts.

The Tyler Rationale Response

  • Respond in your blog to the following writing prompt: 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?

This week I had to do some readings on the development of the Curriculum and about one particular person who really “pioneered” the way we develop curriculums today. This person was named Ralph Tyler, he developed a way to help the curriculum really start to make sense and actually work when it comes to teaching students, here is a picture from the document of the steps that Tyler developed to help jump start the proper way to make a Curriculum.

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From The picture above you can see what in the reading they called the Tyler Rationale, it is very clear and organized as to what needs to be done in order to relay information correctly to students. Now one of the guiding questions was relate my experience to the Tyler rationale, now my high school experience was normal I would say, my teachers would follow the curriculum but not fully, there was always that if we have time we will get to it excuse. I guess with the identify experience section, in my high school the educational experience lacked, my high school only had a couple classes that really prepared me for the next level of schooling otherwise my classes were laid back and my study habits were weak. So that is something that affected me when I first got into university.

My high school however was very organized and did a good job to keep us as students organized, by having a special period which we called TAG which is like homeroom, but we had the same teacher for all four years and every two years we actually got a credit for that class, TAG was used to relay any information and help us out with homework, if there was a problem with us in a class the teacher would complain to the TAG teacher instead of the principal, all of this really helped us as students stay organized and in the now. The evaluation was pretty much the same however we did have a earned option program where if we maintained a certain mark and other criteria than we would not have to write the final exam for that class, it was only for the sciences at the time but now it is for overcalls.

Another question being asked is what are some limitations that the Tyler rationale has. Now after reading the two documents it was very hard in my opinion to find out limitations if any, they speak very highly of the rationale in the readings and if I had to say any limitations there is, one might be the fact that it is only the groundwork for building a curriculum, he did not really give anything else to add into the curriculum he just gave us what the curriculum should be and allowed people to build off of that. Otherwise there really is no limitations its very broad and open and allows for moderations to his rationale and allows open interpretation of his rationale to allow growth.

Lastly, what are some benefits of Tyler’s Rationale, I guess some benefits could be just how simplistic it can be, but yet at the same time it’s very abstract and allow others to implement their own ideas, but by using Tyler’s rationale as a guideline or base when it comes to planning or creating a curriculum. Another benefit could be the whole “experiencing” it aspect of the curriculum could be a big benefit because I never thought of experiencing the curriculum and I think that could really help a teacher think of new ideas and experience teaching and learning in a new way.

“Common Sense” Response

For my first post for my ECS 210 class, I was tasked with reading article from an American teachers perspective of what “common sense” means and implied not only in American schools, but experience this teacher had overseas in Nepal, where the school system is vastly different then what us as Canadians and the schools that Americans are use to.

The question being asked was what was Kumashiro definition of “common sense” is. From reading the article I found that he defined “common sense” as the fact that in America the common sense way of teaching is that we as teachers are tasked to do certain jobs or requirements in order for students to be successful, we are suppose to test, give homework and assignments and by testing and doing the homework and doing the assignments, you will “learn” whatever it is you as a student are suppose to be learning, you will succeed from doing the homework and test and all these assignments and at the end of it you will get a grade and that grade will reflect on the knowledge that you know form the class. For the most part growing up in Canada that is what we excepted as students going from grade to grade was this is the way to learn. I took away from this section of the article that us as teachers should not be okay with the “Common Sense” way of teaching and should look beyond that and find other ways to reach and teach our students. This also could branch off into every student learns differently which is true, and this could be one of the many reasons why it is important to pay attention to the “Common Sense”.

Which leads me into the last question, which is why is important to pay attention to the “common sense”, as I stated above it is important because everyone learns differently, but it is also important to pay attention to the “common sense” because the way schooling “should be” only targets one specific group of people. In todays times there many more groups of people that we as teachers need to reach and should be trying to reach.

There are different races, sexual orientations, languages, religion, disabilities, students who may be on the spectrum as well, which is very important to me because I work with several kids on the spectrum and I feel like that is a skill that all teachers need to have because odds are you will teach someone that is on the spectrum, but I won’t get into that right now. All these different groups of people in Kumashiro article aren’t reaching the full potential of there educational experience and that is why as teachers if we pay attention to the “Common Sense” we as teachers can help change that and make the educational experience acceptable and effective for all.