Critical Pedagogy of Place

The article we read this week presented a very different view on things than previous material we have covered. It talked about how the Mushkegowuk Cree have a very rich connection with the land and how they believe it plays a huge role in the development in children intellectually, emotionally, socially, physically, and spiritually.

Ways the community worked together to inhabit their culture was by bringing the youth and elders together to learn together and share their knowledge of the meaning of the land. Another way they tried to bring back their culture was by having the youth interview the elders, and other community members. This allowed deep connections which would help to strengthen the community as a whole. The radio broadcast was also highly significant, I believe, because it was shared for everyone to hear and think about. Lastly the journey along the river that the elders took the youth on they learn about how to live off of nature would be the most impactful and practice learning experience for the youth to engage in. This would have deeper meaning and connections to the youth because it was lived out and not just talked about.

An example the article shared about decolonizing would be allowing the children to change or shorten names for things because they were difficult to say or remember, this would have a negative impact on the culture because as the children would grow up they would continue to use fewer and fewer of the original words in their language causing it to slowly be changed, and even disappear.

A way I would connect this to my own teaching, particularly in math, would be taking more time to deeper understand and make connections with First Nations content and the context in which they come and adapt the material accordingly. I believe however, that math is a subject area in which is lacking the inclusion of Frist Nations knowledge and I am still struggling with coming up with ways that it can be included in the learning process.

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What is a “good” student?

This week after reading and thinking about what it means to be a “good” student, I have realized that it is far from possible in many circumstances. The article describes being a “good” student as conforming to how the school and society wants the individual to act and learn. Students who cannot fit these criteria will often find themselves in trouble and unable to learn how and what the teacher is requiring of them. Students who are privileged by this definition are those who are able to learn in a traditional classroom. They can sit in their desks for long periods of time while remaining quite, and they can learn in way the teachers are presenting the information. Students who are considered “good” students are also able to take in the information the teacher is telling them, memorize it, and then regurgitate it for the tests and assignment they are given. These students are also those who do not question what they are being taught, they just take the information, compete given tasks, and move from one grade to the next.

With these commonsense ideas it is hard to see how oppression affects our society and our schools. The article talks about how students have knowledges and beliefs when they come into the classroom that helps shape their interest, how they learn best, and the place in there learning they are currently at. This information, however is often just assumed and the teacher does not often consider or discuss it. With the methods of teaching today, we are not teaching the students to think critically about the knowledge they are gaining or what they are reading. We as educators are also not connecting with the majority of our learners because we are not catering to those who may have different needs and learning styles within the classroom.

Ideological Literacy vs Autonomous Literacy Models

This week we were required to look deeper at a curriculum in which we hope to be teaching after we graduate. Then we need to decide whether it falls into the autonomous or ideological frame of literacy. The autonomous frames look at the skills that will be developed and will have effects on an individual socially as well as educationally. While the ideological frame takes a cultural sensitive view and sees curriculum as more of a practice rather than a skill.

I took a look at the Foundations and Pre-Calculus 10 curriculum and I think it fits best under the autonomous frame of literacy. It teaches different skills such as number sense, spatial sense, logical thinking, and mathematics as a human endeavor.  Its goal in teaching these different skills is that students will develop the confidence to use these skills in there every day lives, ongoing education, as well as in the work force.

I think that when creating a math curriculum that it can be a challenge to incorporate cultural sensitive information because lots of the curriculum has to do with calculations that don’t often have context behind it. However, through my education experience the math curriculum had been updated and the “new’ math had more word problems and required more problem solving skills that forced the students to use deeper thinking in order to figure out the calculations they should make. I think those are the areas in which ideological literacy can come in and make connections back to society and allow students to realize the application math has in the real world.